Green Chilli Pickle

chilli pickle

Almost every region of India boasts a chilli variety with its own unique qualities in terms of flavour, colour, and heat. Kashmiri chillies have a deep red colour but are otherwise mild; Andhra chillies with their bright colour and fiery heat are shown off to great advantage in their pickles; and now we’ve all heard about the bhut jolokia from Assam that holds the world record for the hottest chilli.

Athana in Rajasthan is also famous for its chillies. The long and fleshy Athana mirch is pickled whole and is favoured by the Marwari community. The chillies are slit and stuffed with a mix of spices that include fennel, coriander, mustard, methi seeds, turmeric, and amchoor. A similar large chilli, much like the Bhavnagri mirch, is made into the most delicious mirchi vadas the best of which are to be found in Jodhpur.

My mother-in-law used to make a green chilli pickle which is a simpler version of the Athana mirchi pickle. It is likely Rajasthani in origin.

Here it is – the quick, almost instant, chilli pickle for you chilli lovers. I don’t know my chillies too well and rely on the thumb rule that the smaller a chilli, the hotter it is. For this pickle pick chillies that are medium hot or milder.

chilli pickle
Mirch ka Achaar
(Instant Green Chilli Pickle)

1 C chopped green chillies (medium hot variety)
3 T coarsely ground oriental mustard seeds
1 T coarsely ground methi (fenugreek) seeds
½ t turmeric powder
2 t salt
1/8-1/4 C refined peanut oil
juice of 2 limes

In a bowl first place the ground mustard seeds. Top with ground methi seeds. Place the turmeric powder to a side. Heat the oil in a pan till very hot. Pour over the methi seeds; it will gradually soak the mustard as it spreads (and cools).

Wash, pat dry, and chop the green chillies. Once the spices have cooled, add the chopped chillies, salt and the lime juice. Mix. Store in a clean dry jar. Let sit 24 hours before consuming.

The hot oil treatment of the spices is a very important step – something I wasn’t aware of the first time I attempted this pickle. And the mustard in the pickle was a heady experience after a couple of days, if you know what I mean. The tempering partially cooks the spices allowing for just a mellow sharpness, and stops the mustard from developing into a full sensory onslaught.

Use the lower amount of oil specified if planning to refrigerate the pickle and consume within a few weeks. Use the larger amount of oil if you need longer shelf life. It does not need refrigeration.

This pickle is best made in small quantities to enjoy the chillies in their crispier state. Serve with any Indian meal, burgers, hot dogs; it perks up breakfast paranthas too!

This is my entry for JFI:Chillies! being hosted at Nandita’s Saffron Trail this month. JFI is the brainchild of Indira (Mahanandi).

Tags: chilli,chilli pickle, Rajasthani, pickle,under 30 min


Published by Anita

A self professed urban ecologist!

52 thoughts on “Green Chilli Pickle

  1. Thanks for the in time entry, looks like it will be the last one in, but with one and a half hours to go and all our friends awake in the US, may be there will be some more…
    Really like the simple technique, and small quantity (no spoilage) – we generally have the marwari green chilli pickles at home thanks to marwari friends, but this one I can make myself…

  2. that is interesting, did not know there is a Athana mirch 🙂 Athanu is pickle in gujarati 😉
    ur mirch ka achaar is very tempting.

  3. Hi Anita, your recipes are absolutely yummy. But unfortunately, I can’t see the snaps that you put up on your website coz some sites like Flickr are blocked in the UAE. Keep up the good work…

  4. oh wow, my kinda pickle…its yet another variety of chilli that I haven’t heard of… I am sure I can find a substitution here…

  5. the hot oil mellows the mjstard down a bit, but not as much as frying the mustrard seeds, i’m guessing. the chillies are such a bright green.

    our garden chillies are not doing too well, ‘cos the temps are hovering around the 100s. they prefer 85-ish.

  6. Aw…yours has methi and turmeric! You win! 😀

    That is odd though, that we both thought of the same pickle.

  7. Wow, this pickle looks so different from all the other ones (in terms of spice richness). I really like that. JFI event for chilies was one hell of a good choice. It will serve as my personal Chili Cookbook 🙂

  8. hey lovely pickle… my mum makes this (again for hubby) and is very similar to this one with the addition of jaggery in it… the sweetness sort of compliments the chilliness, thank u for the recipe anita

  9. Hi Anita, very interesting and simple recipe.Thanks for sharing the tip.Can you please post the recipe for the radish and carrot pickle [or is it a salad?] they serve with paranthas in Chandini chowk?Thank you.

    While it is impossble to recreate the ‘cheapo street-taste’ of street food at home, try Musical’s recipe for the carrot achar.

  10. hi,
    quite a few months back i visited your blog and read a recipe of beet bread rolls. I wish to make now but I miss it in your archives. can you help.

  11. hello,
    this cilli pickle is yummy and spicy. i made this. thanks for help. i want to give my receipe and that is specially for jains,where to give. i wanted it to create on my receipe website can u pls tell me about it

  12. i am really like to have an Indian pickles which makes my every foods tasty and get good appetie,i been India for several times and when i think about the pickles there is lots of water in my mouth.

  13. I just made the pickle, though its easy to make ,hope its tastes good too!!!!!!The dry masalas appeared to have got burnt,or its that kind of aroma when we put the hot oil over dry masalas

    There should be a sizzle when you pour the hot oil but no burning! I hope it turned out well…


    Ingredients :- Fresh green chilly both thick and thin, mustard powder, dry mango powder, aniseed, kalunji, fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder, asefoetida, salt to taste.

    Procedure :- Wash the green chilly and dry it using a cloth so that all the water is absorbed. With the help of a knife, mark a cut on the green chilly vertically, make sure that the chilly does not break in two pieces and then remove the seeds. Mix well the following; mustard powder, turmeric powder, aniseed, fenugreek seeds, kalunji, asefoetida, salt to taste. Now put this mixture into the cuts of the green chilly.

    Take an air tight glass container, put all the stuffed green chillies in it and keep the container under the sun for about a week. The chillies will begin to soften from the fourth day, and after a week, athana ki mirchi will be ready. You can then add citric acid and salt to taste if required. Pickles perish when make a contact with water. So avoid removing the pickle with wet hands.

    Oh, thanks a bunch, Sanjay, for this recipe! Sounds very much like what is in those packets…though I can’t dfetect the kalonji. I bet a smaller amount of that in proportion to the other ingredients! Thanks again!

  15. Was very pleased with this pickle. Different than other chillie pickles I’ve made, but enjoying this one so much, bought a kilo of green chillies to make more for friends.

  16. Hi…I tried your recipe with a bit of a twist … used smoking hot mustard oil insted of groundnut oil and the thicker / bigger green chillies (low hot :-)) .. will update you how it turned out … super blog…thanks for taking the time to share… grats … rahul

    1. I thought I’d interject here from some chile-pickling experiences: for the bigger, thicker chiles you probably need to add more salt because of the extra water to keep them from spoiling…and then a bit more lime juice so the sour matches the saltiness. Just saying.

      Thanks for stepping in, Pel. What would I do without the helpful commentators here! We would definitely be short on advice…

      1. Hey elaichietcetera (dont have your name) 😉

        You were right…The pickle was yumm….but it got spoilt soon…must be the extra water in the big chillies…. good observation…next time I will stick to the regular chillies … and elaichietcetera it will be good to know your real name !

        Rahul – rahuldevmehta (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. just saw same ( even picture) on
    who holds copyright

    Thank you, Rahul, for bringing this to my notice. No, he does not hold copyright. I do. all of these are pictured taken by me in my kitchen. On perusing his blog I have found that he has stolen other posts – pictures, recipes, and all, from my blog – garam masala, Punjabi chhole, Mirch ka achaar, gajar ki kanji, mutsch, curry leaf podi, and many more… I will not be surprised if the majority of the posts on that blog are stolen! And he has the cheek to watermark them as ‘ask Dr. Sanjay’!

    Warning other food blogging readers here to check if there is stolen stuff from their blog over at Dr. Sanjay’s.

  18. Hey elaichietcetera (dont have your name) 😉

    You were right…The pickle was yumm….but it got spoilt soon…must be the extra water in the big chillies…. good observation…next time I will stick to the regular chillies … and elaichietcetera it will be good to know your real name !

    Rahul – rahuldevmehta (at) gmail (dot) com

  19. I like your recipe, it is closest to what my mother used to make and I have made it again today, after making it last year. By the way, I found this exact same recipe, complete with the same picture, at another site called “Amit’s space” – any relative of yours, say, Hubby?

    Thanks for pointing it out. I have left a comment for the post to be removed.

  20. “sensory onslaught”…. Loved this recipe and the humor …

    Its a regular in my kitchen now. Thanks!!


    It is a good one, isn’t it? You don’t realise how critical the hot-oil step is till you forget it once!

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