Thursday, May 9, 2013


It's no secret that I love pickled vegetables! Of all kinds, from all cuisines. I grew up eating a slew of them, nearly always seasonal. Some that have to be left alone for months before eating, some that you can eat right away. When I was a kid, I ate SO much of our traditional athaanu (Gujarati pickled raw mangoes) with every Gujarati meal, that mum had to put a stop to it - no pickles for me for many months. A variety of pickled stuff would always be at the table during meals, but I couldn't eat any of it. It was tough, really, it was. I love pickles that much.

Even now, the only thing I ask mum to bring me from India is homemade athaanu. I seldom eat the athaanu because Indian food doesn't taste the same here in the US so I don't make it unless someone's asked me to make it for them. But I just feel good having athaanu around and knowing mummy's made it.

Pickles are so old-world, delicious, and I love the progressive transformation of young, fresh, bold, sprightly vegetables thrown in together, into a cohesive, mellow, unified entity in a bottle. It's a bit like growing up together with siblings and cousins.

Anyway so on to the ubiquitous Mexican chiles en escabeche (in Spanish escabechar = to pickle/marinate). I was having friends over so I made these a few days before, to give the vegetables time to get into it a bit. For dinner I'd made enguacatadas (like enchiladas but with an avocado sauce rather than chile sauce), black beans, rice, and probably something else that I can't recall. Perhaps dessert. Who knows... but the pickled chiles and vegetables I really enjoyed making. They're super with everything... beans and rice, in soups, with grilled meats, in sandwiches, chopped and mixed with sour cream as a dip, whatever else you can think of.

Chiles en Escabeche: Pickled Fresh Chiles (with Vegetables)
Servings: makes 1/2 quart

- 1/2 lb. carrots, cut into 1/2 in. slices on the bias
- 1/2 lb. white onions, quartered or cut into eighths
- 1/4 lb. or more, fresh jalapeno or Serrano chiles, or both
- 1/4 lb. or more, cucumbers cut into 1/2 slices on the bias
- 1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 3/4 tbsp. dried Mexican oregano (Italian will do)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh marjoram
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Combine the vegetables and spices in a large glass jar.
2. Bring the vinegar and water to a boil, remove from heat and add olive oil, stirring to combine.
3. Pour pickling mixture over the vegetables in the jar, mix well, cover and marinate 4 days before using.
4. After the 4 days, keep pickled vegetables in the refrigerator for longer storage.

1 comment: