Today we are going to make a pickle that’s a bit different from the rest. This is an Eggplant Pickle – a popular Achaar in Bengal and Goa.
Let’s get started with the ingredients that you will require:
Eggplant (Brinjal): 2 kilograms
Mustard Oil: 1 litre
Mustard Seeds (Rai): 50 grams
Green Chillies: 150 grams
Red Chillies: 100 grams
Turmeric (Haldi): 1 teaspoon
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 50 grams
Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds: 2 teaspoon
Ginger: 150 grams
Garlic: 150 grams
Sugar: 70 grams
Jaggery (Gur): 150 grams
Vinegar: 200 millilitres
Salt: to taste
Peel and wash the Eggplants thoroughly and dry them. Make sure that they are completely dry. Caution: any residual moisture could ruin your pickle!
When the Eggplants are completely dry, cut them into small cubes.
Grind the ginger and garlic into a paste.
Grind the green chillies, red chillies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and turmeric with a tablespoon of Mustard Oil into a coarse paste.
In a small bowl, dissolve the Sugar and the Jaggery in the vinegar.
Wash and sterilize a glass or porcelain pickling jar and wipe it dry. Let it dry completely. Once again, make sure it’s completely dry… there should be no droplets of residual moisture. For this recipe, we recommend a large jar as this Achaar is usually made in large quantities (you’ve probably guessed that from the amount of Eggplant required).
Always remember that the most critical ingredient in the entire pickling process is cold-pressed Mustard Oil. This is the natural preservative that facilitates the pickling process and keeps the pickle fresh and healthy over an extended period of time.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a large pan on Medium heat till the oil reaches its smoking point. Cook the ginger-and-garlic paste. Next, add the ground spices and continue cooking.
Add the Eggplant cubes along with the salt and let the contents cook till they are half done (use a fork to check how soft – or hard – the Eggplant cubes have turned).
Add the Sugar-Jaggery-Vinegar mixture and continue cooking till the contents begin to simmer and the oil rises to the surface. Remove the pan from the flame, cover the pan and let the contents cool for 10 to 12 hours. (In the good old days, Grandma used to let the contents cool for an entire day!)
Carefully pour/transfer the contents into the large pickling jar that you had sterilized and dried earlier. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean, dry muslin cloth and tie it firmly with a cord around the neck of the jar. Place the jar in the sun (ideally outdoors in a place like a terrace, a balcony or a window sill). Remember to bring the jar indoors at night to prevent moisture from setting in. Repeat this process for around four to five days.
Your traditional Eggplant Pickle is now ready for friends and family to relish and admire – and there’s more than enough to go around.