Pickles are an integral part of Indian cuisine. It peps up a boring meal and imparts that oomph factor to otherwise dull menu. In India, there are hundreds of ways in which pickles are made. The ingredients, the vegetables, the fruits, the spices, all vary from region to region, from cuisine to cuisine. Pickle or Achar, could be made from many fruits and vegetables, the most widely used ones are Raw mango, onion, Carrots, turnips, Chilies, Lemons etc.

Generally the base of most pickles is Mustard oil ,due to presence of Glucosinolate, the pungent principle in mustard oil, that has anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti-carcinogenic properties (source: Sunrise). So the oil acts like a preservative, apart from imparting a unique flavor to the pickle.
Besides mustard oil, mustard seeds and Mustard dal (husked mustard seeds) is also widely used. The other important ingredients in many of the pickles are Hing, chili powder, fenugreek seeds etc. Lemon juice based pickles are also very popular, and so are the onion garlic based pickles. The spicy, the sour, the sweet, the tangy, the fruity, the "fishy ", the "meaty" you name it and Indians Pickle it ;-)
Today we are sharing with you a pickle made from raw mangoes, probably the most preferred pickle. The recipe and picture is shared by Mrs. Pooja Juriani.
Thanks Pooja for sharing this with us.

kairi ka achar

Recipe: Kairi Ka Achar (Spicy Raw mango pickle)
Prep Time:5-6 hours of marination, 5 days for pickling(In summer of India) 
Cooking Time:10-15 mins
Makes:Approximately 2 kg
Shelf Life:If stored properly under sterilized conditions, it stays good for about an year
Recipe Source:Pooja juriani
Recipe Level: Basic
Spice Level: High
Recipe/Post by:Alka

2 kg Raw tender mangoes
500 ml of Edible Mustard oil
15 cloves of garlic
125 gms of husked and coarsely ground Mustard seeds (Rai Dal)
100 gms of Ready Pickle masala(Ram Bandhu Ready pickle masala, or any other brand will do)
Salt approx. 4 tbsp
  Special Utensils:

Sterilized porcelain jar or Glass jar to store pickle

  1. Wipe the raw mangoes with damp cloth and then cut the mangoes (or get it cut from vendor) into small chunks.
  2. Add salt and turmeric (optional) and keep in Sunlight for 5-6 hours.
  3. Meanwhile boil the Mustard oil till it reaches smoking point.Put off the heat.After 15 minutes add chopped /crushed garlic.5 minutes later, add coarsely ground husked mustard seeds (Rai Dal) and finally add the readymade pickle masala.Mix well.Let it cool till it reaches room temperature .
  4. Pour this mixture over the mango cubes and mix well.
  5. Transfer every thing into a properly sterilized and dried porcelain or glass jar.
  6. Tie a muslin cloth at the rim of jar and close the lid well.
  7. Keep the jar in sunlight for 5-6 consecutive days, and do not forget to shake the jar once in a while, each day.Depending upon the climatic conditions, the pickle will be ready to consume within 5-8 days.

Special Notes/Tips:
  • Always store the pickles in porcelain or glass jar.
  • Never use a wet spoon to scoop out pickle.
  • In case of oil based pickle, make sure that the contents of pickle are completely immersed in oil. The stuff above the level of oil, might get spoiled with fungus pretty soon.
  • Never be greedy while relishing pickles.The high salt and oil content is not good for health, if consumed in generous quantities.
  • This pickle could be stored well with or without refrigeration for atleast 6 month to one year.
  • If at all a white fungal layer is seen on the top of pickle, just remove the spoiled portion, heat some more mustard oil, let it cool, and pour over the pickle.

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Kadarangai Pickle

Posted by Srivalli | Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | , , , , | 9 comments »

It is called wild lemon in English different from Citron  called Narthangai in Tamil. This one has got unique taste apart from the sour taste. The skin is thick and if you taste once this pickle, it is hard to ignore. In Chennai during seasons you get fully riped fresh ones in the market.

Though the ingredients are same for all pickles, there are different ways to prepare. I followed the traditional way of soaking them in salt till they become tender. The other way is the whole lemon is roasted in oil and then cut into pieces. It will give a slight bitter taste. Since this wild lemon is not sour enough for pickles, to enhance the sour taste some add tamarind but I prefer to add lemon juice.

Recipe: Kadarangai Pickle
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Recipe/Post by: Viji


3 big kadarangai/wild lemons
3-4 tbsp of salt
4 tbsp lemon juice

Wash and wipe them with kitchen towel. Prepare two clean sterilized bottles. Dry them well. Cut the lemons into small cubes after removing the seeds. Layer the cubes with salt and add the juice also to it. Keep it in sun for a week stirring daily evening and morning. My mom will never touch the pickles before taking bath.

Once it is soft and juicy, prepare the spices for it.

3 tsp fenugreek seeds

2 tsp mustard seeds
1 small size hing/asafetida

Dry roast them and powder it< 3-4 tbsp red chili powder (either home made or store bought)

1 tsp turmeric powder
1 small cup oil
1 tsp mustard seeds for tempering

In a bowl take the soaked lemons. Spread the red chili powder and turmeric powder on top of it. In a skillet heat the oil and temper the mustard seeds. Pour the hot oil on top of the chili powder. Mix well immediately. Add the fenurgreek powder and mustard powder and mix well. Adjust the salt and hotness by tasting. Store this in the same bottle.

If you have added enough oil to stand on top of the pickle, it need not be refrigerated. Or else refrigerate. A tasty one goes well with any rice, or stuffed parathas.

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Upma Kozhakottai ~ Steamed Rice and Lentil Balls
Upma Kozhakottai

Well! We just proved we are human. The team has been dysfunctional for sometime due to many things happening in our respective lives. In my case, I was on a blog break and connecting with the real world. It took me a while to dust lethargy off, but here I am, kick starting the winter with a traditional and healthy dish!

The advent of quick two minute recipes have put an end to some delightful and traditional recipes. These dishes end up being talked about but hardly ever made. Upma kozhakottai is one such Tamilian dish that seems to be fast receding into history. When my daughter took it to school for 'lunch', her friends found it new. Even those who belong to Tamil Nadu had never heard of it. I was surprised and I knew that the next time I prepared upma kozhakottais I would record the making in full detail because this dish is not only traditional but is very nutritious and easy to make. I took most of these pictures last year when I visited my parents. It is easier to take pictures of work in progress when someone else does the cooking. Some have been taken in my house.

Recipe: Upma Kozhakottai ~ Steamed Rice and Lentil Balls
Preparation Time : 1 hour including time taken to soak and grind rice and lentils
Serves : 28 to 30 Nos.
Recipe Level:Intermediate
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom


To grind:
Raw rice (any variety) - 1.5 cups
Tuvar dal (split pigeon peas), moong dal (split green gram) and chana dal (split bengal gram) - 1.5 tsp. each (optional but recommended)
Black pepprcorns - 8 to 10 Nos.

To season:

Upma Kozhakottai ~ Steamed Rice and Lentil Balls
Seasoning Ingredients for Upma Kozhakottai

Mustard seeds (Rai) - 1 tsp.
Split bengal gram (Chana dal) or Split black gram (Urda dal) - 1 tbsp.
Green chillies, finely chopped - 1 tbsp.
Ginger, finely chopped - 1 tbsp.
Curry leaves, finely chopped - 1 tbsp.
Asafoetida powder - A generous pinch
Salt - 2 tsp. or to taste
Coconut, freshly grated - 1 cup
Sesame Oil - 4 to 5 tbsps. (Any other neutral oil can be used though this is the traditionally used variety)


The Powder:
  1. Wash rice well and drain water out completely. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Wash dal, drain and grind to a coarse powder separately or along with the rice and with peppercorns. In some regions dal is not used in this preparation. However, my mom's family has always used it because of the flavour and the nutrition. Measure the mixture in cups after powdering. The amounts of rice and dal used in this recipe yields about 3.5 to 4 cups.
Do not delete ~ For BC
Rice and Dal mix

The product:
  1. Heat oil in a heavy, wide wok. When oil is hot pop in the mustard seeds. As soon as they splutter add the dals followed by the green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. When the chillies turn a shade darker add asafoetida followed by salt.
  2. Add 6 cups of water. The water should be about 1.5 times the cup measure of ground mixture.
  3. Add the coconut and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, adding salt to taste.
  4. Add the ground rice and dal mixture in a steady stream into the boiling water, all the while stirring the water, so that lumps do not form.
  5. The mixture will start forming a batter. Keep folding and stirring till the mixture turns almost dry and forms a sticky dough. [Picture below]
  6. Cool the batter till you can handle it - to room temperature.
  7. Pinch some of the dough and form an oblong ball gathering it in your fist. Just bounce it lightly in your fist and apply a little pressure, shaping all the while into a neat rugby shaped ball. Repeat till all the batter is used up. The size depends on your liking. Mine measures about 2.5 inches in length and about 1 or 1.5 inches in width.
  8. Steam in small batches in a traditional steamer or cooker for about 10-12 minutes. On opening the steamer, if you find that the surface of the kozhakattais or balls are gleaming, consider them done.
  9. Serve with coconut chutney, molagapodi or sambar.
Do not delete ~ For BC
Batter formed after cooking rice and dal mixture

Special Notes/Tips:
  • The step involving grinding of the rice and dal can be done a week ahead. The powder can be stored to make kozhakottais as and when needed. If making ahead, do not soak the rice or dal as the moisture will lead to spoilage. However, I recommend making the fresh powder as the moisture helps in making a softer and tastier product.
  • The kozhakottais can be made with or without the dal. You can also use any one dal instead of the combination.

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The past couple of months have been quite busy at the home front. I usually try a variety of dishes regularly but everything came to a halt until I started it off again with this red capsicum and tomato thokku. This month's theme at Beyond Curries being Preserves/Pickles, I was in a mood for trying something spicy. While browsing through the collection of recipes I have I happened to see this Red Capsicum Pickle recipe. I don't use red capsicum as often as I use its green counterpart. Somehow the flavor and taste of the red one does not appeal me enough to use it regularly. So I was thinking back and forth whether to try the pickle or not. Finally I decided to give it a shot because I had to use tomatoes too. This thokku is quite similar to the tomato thokku Tamilians usually prepare. The only change is that we will be adding chopped red capsicum too.

The Red Capsicum and Tomato Thokku had a fantastic red color. It was so vibrant looking than the usual tomato thokku. The taste was very good too. It had a mild red capsicum flavor going at the back not overpowering the entire pickle. It like that subtle ness very much. It was something different but not extreme different. This Red Capsicum and Tomato Thokku tastes especially very good with idlis and dosas. I also mixed it with hot white rice with a spoon of sesame oil. It was heaven!

Recipe: Red Capsicum and Tomato Thokku (Pickle)
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45-60 minutes (depending upon the consistency and stove)
Makes: 1/2 cup of pickle
Shelf Life: Probably a week if refrigerated
Recipe Inspiration/Source: Aval Vikatan (Tamil Women's Magazine)
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: As per taste
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram


For grinding:
Red Capsicum, diced - 1 big size
Tomatoes, diced - 2 medium size
Dried Red Chillies - 3 (I used the small round ones)
Salt - 1/2 to 1 teaspoon or as per taste
Turmeric powder - a pinch

For tempering:
Sesame Oil - 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Hing powder - a pinch

  1. Grind together the ingredients mentioned in the list to a smooth paste/mixture. Adding water is not necessary. The tomatoes secrete enough water. Add more water means more time in the stove to reduce it.
  2. In a frying pan heat the oil. Once it is hot enough add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Also add the hing powder. Now to this add the ground capsicum and tomato mixture.
  3. Reduce the heat. I have an electric range, so I kept it at 3 so that the mixture will not start splattering everywhere. Check for seasoning in the middle and add salt or chili powder accordingly. Stir it once in a while until all the water evaporates and the mixture reduces. Mine took nearly 60 minutes.
  4. Let it cool completely before you can transfer it to a clean bottle.

Special Notes/Tips:
  • We don't eat very spicy food, so one may want to increase the quantity of chilies if you prefer a spicy pickle.
  • The above measurement yielded about 1/2 cup of pickle and it was over within 2 days. It was so very tempting. I guess this thokku will keep good for a about a week if stored properly in a refrigerator if you prepare a bigger batch.

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Spicy Mango Chutney/Instant Mango Pickle
With summer comes mango season in India and a time to make variety of mango pickles, thokku and chutney. Here is one simple recipe for instant Mango Picle/Chutney. Slightly sweet and sour Tothapuri Mango is grated and mixed with salt to remove excess juice and then ground with few spices to make this very fresh, aromatic, spicy and instant Mango Pickle/Chutney. If you don’t get Tothapuri Mangoes then you can easily substitute it with any other sour raw mango of your choice.

Recipe : Spicy Mango Chuteny/Instant Mango Pickle (Sour Mango ground with selected aromatic Spices)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 3-5 mins
Makes: 1-1½ Cup
Shelf Life:
15-20 days when stored in fridge
Recipe Source:
Recipe Level:
Recipe by:

1 medium Raw Mango, peeled and grated (Approx. 1 packed cup)
5-8 Dry Red Chilli, broken (I used Byadagi, adjust acc to taste)
½ tsp Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
1-1½ tbsp Black Mustard Seeds
1-1½ tbsp Sea Salt
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida

Ingredients for Spicy Mango Chuteny/Instant Mango Pickle


  1. Mix sea salt with grated mangoes and keep it aside covered for about 30 mins to 1 hour. The juice from mango will be released.
  2. Squeeze the juice from grated mango and reserve it for later. Keep aside squeezed mango gratings.
  3. Dry roast dry red chillies, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and hing in a pan on medium to low flame for about 2-3 minutes till fenugreek seeds turns light brown in colour and you get nice roasted aroma from spices.
  4. Cool the spices and grind them coarsely with grated mango. Add reserved squeezed mango juice as and when required. This Pickle/Chutney should be quite thick in consistency and make sure that you don’t grind them to smooth paste.
  5. Store them in a sterilised jar in refrigerator. It can be used up to a 15-20 days. Serve them with Dosa, Idli, toast or Curd Rice and enjoy.

Spicy Mango Chutney/Instant Mango Pickle

  • You can also add 1 tsp roasted Cumin Seeds/Jeera for little different flavour.
  • Make sure that you don’t grind it to smooth paste. It should be ground coarsely so that you can enjoy small chunks of spices and mango.
  • Tothapuri mangoes work best for this recipe. But if you don’t get them at your place then you can easily substitute it with any other sour, raw mango of your choice.

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Capsicum Thokku

Posted by Srivalli | Saturday, May 08, 2010 | , , , , | 5 comments »

If you start tasting the home made pickles, you hardly go for store bought ones. This is my opinion. With the loads of preservatives, artificial color and vinegar it spoils the whole taste of the ingredients. If you are not confident in making pickles due to the lengthy process use some simple methods to prepare quick ones with the seasonal veggies. But oil is the main preservative here. So no compromise on that.

Recipe: Capsicum Tokku
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Yields: One 500 gms jar
Spice Level: Medium to Hot
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Recipe/Post by: Viji

To quick fix pickles, prepare this pickle podi and keep it ready. I don’t prefer to make it in batches as it loses its flavour and taste in due course.

For Pickle Podi:
1 tbsp Vendhayam/Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
½ tbsp Mustard Seeds
One small cube Perunkayam/Hing/Asafoetida (what we call Katti perunkayam in paste form and not the powder)


Dry roast them and keep it ready.

For Capsicum Tokku:
Chop the capsicums as shown. If different colors are not available use the available ones.
Soak a lemon sized tamarind in hot water and extract thick juice – approximately ¼ cup.
1 tbsp Pickle Podi
2-3 tsp Red Chili Powder (Adjust as per your taste)
½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
A Pinch of Hing powder (if not used in pickle podi)
Salt to taste

For Tadka/Tempering:
3 tbsp Sesame Oil
½ tsp Mustard Seeds
Few Curry Leaves

Sepcial Utensils:
One clean jar

In a skillet temper as given.
Add the turmeric powder and red chili powder first at low flame.
Then add the chopped capsicums and saute for a while – 2-3 minutes.
Now add the tamarind juice and salt. Let it boil for while.
Add the pickle podi and stir till the oil separates.
It is similar to pulikatchal. Very tasty one goes well with curd rice and even with our tiffins. For a change you can mix it with rice and eat like puli rice.

Special Notes/Tips:
If only green ones are available, prepare it with one colour. But the red ones really adds taste to it.
You can prepare with bajji milagai also (banana pepper)
Refrigerate it.

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Choco Bournvita Milkshake!

Posted by Srivalli | Saturday, May 01, 2010 | | 4 comments »

When I wanted to get my daughter and her friend cooking something, especially this Bhelpuri by themselves, I had to serve them something chill. In this hot climate, there is nothing like a cold refreshing drink to beat the sun. Both the girls had fun mixing the bhel themselves and I had this drink ready for them when they were all set to serve the Bhel.

I normally make Chocolate Milkshake and this was one was very similar to it. I had the milk all ready by morning. Having a chilled sweet milk really helps in getting this ready in no time. Especially with kids, they simply love the chocolate flavour mixed with ice cream.

Ingredients Needed:

Milk - 1 cup
Chocolate Sauce - 4 - 5 tsp
Bournvita - 2-3 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Chocolate/ Vanilla Ice cream - 1 scoop.

Sweeten the milk and refrigerate till chill. Then blend the chocolate sauce along with bournvita and pulse it couple of times. Finally add the ice cream scoop and pulse it once and serve chill.

This goes to the Thanda Mela held at my Cooking 4 all Seasons

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