Feast for Thought

Not pontificating. Only trying to bat on the side of the environment. And ethics. And simple living. And slowing down. (And trying to learn and practise before preaching or teaching...)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nutmeg (aka jadikkai) pickles

Meals in India's households are incomplete without dollops of pickles - those special spicy side dishes that can easily lend a 'taste good' factor to the blandest course.
At any given time, you're sure to find a few of the infinite varieties of lime, mango, gooseberry, garlic, ginger, tomato, tamarind... pickles in the larder of any home in India. (At this stage I feel it may be necessary to differentiate a pickled fruit - simple immersion in vinegar - from the spicy tropical preparations that belong to the class of chutneys and jams). The pickles are carefully prepared in bulk usually in summer or during the season of the particular fruit, and the jars stay in attendance day-in and day-out.
Non-natives may not have heard of the nutmeg fruit, much less of nutmeg pickles. The species is available aplenty in Indonesia, Kerala in south India, Malaysia and a few other tropical regions.
Thus far I was familiar with the potential use of only the inner parts of the fruit - the red petal-like delicate part called mace, and the seed kernel - understandable, because the mace and the seed profess several medicinal values, and are also used as flavouring for sweet and spicy dishes, and the outer flesh is forgotten, left to rot beneath the nutmeg tree.That's the fruit ready to shed the precious spices.

The vermilion coloured mace that covers the kernel has a leathery feel when it is prised from the kernel. Both the soft mace and the kernel that contains the seed are sun-dried before reaching the market.
For the pickle, you'll need the fleshy part (pericarp / pod) of the fruit - plucking it just when it's ready to split and shed the mace and the kernel.
Here are pictures from our pickle-making session, followed by the recipe.

For 10 fruits (about 300 gms of chopped outer flesh), you'll need about 75 gm red chilli powder (powdered dried cayenne pepper), 1 tsp roasted fenugreek powder, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, salt to taste.
Saute the pieces in oil till soft. Add salt and the rest of the powders, mix well, let cool and store in dry jars.
The nutmeg has a slight tangy taste, and the pickle perfectly accompanies any of the cooked rice dishes.
If the whole fruit is not part of your friendly neighbourhood grocer's stock, never fret; you could try out the recipe with raw mango, lime and other vegetable.
(Suggestion: Do arrive at your own proportions of the added powders. In India, we have regional variations in the degree of "hotness" of the pickle. You'll find some of the hottest pickles in regions of the hottest clime!)
Now that you've had a taste of our wonderful world in India, do visit many more worlds



Blogger Carver said...

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing the food and recipe from your part of the world.

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Sylvia K said...

I agree with Carver, really interesting post and the food looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

14 July, 2009  
OpenID ramosforestenvironment.com said...

Good recipes.
Delicious your World today.

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Canarybird said...

I love to read about new foods and ingredients. Interesting how you use them, and thanks for preparing that recipe with photos. I know it's quite a bit of work to do that!

14 July, 2009  
OpenID itsnotjustapicture said...

clicked through to see what the asafoetida powder was. interesting history about it....devil's dung...hmmm
i always enjoy learning about other foods and this was a fascinating post. thank you for it.

14 July, 2009  
OpenID ewok1993 said...

this is one of the most interesting post and very educational too. thanks. i'm one who hasn't seen a nutmeg outside of the one's already ground.

i must say i have to condition my buds to chutney. i'm basically not a fan of pickles, any pickled item :(

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Karen said...

Really interesting post...until now I had not seen what the actual nutmeg fruit looked like. I'm just used to the small dried nut, that I grate when using nutmeg...

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Elisabeth's bright side said...

Thanks, we enjoy Indian food more and more so it's very interesting to read about it on your blog. We learn so many things.

14 July, 2009  
Blogger bettyl said...

So THAT'S where it comes from! Wow! Thanks for sharing.

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Marites said...

it's really interesting to see where the spices come from. I wouldn't know it had you not posted it here. Thanks for sharing.

My world is here

14 July, 2009  
Blogger SandyCarlson said...

That was an education. Looks good to me!

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Swarna said...

Thanks, all
I do wish the pictures did more justice to the fruit, the spices and to the pickles! ;)

14 July, 2009  
OpenID thepurplejournal said...

I love pickles! I can't imagine dal chawal without them :)

~ Nadia

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Arija said...

So nice to see the whole fruit and all its uses. A very informatve and interesting post

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Jenn Jilks said...

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing it.

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Denise said...

What a wonderful post, so very interesting and the photos were great. Always feels good to learn something new. Thank you!

14 July, 2009  
Blogger Rita said...

This is a cuisine I have had no exposure too. Thank you for the nice post.

There is an Indian restaurant in the city that I have never tried. Perhaps it is time I did. Next trip perhaps.

I enjoyed my glimpse into your world. Hope you will enjoy yours into mine.

15 July, 2009  
Blogger Kamini said...

I had never heard of jadikkai pickles before reading this. Your pictures and recipe made my mouth water! Alas, I live in another world altogether, with no hope of access to this yummy delicacy! I have to content myself for now with drooling over your pictures!

15 July, 2009  
Blogger Kirigalpoththa said...

Interesting post!

18 July, 2009  
Blogger Marja said...

Very interesting It sounds very tasty

22 July, 2009  
Blogger Wren said...

Looks yummy! I didn't know you could pickle nutmeg and enjoyed learning more about this dish and its preparation.

22 July, 2009  
OpenID swapnap said...

Hi Swarna,
I hopped here from Marja's World. Wow...literally mouth watering recipe. I used to love eating Jadikkai just with lil salt when i was a kid! Yum...brought back good memories too. Thanks for posting n the pictures.

22 July, 2009  

Ithu nanna irukkey!

10 August, 2009  
Blogger Prakash Aroor said...

Just got back from resort near Coonoor in Tamilnadu with a bag full of nutmeg fruit. Thank you for recipe for making pickles. Here we go.....

21 January, 2013  
Blogger Swarna said...

@Prakash Aroor:
Do share your experience with making the pickles...

22 January, 2013  

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