Its raining pickles in our house these days. The husband is grinning ear to ear as he eats his meals and am a happy person. And like I mentioned before, I feel like I've arrived.
Now, this pickle is a house and a personal favorite, and coming from someone for whom pickle existence in the world doesn't matter at all (Dear Pickles, I was just saying this, you know I love you and how much you mean to me!), this is big. Even as a vegetable-hating kid whose staple meal was curd rice, I never ate any pickle. Pickles have arrived into my life only recently, say 5-10 yrs ago. But Korivi Karam always had a special place in my heart.
May be it was the fiery red color, or the meaning of the word Korivi Karam (which means, extra hot) itself, eating this pickle always made me think I am strong and can handle any amount of chillies in my life, which is what a Telugu is known for. ;-)
Or it could also have been the pure, awesome flavor this pickle has... that of the red chillies, and the other ingredients, which include Methi. Yes, these are the only two major ingredients.
Am sure there must've been widespread celebration when the first methi seeds were discovered... in those days of the world forming and all. I say this with pure joy, the joy that you will discover only if you enjoy a good dose of methi seeds, either in your tempering or roasted in your dishes and pickles, Methi seeds are awesome.
Do I see some disapproving glances from you? A crinkling nose at the thought of the bitter methi seeds? As a kid, even I hated methi, but as an adult, I've known the advantages of this small-wonder and trust me... its uses are many. I could go into a full-blown account of how methi seeds could help you battle diabetes or be a great hair conditioner... I digress, I will now get into the method of preparing this pickle.
The traditional method of preparing this pickle is long, and quite time-consuming, in my opinion. And its made to last for an entire year. I just adapted this method to make this pickle instant. I know the risk of this pickle not lasting for even a month out of the fridge, but am willing to take it, given how much I love this and how I am impatient to mix it into my white rice and eat it.
Also, traditionally, this pickle is made with ripened chillies. I used the red chillies that are abundantly available these days... If you do not get these chillies where you live, you could always ask your local vegetable vendor to get you some ripened chillies, the original ingredient for this recipe.
As with all pickles, take care to ensure that there is not a drop of water anywhere near the preparation area, in the chillies, or on the equipment.
Red Chilli Pickle
Level - Medium
Red chillies - 200 gm
Methi (fenugreek) seeds - 1/4 C
Turmeric - 1 Tbsp
Tamarind , dried - 1/4 C
Salt - 1/4 C
Cooking oil - 2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 Tsp
Hing (Asafoetida) - 2 Tsp
Grind the red chillies, turmeric and tamarind into a thick paste in a mixer-grinder or a mortar pestle. Mix the salt.
Dry roast the methi seeds and grind these to a fine powder. Mix these into the chilli paste.
Prepare the tempering by heating the cooking oil and adding the mustard seeds to this. Take this off the heat once it heats up. Add the hing to this and let this cool.
Mix this oil with the chilli paste and store in a glass container.
You can pair this pickle with white rice, or Idli and Dosa. Always finish this meal with butter-milk or else risk the burning sensation in your stomach :)