Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Turmeric Pickle (Haldi cha Loncha)

Welcome to 2014 at M in the World! Is it too late to wish you all a brilliant new year? Yes? Oh well - I do wish it to you! A year of strength and joy and beauty to you all.

From the severe lack of posts you've probably guessed that something's up. And it is. And it sucks. This isn't the "I'm out of dark chocolate too bad so sad" variety of sucks either. It's stuff that makes you think about the great unknown and shuffling off this mortal coil. Stuff that makes you appreciate the things in life you so often take for granted. Stuff that focuses on the words we often throw around without really feeling the bigness of them - words like grace and mindfulness, peace and dignity, joy and family. So bear with me while we ride this roller coaster out, will ya? Things might be a little erratic on M in the World, but keep checking back in please!

And in the meanwhile, let's push this stuff under the rug for a minute (man my emotional rug has a lot of crap under it - what about you?) and talk about something else. What about the weather eh? Oh, you have a snow day, do you? Polar vortex, you say?

Well do I have something exciting for you! The perfect project for a day at home. Something sour and salty and briny and earthy. Something bright and fun (probably best handled in small-ish doses though). Something that makes your mouth pucker up even as you're reaching for a little bit more. Something that adds a little spice to your life.

I'm talking about pickles!

And this isn't the ol' pickled cucumber either - though as a lover of all things pickled I must agree, those are delish. This is the Indian variety of pickle, full of spices and layers and complexities that end up making you eat too much.

And on that note, beware the danger of eating too much pickle - I must warn you, though I doubt you'll listen. A little goes a long way, friends. But I won't judge if you can't stop at just a little dash on the side of your plate, mixed in with some rice and dal (or perhaps with some yogurt rice?). In fact, I won't judge if you just dip into this one with a spoon and hang the consequences. I know I do.

But it's good for you! It's got all kinds of magical ingredients (let's move on from the magic berry of the day - time for something a little less fruity, a little more earthy) like turmeric and fenugreek and asafoetida and green chilies.

[However, here's public safety warning number 2: beware the color. No, seriously, this is not the time to use those white dish cloths to wipe up spills, or a pretty apron that can't handle a streak or two of bright yellow. Turmeric stains everything - and I mean everything. This is also probably not the dish you want to make just before you go out on that hand modeling assignment. Although the lemon squeezing gives you an opportunity to try and combat the yellow-nail-syndrome, you'll probably still look a little jaundiced around your fingertips for a couple of days. Them's the breaks, folks. You want deliciousness? Embrace the color.]

And so, while you reach out for another spoonful of this delight, you can even pat yourself on the back for keeping that new year's resolution to eat healthier (I'm not the only one who makes these grandiose resolutions, right?) (also, don't quote me on the healthier thing - consuming large quantities of pickle, no matter how delicious, is probably quite averse to any health goals).

And speaking of new year's resolutions, here's one of mine: experiment more to master the foods I grew up with and make them my own.

This means plumbing the depths of the Marathi kitchen and actually executing the recipes I've been collecting from my mom and grandmas for the past few years (before I lose all credibility and my grandma's skeptical "are you really ever going to make this?" becomes reality). This, friends, is the first. I hope you enjoy, and I look forward to making more Marathi delicacies with you this year!

Turmeric Pickle (Haldi cha Loncha)


1 cup turmeric root
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 inches ginger
6-7 small green chilies
3 tsp salt
6-7 tbsp lemon juice (juice of 3 lemons)
1 tbsp oil


Heat 1 tbsp oil until almost smoking. Add in 1 tsp mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp asafoetida. Let splutter, then remove from heat. Set these tempered spices aside.

Heat a small pan (no oil) until smoking. Lightly dry roast 1 tsp mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds. Remove from heat when you start smelling the spices. Grind in a mortar and pestle and set aside.

Peel and slice the turmeric into thin discs.

Peel and slice the ginger into thin slices.

Cut the chilis in half, remove seeds (you can leave the seeds in if you want to make it spicier, but since I was using bird peppers, which are already really spicy, I removed the seeds).

Pour 6-7 tbsp lemon juice over the mixture and mix in 3 tsp salt (for a brinier taste use sea salt).

Add the ground mustard and fenugreek mixture as well as the tempered spices and their oil.

Mix thoroughly and store in an airtight jar.

Refrigerate for at least 1 day before eating, and keep refrigerated.


  1. Replies
    1. Agree! I think I'm going to try and make some other types of pickles as well - watch out for those recipes here soon!

  2. This makes me miss my grandmother, in the best way possible! Looks delicious!

    1. Thanks! Without grandmas the world would be a tasteless place.

  3. yum. we just whipped up a huge batch of pickles a few weeks ago.


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