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Chanh Muoi

I’ve caused conniptions in Chinese, Lebanese, Laotian, Greek, Albanian, Mexican and probably several other grandmothers.  It’s time for some Vietnamese ones.

No doubt this recipe is not authentic, and I would love anyone who has a real Vietnamese grandmother to share the authentic version.  But one of the nice things about multicultural Australia is the cross fertilization of ideas, in food as in everything else.

I discovered this by looking at limes falling off the tree and a shelf full of lime pickles and lime cordial, and wondering how limes would go salted and preserved the same way I preserve lemons – which is a recipe of North African or Middle Eastern provenance I think.  Preserved lemons are a kitchen staple for me, finely chopped and added to couscous as a side dish, or to broad beans or tagines or pasta sauce or  fish stew or mushrooms on toast or any number of dishes that need that little salty sweet sour note.  Preserved limes are more limited in cooking – if I have preserved lemons I usually prefer them.

Except for this.

A little bit of salted lime in a glass, topped up with water or ideally soda water.  I like it unsweetened, but you can add a little sugar if you like. After a session of mowing, it’s the best drink.

My limes are just coming into season which is handy, because this one is the last of last year’s jars.

The Recipe

Sterilize your jars (and their lids) by boiling for ten minutes or pressure cooking for five.  This recipe will make about 4 medium jars.

Measure out 250 grams of  salt.

Chop 16 limes into quarters. Put them in a big bowl, sprinkling them as you go with the salt.  Massage in.

Pack the lime pieces into your jars, pressing down to really pack them in

Pour the juice left in the bowl evenly into the jars.  You will be left with some undisolved salt in the bottom of the bowl.  Juice 2 or 3 more limes and try to dissolve the salt in the juice.  Top up the jars so they are quite full and the limes are covered.  Discard any salt that is left.

Wipe the neck of the jar with a clean cloth dipped in boiled water and seal with a sterilized lid.  Store in a cool spot for at least a month before using, better two months.  They will last for years on the shelf, becoming salt candied and jelly-like.  Once a jar is opened it is better kept in the fridge.

To serve, finely slice or just squash a segment of lime and put it in a glass.  Top up with water or soda water and ice and add sugar (or not) to taste.


Hot sauce

My partner is a chili fiend.  Hotter the better.  One of his favourite breakfasts is a poached egg with chilli sauce. He will put chilli on practically anything.

We have chillis in the garden, lots of them, but he spotted a bottle of chilli sauce at a market, labelled “Warning – very, very hot chillies”, so of course he had to take up the challenge.

And of course then I had to take up the challenge of reproducing it.

This is straight hot sauce – just chilies, vinegar and salt. Depending how hot your chillies are, it can be anything from magma to mildly spicy.  Its simplicity is its strength – you can add it to anything without muddying flavours.

The Recipe

It’s hardly worth a recipe.

Halve your chillies and remove some or most of the seeds.  Use gloves, or really really remember not to touch your face for hours afterwards. The seeds make it hotter, but I find that leaving all of them in gives it a bit too much bitterness.

Put them in a blender and cover with vinegar. I just use plain white vinegar, but it won’t matter what kind you use. Blend until it is semi-smooth – you want a little bit of texture in hot sauce.  Add half a teaspoon of salt for each cup of blend.

Pour the mix into a slow cooker, or into a non-reactive pot on a very low heat, and cook for as long as you like till it is thick and reduced.  Don’t use an aluminium or cast iron pot – the vinegar will pick up a metallic taste.  Use pyrex or enamel or stainless steel for anything with a lot of acid.

While the chillies are cooking, sterilize some bottles.  I would have used little, screw top bottles if I had any.  Because it is preserved in vinegar, the sauce doesn’t need hot bathing afterwards so you don’t need pop-in lids, and it will be used as a pour or drip on sauce. Sterilize bottles by boilingfor 15 minutes, or by pressure cooking for 5 minutes.  Or, if you have a microwave you can use that.

When it is the right consistency, taste your sauce and adjust the salt to taste.  Bottle in your sterilized bottles.  If the bottles and lids are sterile, it should last on the shelf for many months.

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red eggplants

I have very few insect pests that really annoy me.  The payoff for a very wildlife friendly garden is that insects have to run a gauntlet of lizards and frogs and wrens and spiders, and not enough make it through to be serious competition.  Except for flea beetles.   These are little black jumping beetles from the Chrysomelidae family.  They eat holes in the leaves, only eggplants and potatoes in my garden, but so prolifically that the leaves look like lace.  On its own, even that probably wouldn’t faze me, but they also spread wilt and blight diseases and nine times out of ten my eggplants succumb to something before bearing a decent crop.

Rock  mulching the plant to attract and provide habitat for lizards helps a bit.  Surrounding seedlings with well developed Thai basil and other strong camouflage plants helps a bit.  I’ve read that planting a catch crop of radishes works but the flea beetles are fast and they jump, so I haven’t figured out how you would catch the beetles once the radishes have attracted them.  I’ve read that yellow sticky traps work, and I can see that, but I worry about catching beneficial insects too.  I’ve read that mulching with coffee grounds works, but I suspect it works by caffeine poisoning the beetles, and that would poison beneficials too so I might try it but carefully.

Meanwhile, red square eggplants don’t resist the beetles any better than any other variety I’ve tried, but they resist the resulting wilt and blight diseases.  So I have red eggplant bushes with colander leaves but they are still bearing a good crop.

Peeled, the red eggplants work in just about any eggplant recipe.  They are a bit more bitter and I tend to pick them green, just as the colour turns for most recipes.  Unpeeled and fully ripe, they work brilliantly in an Indian style eggplant pickle.

The Recipe:

  • Chop 6 cups, or about a kilo (2 pounds) of red eggplant into 1.5 cm cubes.
  • Put it in a colander and massage through about 6 dessertspoons of cooking salt.
  • Let it sit for half an hour in the sink.
  • Put some jars on to sterilize, either  in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes, or by boiling for 15 minutes, or in a slow oven for 20 minutes (but boil the lids separately or the plastic lining melts).  You can also use a dishwasher or a microwave so they say but I don’t have either of them.  You want to put the hot pickle into hot jars so time it so both are ready at once.


  • Finely chop a whole corm of  garlic, and about the same amount of fresh ginger and fresh turmeric.
  • Also finely chop some chilies.  How many depends on how hot you like your pickles and how hot your chilies are.  I used half a cupful of bishops crown chilies, without the seeds, which makes a spicy but not heroic pickle.
  • Rinse, drain and squeeze the eggplants.
  • Heat ¾ cup light olive oil in a pot big enough to take all the eggplants
  • Add 1 teaspoon each of fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds, and a half teaspoon of brown mustard seeds.
  • Cook for about half a minute, then add the garlic, ginger and turmeric.
  • Cook for another half a minute or so, then add the chilies.
  • Cook for minute or so then add the eggplants.
  • Cook for a few minutes, then add a cup of vinegar and a heaped dessertspoon of brown sugar.
  • Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, till the eggplants are soft and translucent and the oil is separating.  You can tell when it is ready because the oil becomes visible. Leave a ladle to cook in the pot so that it is sterile too.
  • Bottle the hot pickle into the hot jars using the ladle, wipe the edge of the jars with a clean paper towel, and put the lids on.  The lids will pop in as it cools.
  • The pickle will last for months in the fridge.  If you want to keep on the shelf, or give away, you can go the extra step of boiling or pressure cooking the sealed jars (boil for 20 minutes, pressure cook for 10 in a pot with a tea towel in the bottom to stop the jars rattling).

eggplant pickle


grape vine

The grapes are hanging thick and heavy in our pergola.  Such a useful plant.  In winter the bare vines let the north western afternoon sun stream onto the verandah, warming the floor and creating a nice spot for proving bread or sitting with a book.  In spring the fresh, delicate leaves make dolmades, wonderful lunch or picnic or party food.  In summer the vines are thick with leaves blocking the afternoon sun and making cool green shade.  And giving us grapes.

I don’t know what variety this vine is – it’s over twenty years old now and my record keeping wasn’t real good then.  I do remember that it has been bearing well since my kids were very little, which means it must have borne well in its early years and still keeps going.  Grape vines can live for over a century.  We prune it every year in autumn, and prune it back heavily every few years.  But otherwise it gets no attention – no watering, no mulch, no fertilising.

The bush turkeys feast on them, and drop lots, and some years the grapes are so heavy I have to let the chooks out to clean up under the pergola or we start to smell like a party house after a three day bender.  We eat lots straight off the vine. I make schiacciata (just sourdough mixed with grapes and rosemary and turned into focaccia), I put grapes in salads, but in a good grape year, there are still more grapes to deal with.

The permaculture motto is “you don’t have a surplus of slugs, you have a deficit of ducks”, so my standard solution to gluts of anything is to look for more eaters.  But grapes don’t travel well, or last long in the corner mailbox in the heat.  So I make grape must, or really sapa or saba or mosto cotto depending on which part of the Mediterranean you listen to.

Grape must is red grapes, skins, seeds and all, cooked, strained and reduced down to a thick syrup. Cooking the skins in with it adds the resveratrol, that may or may not be good for everything from heart health to cancer preventative to anti-aging.  Real balsamic vinegar  is made from it and it is one of those traditional miracle cures for everything, and at the very least it has lots of polyphenols and antioxidants, and, no need for anything else, it is very delicious.

Real balsamic takes years and years and years to ferment and reduce. Expensive fake balsamic vinegar you buy in the supermarket is red wine vinegar with a bit of grape must added to it. Cheap balsamic is just red wine vinegar with syrup and colouring. I don’t have the patience or skill for real balsamic, but making good quality fake balsamic is very easy. In the long days of high summer, we have solar power to waste, so I can leave the slow cooker on all day using free power to cook and reduce the grapes to a thick, dark red syrup that is almost crystalline.   Four litres reduced to this little pot of crimson gold.

grape must

To make it, I fill the slow cooker with grapes and cook for a few hours with the lid off.  Then I use a potato masher to release the juice and keep cooking.  Eventually I want to reduce the must to a thick syrup, but at some point, I need to strain out the skins and seeds.  The longer the skins are in there, the more resveratrol, but also, the more syrupy the must and the harder it is to strain. I leave it as long as I dare, then pour into an open weave cheesecloth lined colander and squeeze the syrupy juice through the cloth, back into the slow cooker to reduce some more.

At this point, the syrup is properly called saba.  It is thick and sweet and it will keep in the fridge for a year easily.  Most of it is doled out by the teaspoon in salad dressings, marinades and in recipes where you might use honey.  Some though is a splurged treat – grape must on sourdough french toast with yoghurt.  Roman decadence.

french toast with grape must and yoghurt



I seem to have dozens of half written posts and  not so great photos banked up, shoved into random folders to get back to after Bentley.  There’s a late pick of turtle beans being slow cooked and turned into a kind of ful medames.  There’s the new induction hotplate so we can fast cook using solar electricity.  There’s the first harvest of red claw from the dam and a fairly spectacular red claw pasta.  There’s the first flush of the citrus glut and kumquat marmalaide.  There’s the new drake named Bentley because he arrived the day of the (provisional) victory.

But I’m going to start with this one because the time for it is right now. Guavas are in glut right now and I keep seeing unharvested trees everywhere. Guava jelly, which can be made as jam to spread on toast (just by using half the quantity of sugar) but is spectacular as a firm jelly to eat with cheese on crackers is the only really good thing I know to do with a glut of guavas, but it’s a really good thing to do with it.  I don’t make a lot of jams or jellies – in general I find  fresh fruit better than the version cooked down with lots of sugar for just about every kind of fruit.  But the flying foxes and birds love our guavas and strawberry guavas so much that even the uneaten fruit risks little bite marks and I don’t fancy sharing saliva with a bat.  And though I love the aroma of guavas I’m not so keen on the texture.   This took me literally minutes to make and was worth depriving the bats.

Guava Jelly

I used a mixture of guavas and strawberry guavas, the big ones roughly chopped and the small ones just left whole. Add a bit of water to start them off, then cook enough to make a soft mash, that you can strain through a chessecloth to get the juice.  I did this stage in a pressure cooker, which meant I only needed to add a little water – about a third of a cup for each cup of guavas – and pressure cook for just a few minutes. If you cook in a pot you will need to add a bit more water and cook for maybe 10 or 15 minutes.

I lined my big colander with cheesecloth and sat it over a pot, poured in the guava mash, let it strain for 5 minutes, then twisted the cheesecloth to make a little bundle and weighed it down with my heavy mortar and pestle to squeeze out all the juice. This is important even if you have so many guavas you can just waste them because the seeds have the pectin in them, so that last squeeze of juice is the one that makes it set.

Put a saucer in the freezer.

Grease a plate with a lip with butter (or two or three if you are making a large batch).

Measure the guava juice back into a pot, and for each cup of juice add a cup of sugar and the juice of quarter of a lemon.  I used raw sugar because that’s what I had, but if you want the clear  jewel like jellies, refined white sugar would be better.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes till it starts to thicken, then test it every couple of minutes by putting a teaspoonful on the cold saucer till it turns to jelly.

Working quickly (or it will set in the pot) pour the jelly out onto the greased plate and tilt to spread it into a thin layer.  It will set in a couple of minutes and you can use a sharp knife to cut it into squares.

If you are not serving straight away, chill the jellies in a single layer before you put them all in a container in the fridge, or they’ll stick together.

With camembert or brie or white castello cheese and crackers, it’s a gourmet feast.


My daughter made this with jaboticabas. She sent me the pic.  “It is so good mum. Same recipe as your guava jelly on witcheskitchen.com.au but with cinnamon and nutmeg and star anise. So simple for such an extravagant treat.”

jaboticaba jelly



mango and tomato chutney

This year’s Hot Mango and Tomato Chutney is in the jars.  I make some version of this every year around this time, when mangoes, tomatoes and chilies are all available in glut proportions. It’s never quite the same.  A jar of home-made chutney on the shelf is one of those kitchen magician pantry items – it allows you to magic a meal out of a fridge that is nearly bare. It transforms a very plain dhall or vegetable slice or lentil patties into a dinner guests worthy meal. I really like pantry items like that. They allow you to use up the last of things in the fridge and save you from “having” to go shopping when you have better things to do.

There’s some basic chutney concepts to follow, but from then on, it’s infinitely variable.

The Base Recipe:

Sterilize some jars by boiling for 20 minutes or pressure cooking for 10.

Place in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil:

4 medium under-ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and diced
6 under-ripe tomatoes, sliced
teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chopped onions
1 cup currants
4 red chillies, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander or culantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups malt vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
salt to taste

Simmer gently for 10 minutes and adjust the salt to taste. Then simmer very gently, stirring, until mangoes are soft and mixture is jam-like. Bottle in the hot sterilized jars.

The recipe is very variable:

You can use just about any sweet fruit in place of the mangoes, (though I do think mangoes make the absolute best chutney).  This time I added a few tamarillos just because I had them, but apples, pears, peaches, plums and apricots also all make good chutney. You can use over or under ripe fruit – under gives you a better tart edge, over gives you a jammier chutney.  I like under better.

You can use just about any vegetable as well as or in place of the tomatoes, but if you use a non-acid vegetable, you should increase the amount of vinegar.  I added half a tromboncino and half a small pumpkin to this one.

You can increase or decrease the amount of chili. This time I left out the cayenne but  doubled the chili for a hot-sweet chutney.

You can use sultanas or any other dried fruit in place of the currants, or leave them out altogether (though I do think the little pops of sweetness add to it).

You can increase or decrease the ginger and garlic and onion (though I do think the essence of a good chutney is that sweet-hot-acid balance, so you need some onion and ginger at least).

You can vary the spices. This time I added a couple of teaspoons of nigella seeds to bring up the peppery taste.

You can vary the herbs .  This time I used lime basil in place of coriander, but I’ve also used Vietnamese mint, Thai basil and mint.

You can decrease the amount of salt.  Salt is not the major preserving agent in chutney, so it is just for the taste really, but it’s all about balance so a bit of salt is good.

But there are bits you can’t change:

The vinegar is important.  Chutney needs to be acid enough to preserve safely (and “safely” means safe from the risk of botulism, so it’s a big safely).  So you need two cups of vinegar if you use tomatoes, more if you use a non-acid vegetable.

The sugar is important. You can decrease it a little bit if your fruit is ripe and has its own sugar and you have included a sweet dried fruit like currants, but the sugar is needed both to help it thicken and set, and to preserve it against mould.  The sugar works with the pectin in the fruit to give chutney that jammy consistency, so if you use a sugar substitute, your chutney might be runny.  It also helps with the preserving – not as vital as the vinegar but useful to extend the shelf life.  You only eat a very small amount of chutney as a condiment, so unless you are really religiously avoiding sugar, add the sugar. If you are avoiding sugar altogether, make just enough to use fresh.

The cooking time is important.  You need to cook it until it is thick and jammy, (both for a good chutney texture but also to preserve it safely) and then bottle it straight away in hot sterilized jars. (Be very careful – hot chutney or jam makes the worst kind of burn).

Home-made chutney is one of those things that is so different to the bought kind that it makes a good gift. It’s a wonderful accompaniment to a whole range of recipes.  These are the ones I’ve linked back to the recipe with over the last couple of years of blogging, but it works with any kind of curry or vegetable patties or slices.



french honey mustard

I harvested several cups of mustard seed this week.  Some will go for microgreens. Some will be stored as seed for curries and stews,  and saag and pickles.  And some I make into mustard as a condiment, for sandwiches and dressings and marinades, either the Seeded Mustard  recipe of a couple of years ago, or this one  (that I seem, these days, to be preferring).

Home making mustard is ridiculously easy, and worth it because mustard – Brassica juncea- is a member of the brassica family, closely related to canola – Brassica napus.  It is prone to all the fairly wide range of pests and diseases of that family, and because it is grown in the same areas and conditions as canola, subject to all the same consequences of overpopulation of any one species –  which means they commercially get a good deal of chemical protection.

Mustard is such a superfood even in the small quantities you would eat as a condiment, with such a wide range of minerals and phytonutrients and antioxidents a that it would be a great pity to undo all that with a bit of residual dimethoate. In my garden it grows wild over winter needing no protection at all, seeds prolifically, is dead easy to harvest, and making mustard takes all of 10 minutes.

The Recipe

This is a hot and spicy, slightly sweet, semi smooth mustard for spreading on bread or using in dressings and marinades. Brown mustard seed is hotter that yellow mustard seed, so if you want a milder mustard, go for a mixture of brown and yellow seed.

The recipe makes one jar like the one in the picture – about a cup full of finished mustard.  The recipe scales up fine. I make a few jars for us and a few to give away.

  • In a glass bowl, soak ½ cup of mustard seeds in ¾ cup of vinegar-alcohol mix for 24 hours.  You can use pretty well any kind of vinegar and any kind of alcohol in just about any ratio.  They all give you something a bit different.  For this batch I used ½ cup of malt vinegar and ¼ cup of rice wine.  But I have also used cider vinegar and white wine vinegar and brown vinegar as the vinegar, and I’ve used home brew beer and white wine and cider as the alcohol. The seeds should soak up pretty well all the liquid.
  • Put a clean jar or jars on to sterilize.  I usually use my pressure cooker, steaming them under pressure for 10 minutes.  But you can also just boil them for 20 minutes.
  • Use a stick blender to blend the soaked seeds with a good heaped dessertspoon of honey and a good pinch of salt.  You won’t get it perfectly smooth, but you should be able to get it semi-smooth. Taste – it will taste very hot and a bit bitter, but you should be able to tell whether it is sweet and/or salty enough for you.
  • Bottle the blended mustard in the jars and put them in the fridge to mature.  Leave for at least a week, better several weeks, for the flavour to mellow and the bitterness to disappear. If you can. I couldn’t resist trying some on a sandwich straight away and though it was a bit raw it was still good.

mustard sandwich

Mustard is a potent antibiotic all in its own right, and mixed with honey and salt and vinegar, it will last just about indefinitely in the fridge.




The glut crop this week was tomatoes.  This time of year we eat a lot of fresh tomatoes, practically every meal, and use fresh tomatoes for cooking.  That usually gets through most of them with some to give away fresh to friends, family, visitors.  I bottle some as passata, and sun dry some when the weather is hot and dry, and oven dry some late in the season when I have the wood stove going so it doesn’t cost fuel.  But fresh is so much better than even home preserved, and I am lucky enough to live in a climate where I can get at least some cherry tomatoes for at least  nine months of the year, from late September right through to late June. And in mid to late winter it’s citrus season, so there are fresh lemons and limes and tangelos that fill a bit of that sweet-tart spot.  Preserves have to really pay their way in my kitchen!

But the wet weather at the moment is causing my tomatoes to split, so I have to use them straight away.  Kasundi is a good way to make bottling tomatoes good enough for gifts and treats, worth the $5 or $6 a jar they would be worth if you paid yourself for the time it takes.  It’s a rich, spicy but not too hot, tomato sauce, great with eggs or baked beans (or eggs and baked beans!), or with dhall or dosa or on bean burgers or kangaroo burgers or a sandwich with cheese.  And all the other major ingredients are in season now too.

The Recipe:

Put some jars and their lids on to sterilize by boiling for 20 minutes or pressure cooking for 10.  The recipe will make 4 medium jars like these, or around 1.7 kg.

Use a food processor, or a mortar and pestle, to blend to a paste:

  • 120 gm ( a cup) of peeled and roughly chopped ginger
  • 30 gm (¼ cup) of peeled and roughly chopped turmeric (or 2 big teaspoons of powder)
  • 1 whole corm of garlic (8-10 cloves) peeled
  • chilies – depending on how hot your chilies are and how hot your taste is.  I like spicy kasundi, so I used about 25 Brishops Crown chilis
  • 3 big teaspoons smoked paprika
  • enough vinegar to make a paste

In a big pot, put a little olive oil and add:

  • 5 big teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 3 big teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 big teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 big teaspoon nigella seeds (Or substitute cracked black pepper)

Cook until the seeds start to pop, then add the ginger-garlic-chili paste.  Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, then add:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves
  • 1½ kg tomatoes (or substitute mangoes and/or tamarillos for up to ½kg of tomatoes). I used my yellow tomatoes (which is why it is more yellow than most Kasundi you will see) with 4 tamarillos and a couple of ripe mangoes.
  • ½ cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons salt

Simmer, stirring occasionally, for around an hour, until it is thick and sauce-like. A good tip is to put a metal soup ladle or enamel cup in the pot so it is sterilized too.  Then you can use it to ladle the kasundi into jars.

Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.  Check that the lids pop in before storing. It will last on the pantry shelf for a long time, longer than you’ll ever hold off from eating it.



Indian green mango pickles

It’s going to be a good mango year.  We are already eating the first of the ripe ones, but we have five trees loaded, mostly still green.  The possums and parrots will get a lot of them, but there will still be more than we can eat.  The neighbours all have mangoes too, so there’s a limit to the number can be given away.

But just having a glut isn’t enough incentive for me to make preserves on its own.  It takes a bit of work, and energy, and salt/vinegar/sugar/oil to make preserves, none of which I really need more of!  This recipe is frugal on the work and energy, but really it’s not for the sake of keeping mangoes I make pickles.  It’s for the sake of a condiment, a little bit of flavour sparkle to go with curries or dhal, or on crackers with cheese. Just a little spoonful of a really good Indian pickle can make a very plain lentils and rice dish seem like a feast.

This is an Indian type, oil based pickle, with a fair amount of spiciness.

The Recipe:

One Day Before Bottling Day:

You need 12 cups of diced green mango, skin on. Choose mangoes that are full size but still hard. Mine at this stage yield a cup per mango.

Layer the diced mango in a large jar or bowl or crock with a scant teaspoon per mango of salt (ie, 12 scant teaspoons, or about 3 tablespoons of salt).

Leave the jar out in the sun for the day.

salted green mango On Bottling Day:

Put some jars and their lids on to boil for 10 minutes or pressure cook for 5 minutes to sterilize them. You can use any kind of jar with a lid that pops as you open it. Nearly any kind of jar with a metal lid from the supermarket these days is this kind. Salt and vinegar and oil do the preserving in pickles, so in the olden days they wouldn’t even have required an airtight seal, but since these jars are so easily available, you might as well make use of them.

Drain the diced mango well, then put it in a big pot with:

  • 2 cups of olive oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons of hot chili powder, or 3 dried hot chilis crushed (more if your chilis are milder).
  • 6 teaspoons of mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of nigella or onion seeds
  • 4 teaspoons of fennel or fenugreek seeds (or half and half of each)
  • 4 teaspoons of grated fresh turmeric, or a couple of heaped teaspoons of powder
  • 4 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger, or a couple of heaped teaspoons of powder
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a good grating of black pepper

Bring up to the boil then simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Ladle the hot pickles into hot jars. (If the jars are not hot, they’ll crack). Make sure there is a centimetre or so of oil covering them, then wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth and screw on the lids.

As the jars cool, you will see and hear the lids pop in, creating a concave top and a seal.

Leave at least a week or so before eating.  They get better with time, and sealed jars last a long time in a cool dry spot. Once a jar is opened, it’s best stored in the fridge.