Hunger is the best pickle. Benjamin Franklin

Mother (-in-law) Of All Pickles!

My last post was called Pickles… Mother (-in-law) Of All Pickles! It was a loving post dedicated to my Mum-in-law who loves collecting recipes. Some would term this as an obsession. This obsession extends mainly to collecting recipes more than actually executing them! She has many hand-written notebooks where she writes down all the recipes that she collects. And one such notebook is her ‘Diary of Pickles’. I call this diary the Mother of all Pickles, or rather Mother (in-law) of all pickles.

Instead of writing these recipes down if she had started typing them in from the very beginning, it could have been easily converted into a culinary blog called ‘The Pickled Diary’!

The next few posts that would follow will be probably be on pickles. Though I’m not a pickle-person, I’m fascinated by the world of pickles – the way they are so painstakingly prepared and meticulously preserved. It’s really worth sharing with the world these small bottles that are lying on the shelf, containing hot and spicy, sour and spicy, sweet and spicy, sweet and sweet(!), spicy and spicy(!) pickles.

The Pickle of the day is Hot Garlic Pickle, a glimpse into the other two is a just to tickle your senses as you yearn for more. What better way can be there to have Garlic sans the odour…

Hot Garlic Pickle

Category – Pickle; Cuisine type – Indian

Garlic is said to have originated from Central Asia and is also one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world that has been grown for over 5000 years. Ancient Egyptians seem to have been the first to cultivate this plant that played an important role in their culture. Garlic was introduced into various regions throughout the globe by migrating cultural tribes and explorers. By the 6th century BC, Garlic was known in both China and India, the latter country using it for therapeutic purposes.

Pickled Garlic has entirely different beneficial compounds than dried, cooked Garlic and they work differently in the human body. Eating pickled Garlic does not give an immediate Garlic breath or secondary Garlic odor (sweat, lungs, etc.) hours later whereas cooking fresh or dried Garlic gives both kinds of odor. If the Garlic is soaked in Vinegar or Lemon juice, the acid that is present in them will neutralize the Alliinase and slowly breaks down the rest of the cloves into odorless water soluble compounds that circulate via the bloodstream  mostly S-allyl cysteine (SAC). SAC lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar levels and inhibits platelet aggregation as well. The SAC has some anti-tumor properties also. The wonderful thing is that the longer you leave the Garlic in the vinegar or lemon juice, the more SAC is formed. Pickling the Garlic is a great and inexpensive way to enjoy excellent flavor and get a few health benefits too.

Garlic is an excellent source of Manganese. It is also a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. In addition, Garlic is a good source of Protein and Thiamin (vitamin B1) as well as the minerals – Phosphorus, Selenium, Calcium, Potassium, and Copper. Modern science has shown that Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic and has a powerful antioxidant effect. Garlic should be seen as part of a healthy lifestyle. (Source: VahRehVah)


Garlic pods – 100 gm, peeled
Red Chilli Powder – 50 gm, dry roasted*
Tamarind – 50 gm
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Mustard Oil – 100gm

* Roast Red Chillies in a heated wok and continuously stir it to prevent the Chillies from burning. When the colour of the Chillies turn deep brown, take them off the fire and grind them into powder in a dry grinder. Note: If you are not used to this, yes, you’ll cough a lot. So Beware!


– Grind the Garlic pods into a paste
– Soak the Tamarind for half an hour and make a paste
– Heat oil in a hot wok
– Add the Garlic and Tamarind paste and fry in the hot oil
– Add the Red Chilli powder
– Add the Salt and Sugar when the garlic is fried
– Stir it continuously in slow flame till the oil separates out
– Cool and put the mixture in an air-tight container

Dos and Don’ts of Pickles
– Stock pickles in an air tight container. Acid corrodes metal and a loose lid can cause the vinegar to evaporate
– Pick vinegar that has at least 5 per cent acetic acid content
– Sea salt enhances the taste of vegetables and meats
– Ensure that ingredients are clean, firm and of best quality to prolong the shelflife of the pickle
– Radish, cauliflower, cucumber, cabbage, mango, lime, fish and ginger pickle best
– Small vegetables and fruits such as cocktail onions and cherries should be used whole; Peel and quarter large vegetables such as tomatoes
– Always use a dry spoon to scoop out pickle from the jar
(Source: Times of India)

Disclaimer: Ma collects recipes from TV, magazines, newspapers etc. Most of the times she doesn’t write down from where they have been collected from. If you happen to own this recipe, do get in touch. I would be too happy to update this post with your link!

For me Pickles are like Abstract Art – I love them but I don’t understand them. I love them because they tickle my senses with their strong taste and colours and the intensity of the spices going into making them. Pickles are a part of daily diet in many culture and some pickles do have enormous health benefits – they help the body to absorb iron, they are packed with Vitamin C, they are strongly flavoured and various types of fruits and vegetables might go into your tummy through a bottle of pickle (more), they are also high in Sodium and Oil.

But yes, if you can think out of the box for accompaniments that might go with a particular flavour of pickle that you have made, go for it. It’s good to spice up your life once in a while!

Unblogging it all… Ishita

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from these posts. Do join me on my daily food and travel journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Written by IshitaUnblogged

A Culinary Travel Blog by a Bong Gourmet. From Dubai, Kolkata & the world beyond, street food to fine dining, recipes to chef talks, it pens down experiences. With 2 kids in tow!


  1. These look absolutely incredible Ishita – what a gorgeous bunch of photos! I am totally going to visit the photo gallery, and chutneys and pickles are my favorite part of Indian cuisine – hands down!

    1. Thank you Shira! It’s very interesting that you are fond of pickles and chutneys because most people find them too spicy and strong in taste. For me, I’m fascinated with the art of making pickles more than eating them. And I’m tempted to keep an entire section on Pickles only! I’m glad that you loved the photos – I’ve been wanting to take them differently so that it does justice to my Mum-in-law’s hard work:)

  2. I have to admit to a passion for garlic – probably down to my paternal Polish heritage. My Grandmother used to eat a raw clove a day and when my daughter heard of garlic sandwiches she developed more than a passing liking for them. Your photos are like old master paintings here – love the colours particularly. I can think of many uses for this intense, fragrant pickle (and think a pickle diary is a great idea!)

  3. Sally, thank you very much:) Eating raw clove a day is probably the healthiest thing that one can do – but quite a task for me personally. Am so happy to receive compliments on the photographs from someone like you – have taken so much effort to take all the pictures – and with a long list of rejections from Foodgawker and Tastespotting – it has been almost like a challenge to myself to teach myself to be better and better each day. Your compliment on the photographs have given me a big high. Thank you:)

    1. At long last could access my own blog – don’t know whether it was the internet or something else. Please do and Ma is such a food enthusiast that she would have been too too happy to have you around – specially if there’s also an opportunity to learn new recipes. She asks everyone the recipe first even before she tries out the food!

What do you have to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s