I am always fond of pickles. And a good pickle always reminds me of
Good pickles start with good ingredients. Keeping that in mind, I visited the farmers market and got 3 kilos of wonderfully ripe roma tomatoes just to make the Spiced Tomato Chilli Pickle. The recipe I used is from Australian (and my) beloved chef Christine Manfield, which is based on the southern Indian tomato kasaundi. While keeping all the Indian ingredients and method of preparations, Christine added fish sauce, a Southeast Asian element to the pickle. And it worked. The fish sauce lent another dimension of saltiness and sweetness to the pickle, something that salt alone might not have. The fish sauce I used is fermented from anchovies, which is lighter, sweeter and less salty than the one made from cuttlefish.
This pickle has everything that I love. The bright red colour can brightens up any day. Opening the jar, the aroma of Indian herbs and spices awakes your senses. Tasting it, and the flavour is beyond words. Everything is just well-balanced. The sweetness, sourness and spiciness blend together to create a versatile condiment. Do not be fooled by the colour and aroma, though. The spiciness of this pickle is just gentle enough to warm up the palate, which makes it a perfect accompaniment to a range of dishes, not just Indian cuisine.
Ever since I made it, my flatmate and I have been using it for every dinner. We paired it with our poached chicken, grilled beef or simply steamed vegetables. It was perfect to dip in fried pastries, too… I also used it to spice up the chicken mixture topping for the pastry as pictured above. It was so good for lunch, giving a boost of flavour in the middle of a working day.
I would love to submit the Spiced Tomato Chilli Pickles to the Weekend Herb Blogging, an event created by Kalyn of Kalyn´s Kitchen. The host of this week is Anna from Anna’s Cool Finds.
Spiced Tomato Chilli Pickle
Recipe by Christine Manfield
Ingredients (for 500-600ml)
4 tsp of brown mustard seeds
125ml cider vinegar
8 tsp of cumin seeds; roasted and grind to a fine powder
125 ml vegetable oil
A pinch of freshly ground cloves
2 tsp of turmeric powder
8 tsp of finely chopped ginger
10 cloves garlic
10-12 small red birds eye chillies
2 kg ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and quartered
75g of pal sugar/jaggery shaved
60ml fish sauce
- Cook mustard seeds in vinegar over moderate heat for 10 mins, then set aside for 2 hours.
- Heat oil in a heavy based pan, fry the ground turmeric, cumin, cloves until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Process the mustard mixture with ginger, garlic and chillies in a blender until smooth. Add to oil and spices.
- Add tomato. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for 1 hour or until the tomato has broken down and the sauce is quite smooth.
- Add palm sugar and fish sauce. Cook for a further 30 mins. Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Spoon into sterilised jar, cover with a film of oil. Seal when cooled.
- Keep in the fridge for one month.
- Cook chicken with onion. Add seasoning and a few spoonful of tomato spiced pickle.
- Thaw 2 sheets frozen puff pastry for 5-10 mins. Layer them together & cut into 4 squares. Score a 1 cm border in each square.
- Add some ricotta cheese, spoon the mixture to the middle. Bake for 15 mins or until golden brown.