Friday, 9 August 2013

Sun Dried Tender Cucumber Pickle

Around 2 years back I got a chance to eat sun dried tender cucumber pickle by my grand mom. The best part of it is it is without any preservatives and also oil less. It is so crunchy and they tickled in fact all my taste buds. I was lucky enough to have just a small spoonful of them with a bowl full of boiled red rice and little curd when I was at my mother's place. My better half took the entire bottle all the way to Bangalore where he was staying alone as I was at native with my small angel who had just landed then in our beautiful world. He gave a lame excuse too. Told me that he was going to stay all alone there and would find it difficult daily to cook after coming from office and this pickle would be just enough for him with a bowl of curd rice. Well my mom is always more generous when it comes to son in law, and I feel jealous about that. She prepares his favorite whenever we are at my parent's place. This year when we happened to visit India, Mr. S was insisting me to ask my mom get the pickle ready for him, but I was like let me try here this time as I was sure I'll be getting enough sunlight to dry my salted tender cucumber bits with our return at the right time from India. Few days back I got a cucumber from a supermarket nearby and thought to give a try. Just a medium sized cucumber I used to get a small bowl full of pickle. It was my first try and didn't want to regret if anything went wrong. But I must say it was a super duper hit and Mr. S was so much into praising me telling that it was in fact equally or more better. You can imagine where would I be when he told so. Here I share the recipe which my mom gave and it is perfect I must say.


Ingredients:
Medium sized tender cucumber-1
Salt- 1/2 cup
Dry red chillies-8-10
Turmeric powder-1 tsp.
Mustard seeds-1 tsp.

Recipe:
  1. Clean the cucumber, pat dry and cut into halves.
  2. Remove the seeds in the middle.
  3. Chop the cleaned cucumber fine.
  4. Transfer it to an airtight glass bottle.
  5. To that add salt and shake well.
  6. Cover the lid of the air tight bottle and let the salt get absorbed well.
  7. Then the next day just drain using a dry filter and let the brined pieces of cucumber get dried under Sun.
  8. Do not throw away the drained salt water.
  9. When it is evening or when the sunlight becomes weak just take them back and put them back in the same salt water from which you had drained the pieces in step 7.Again next day filter them back and transfer those pieces onto a plate and dry under Sun. Again transfer into the same water and continue this process for around 6-7 days. I got extreme sunlight so 6-7 days were enough, if you do not get enough take care that you continue this sun drying process for another 2-3 days more.
  10. On the last day, I mean after 7 days of drying almost no water content will be left in the bottle nor in the tender cucumber. Now you need to put them back in salt water. For that boil 1/2 cup water and to that add again 2 tsp. salt. Then allow it to cool and add this cooled salt water to the sun dried cucumber pieces and let them sit overnight in that salt water.
  11. Next is preparing pickle masala or spices for the brined sun dried cucumber. For that add dry red chillies and mustard seeds into a mixer.
  12. Add turmeric powder.
  13. Again filter and keep those pieces. Using the salt water collected grind smoothly dry red chillies, turmeric powder and mustard seeds into fine paste.
  14. Transfer this paste into another bowl and add the cucumber pieces you have drained and kept aside.
  15. Mix well. Allow them to absorb the flavor for another day or two.
  16. Your sun dried crunchy tender cucumber oil less pickles without preservative is ready. Enjoy them with hot rice and ghee, or with a bowl of curd rice. It stays well for long time, say 1-2 years. But well this small bowl will be over in just a matter of few weeks.

Hope the step by step pic helped you all understand the process better.






Note:
  1. Total days involved in the process is around at the max 10 days.
  2. Also you try making them only if it is summer time. Because rains may spoil them.
  3. Always use dry spoons to take pickles out and bottles used to store pickles must be preferably airtight glass bottles or any non reacting airtight bottles.

Enjoy the dish! n don't forget Eat and Eat little MORE.. :)