Another pickle for you

gajar, carrots

Something strange is going on with the weather.  We have had the wettest spring ever and the frequent showers have kept the temperatures down.  I start my day wearing a vest by habit and then within an hour find myself going back down to change into a full-sleeved sweater.  Climate change?  Maybe that is too drastic but this is definitely not our usual Spring.

Beating the Retreat

I did indulge myself in some typical spring activities anyway, such as drinking kanji and enjoying the sunshine; the spring did start out sunny. Mid-January found us traversing the city on a few occasions.   One Sunday morning was spent at the IGNCA viewing Delhi: A Living Heritage exhibit.  On our way back we decided to criss-cross a little and take in the city lights.  We found ourselves joining the crowds watching the rehearsals for the Beating the Retreat ceremony.  We stood there awhile, soaking in national pride and such emotions.

India Gate

Another Sunday afternoon we first hopped on the Metro,  took the city bus next, and then walked to the National Gallery of Modern Art where we heard the very articulate Anish Kapoor talk about his work (and even enjoyed a cup of tea with him!).  Later we walked from the NGMA to the Chinmaya Mission auditorium for TH’s student’s Kuchipudi dance performance, and then took the Metro back home.

We walked over 6.5km!

gobhi gajar achar

gobhigajar achar

This winter-spring season I made more than my usual share of pickles. The extra kilos I have gained this season, that is all water retention from all that pickle I consumed. That’s my explanation anyway. Last time I shared the recipe for a new pickle I tried this winter. But I also made batches of the old favourites. This particular pickle is a favourite of my son’s and I managed to make a small batch for him before he went back to college after the winter holidays. No, not to carry with him – just to eat here. Chocolate chip cookies and homemade chiwda is what he packs for hostel!

Archana, here is the recipe, specially for you, while the vegetables are still in season! [Another reader has been waiting for a promised recipe for a long time. I promise the authentic “mah ki daal” will be the next post, Suma!]

gobhigajar achar

Gobhi Gajar Shulgum ka Achaar
(Sweet and sour pickle of cauliflower, carrots, and turnips)

1 kg each of turnips, carrots, and cauliflower
400ml white vinegar
1kg jaggery
200 gms garlic
200 gms ginger
500ml mustard oil
200gms salt
50gms red chilli powder
10gms black cardamom
5gms cinnamon
5 gms cloves

Trim cauliflower into florets. Cut carrots into thick 2″ long batons. Trim and dice turnips thick. Bring around 3 litres of water to boil. Blanch the prepared vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, spread on absorbent cloth and dry in shade for a day.

Boil vinegar and jaggery together into a syrup. Boiling vinegar smells awful but persevere. Pound ginger and garlic coarsely and fry in oil over medium heat. Take off heat. Pound the whole spices coarsely. Into the oil mix in all the spices and the vinegar syrup. Add salt and the prepared vegetables. Mix well and transfer to clean dry stoneware or glass jars.

Keep the jars in the sun during the day for a few days (longer if inside) to cook the pickle. The sweet and sour pickle makes an excellent accompaniment to a North Indian meal. The pickle will easily keep for a year but is best eaten within 2-3 months when the vegetables still retain a lovely crunch, by when it be time to move on to freshly prepared mango pickles!



Published by Anita

A self professed urban ecologist!

35 thoughts on “Another pickle for you

  1. This looks really delicious. All I need is some turnips now.And of course a bit of sunshine in this cloudy Melbourne.Thanks for this lovely recipe.

    You could do it without the sun too! Just give some extra time for the pickle to be ready to eat.

    1. Hello! Do we need to keep the jar open or tightly shut while it “cooks” in the sunshine/ shade for a few days?

      Keep the lid on – not too tight – at all times!

  2. My grandma makes a mixed veg pickle with Gobi, matar, carrots, beets, chillies, shalgam (rarely), lots of garlic and ginger and some masala. That is what your recipe reminds me of 🙂 You take me back with so many of your posts, Anita.

    I love that pickle and to this day, my grandmother sends it for me and my cousin in memory of our summer vacations. However, I don’t think she added jaggery. I should try that. Should lend a caramely (!) sweetness, I’d guess?

    The pics make my mouth water! And about water retention, you are getting your veggies with this one 😉

    🙂 Isn’t it amazing that pickle enthusiasts will pickle anything and everything!
    This is a traditional Punjabi pickle my mum learnt from her friends. This recipe though is someone else’, but I can’t recall whose. It was written in my little notebook some 15 years ago, between Mrs Shrivastav’s chilli pickle and Mrs Rao’s Andhra mango pickle. How can I not remember who gave me this recipe?
    Make it, it is great!

  3. Reminds me of our Delhi days. I am from the south, so hadn’t heard of mixed vegetable pickle till my mom started making it when we moved to New Delhi. Now many years later I make it every year without fail. Let me also take this opportunity to say I really enjoy your blog and I learn of many new things from the Kashmiri tradition.

    Another pickle aficionado! Glad you like visiting here!

  4. The spring in Delhi is so very unusual this time..I am worried about the mango crop 😉

    I have been searching this khatta meetha pickle recipe , my dad used to make it when we were kids n we all have fond memories with it…and i remember the house smelling awful when mum n dad used to cook that syrup.

    I am going to make it with 1/10th of the quantity , let’s see if there is enough sun to sun-cook this pickle. My brother will be happy soul to get a bottle of it.

    I didn’t think about the mangoes! I pray that the mango crop (and other ones) is safe!
    This year I made a third of the above recipe…it scales up or down easily.

  5. Drooling ..just watching the photos..Am surely going to try this one..Addition of Shalgum is new to me, hope I get it here.Loved the lamps in the photo where the veggies are drying.Waiting for Maa ki daal recipe..

    This is our regular veggie combo; the only avatar in which the son might eat turnips.
    Maa ki daal is next hopefully without a very long wait!

  6. Anita! I remember my Nani would make this pickle often! I’d like to have a go at this one do you think there is a good substitute for jaggery?

    I have all the naani-dadi recipes it seems!
    You might want to substitute with palm sugar perhaps. If there are specialty shops selling Mexican ingredients then you should get jaggery – unrefined cane sugar, in blocks just like here!

    1. Meeta, since finding jaggery is a challenge here in the Netherlands – I’ve used both turbinado/demerara sugar (‘rietsuiker’ in dutch) and thai/vietnamese palm sugar from the asian shops (‘toko’) to decent effect in other recipes. Since the texture jaggery brings is not as critical to this type of recipe (as it might be to something like Chikki/Brittle) the substitutions seem to work ok.

      Thanks for the tips, sacredfig!

  7. Anita~ Thanks a bunch. I really appreciate you taking time out to write the recipe. This pickle so so reminds me of Delhi winters, Delhi where I spent 9 years of my growing years:-)

    Thanks once again, I just got the red carrots today. Going to make it soon:-)

    I hope you are enjoying it by now!

  8. very yummy recipe, though not sure if I will become so active to make achar at home, sometime may be, my mother had done that every year! It is also nice to see that you are taking public transports when you are in a mood to adventure! In pune roads are clogging and dangerous because of too many private vehicles and still increasing. It seems it will take long for the authorities to come up with good public transport solution. This nice small city and its dwellers will have to suffer till then.[:(]

    Actually, making pickles is not as time consuming as it may seem, depending on the pickle and the quantity, of course. The problem is to consume them all! I am getting better at it by making smaller batches than I used to since we don’t eat that much pickle and also because I make way too many types!

    Delhi Metro rocks! Today I went shopping to Noida and the Metro was my transport again!

  9. 4kg+ is a small batch?! And it’s all finished? Army.

    Those carrots in the colander look so beautiful bathing in the sunlight!

    So tell me why this needs to cook in the sun? You already have vinegar, oil and salt that willwork towards preserving the veggies. Won’t cooking I’m the warmth of the sun take away from the delightful crunch of the veggies?

    I’ll wait till summer to try this, I think. Dammit though, I can’t stop salivating!

    🙂 I scaled down the recipe for this year’s batch. So, A got to eat a couple of times before he left. …All the pictures, though, are from last year!

    Where is that pickle expert now? I just do it ’cause that is how it was done. I did make it optional in the recipe though. I think the flavours just need time to get into the chunky vegetables, that is all. You don’t really need the sun.

    Sorry, it wasn’t done when you were here. Barely had time to make it before A left. We ate it within days of making it. Do make; I can see you and your family enjoying the sweet-sour-tangy flavours. It does have black cardamom though! 😉

  10. Ah the Anish Kapoor exhibition! I would have loved to join you – Im afraid its going to end without me having seen it 😦

    This is something I had heard so much about that I was looking forward to eating it when I came to Delhi – but when I finally did, it was too sweet for me – in the sense that I am so used to having my pickles spicy…but I have heard there is another spicy version as well, do you make that too?

    I also make a Maharashtrian lime pickle that is sweet. That has no (peanut) oil or mustard seeds, or anything other than red chillies and salt, which makes it permissible during fasts and it is the perfect foil for sabudana khichdi or the other fasting staple – mashed potatoes stir fried in a little ghee. I love that one and this one as well; in both cases I think the sour balances out the sweet to perfection. Give it another try, it just might grow on you.

  11. Anita, you had tea with Anish Kapoor? Were you one of the few visitors he got? According to this:
    There was no coverage and few visitors. So glad you went! Poor guy must have been fairly lonely and dejected about the lukewarm response!

    We enjoyed the exhibit. Some people I know went twice. The day I was there, there was quite a crowd. I don’t know how that Tweeter judged that not too many people visited. This meeting was a last minute thing and there was an announcement in the paper that very day and the rest must have been word of mouth. All seats for this open-air interaction were filled a good half hour before the event even started, people were overflowing into the aisles and everywhere. The auditorium where a documentary was being screened, was full the entire time…

  12. Oh I’d been waiting for this post since I saw the gobhi-gajar-shalgam-achar tags in your previous post. This pickle is an absolute favorite for me since my childhood – my mum makes it for me the same way that you do for your son. A couple of years ago she made the ‘masala’ for me to carry to the US, and I added the vegetables and vinegar and oil when I got back, since I had no room to carry achaar in my baggage.
    Her version was also taught to her by a punjabi neighbour, but does not include clove, cinnamon and black cardamom – the rest of the recipe is the same. She’s tweaked it quite a bit in recent years though – she’s cut back a lot on the oil, and adds a mix of lime juice and vinegar instead of all vinegar because she prefers that taste. I’m tempted to try it your way – since I’m a big fan of mustard oil and the spouse loves black cardamom.
    I love it when you post 🙂

    I think the recipe is quite forgiving with the quantities of the different ingredients; I myself have used much less oil, especially when I have made a double batch. Mustard oil makes it 100% Punjabi!

    1. She made salad and it had black cardamom.

      What did you expect? It is my ‘signature’ in case you have forgotten! 😀 But this time I did not roast it.

      1. Hee hee. 😀

        I’m making this pickle now, just so you know… I changed one thing: well, two: I strained the gur syrup to look for nasties. I feel better now. The second is that mixed the veggies with the gur-vinegar-salt and put that aside for 9 days, stirring every day. I will add the tarka and spices after that period and let it sit for another week before divulging. I expect the Umrikis to like it.

  13. Hi Anita,came here to say that I finally saw your lovely face on manisha’s blog…..& here U are with gobi shalgum achar, fav. of all delhi walas & punjabis….I always use to get my supply for this from my MIL & my mom but my last trip was in sep. so I only got whatever was left from the last season in my sister’s fridge…I have made it myself couple of times but in our house it’s consumed as subzi, it’ so tasty right….I was planning to make this achar today but it’s wet weather since yesterday so postponed it by a day or two……now this post is making me hungry for the achar more then before…..

    When it is fresh, I too substitute it for salad! make some!

  14. Dilli looks good on google maps!! and the first thot when i saw ur first foto was..its almost holi time and kanchi time and there u mentioned it.Happy Holi !!

    Happy Holi, Mallugirl! It is a cooler Holi than usual though.

  15. Anita, I knew I make the recipe the minute I saw it. I did make it over the weekend and it is getting used up pretty quickly. I modified it a bit because I did not have jaggery and the cane sugar I have is pretty old.

    Substituting with any kind of sugar should be just fine, as you did.

  16. I’m late! I’m late I’m late! For a very-important… pickle! 🙂

    “The warmth” is supposed to alert me to these things, and she is pretty hot- hot enough to… [heeheehee]

    Excellent-looking pickle, Anita! It does have a unique masala… I’ve seen others for the same pickle using the mustard seed/methi combo, but I’m starting to grasp the philosophy of a sweet pickle being “halfway to murrabba”, and this one fits that bill with its unique combo.

    Unfortunately, there is no sense in my even trying it until summer when these veggies are in season, as I refuse to make a pickle or kanji using 2nd-rate veggies- it deserves the best!

    And yeah, I’d keep this one away from the sun to retain the crunch as long as possible. It isn’t so different from our “bread-and-butter” cucumber pickles which use (generally) 5 parts sugar to 3 parts vinegar- in volume measure. I would assume they may have a common origin, but much of Europe was without sugar until at least the 11th century- and even then, I imagine, the price was prohibitive to its use in pickles. Vinegar production has a much-longer and obscure history, it’s origin traced to China, 2000 BC. Therefore, I’d venture to guess that western-style sweet pickles are modified descendants of those from the Indian subcontinent, China and the Middle East- such as this one- where both sugar and vinegar were within easier reach at an earlier time.

    For you the good veggies season is about to start; ours is now over. Now we will get to eat only squashes and gourds. Bhindi and karela will be the silver lining though!

    I knew you would have the answers and the explanations! Are there any oil-based western pickles? Or, do you think our warmer climate necessitated the use of oil along with the heavy spicing? And the fact that we had easy access to those spices!

    1. The thing is… even when oil is used in a pickle and forms the bulk of the khaar, it is in reality a “second barrier” against fungal growth; salt (or salt/sugar) is still the main preservative; as well, the acidity (in all but a few unusual, non-sour pickles that I’ve come across which rely totally upon salt) thwarts growth of the clostridium botulinum bacteria.

      The Mediterranean area sports many pickles which include a layer of (generally olive) oil, the most well-known of these here in the states being the Italian preserve of artichoke-hearts (which I tend to keep in stock because they’re so delicious!), but there are others from Italy: sweet-sour capsicums, giardinera…; the Sephardic Jews of Morocco also use olive oil in their version of the famous preserved lemon.

      Sadly perhaps, refrigeration and vacuum-sealing (canning) has changed pickling habits worldwide, most-notably in the west. There are many traditional pickles which now have a modern, less-intensely-flavored avatar in place which lack the longevity of their precursors born of ambient temperatures. Delicately-flavored, and able to be eaten in larger quantity, these diluted and “quick pickle” versions are dependent upon the power-grid for keeping.

      Hence, in support of any movement to lessen the need to consume fossil-fuels, posts such as this are most-welcome! 🙂

  17. These pictures transport me to my summer breaks in my grandmother’s home. We would pickle with mangoes, lime and garlic. Your post has brought back those memories.

  18. Navreh wishes to you and your family.
    And again, thanks for introducing us to, and teaching us so much about Kashmiri food and customs… (well other stuff too!!)

    Thank you! Your New year as well??
    (enjoy the pics on your ‘other’ blog too! Lovely!)

  19. Is that day of many husbands again? Happy happy to you, Anita! I hope you have a mutsch enjoyable celebration!

    🙂 It is. And, the same to you.

    Don’t know about the many husbands, but even the one I have was not around.

  20. Anita,

    This recipe brings back sweet memories of my dear friend Prabhat, who is from Karnal. Her mom used to make this achaar for us when were at the hostel. We used eat this pickle with methi matri. She also used to make Kathal ka achaar. There was one achaar she used to send us from Delhi, it had a distinct taste and smell of heeng.
    Would you know the name of that pickle?

    Thanks a lot for this recipe. I am going to make it this summer, though I have never found gajar here. I will make it with carrot.

    I have eaten a mango pickle strongly flavoured with hing; is that the one you remember?
    You should be fine with substituting the orange carrots for these Indian carrots.

  21. This is the recipe I was looking for, for sometime.
    This week’s ‘try and do list’ is added with this recipe too.

    Mustard oil needs to be bought, never used it so far,

    But can I drop the cinnamon and cardamom? not used to it ,in a pickle, being form South India.


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