FOOD AND TRAVEL

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Kumquat Pickle

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The cold has finally subsided, giving way to a spring like weather. The blankets and woolens are rolled back into the closet for next season. The windows are kept open all through the day, without the fear of cold air braving into our head. Until all of a sudden the sky turns to a neon orange, visibility goes down to zero and our little apartment is flooded in dust. We sigh, we go to bed promising each other to wake up to watch the sun rise if the country wasn't bathing in dust storm.
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M drags me out of bed, at 5.00 a.m., eyes still misty from the unexplained often hazy dreams of the night. My hair can use help too, they deserve some attention I ponder while brushing my teeth. M knocks on the door ever so lightly, as though not to interrupt the silence of beautiful morning. Hurry up, we will miss the set rise, he mumbles in his excited voice. He is the most efficient alarm system, I forgot while making the half hearted promise at night.

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Sunrise is indeed beautiful. Those precious few minutes when the sun lays its first rays on the earth, asks you to slow down and inhale the beauty of the moment. That moment of inspiration that the warm rays bestows you with will make you think better, write better, say better and be better. We all need that.  Followed by a warm cup of coffee and a couple hours of leisure sitting at the cafe makes us ready for yet another long week.

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What we also need is achaar (or achar) at all times of the year. One that accompanies our meals  for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Achaar is the Hindi word for pickle, a condiment without which Indian meals are often considered incomplete. Made with fruits and vegetables and often stuffed with oil and spices, pickles can range from extremely spicy to sweet ones. Natural preservatives like sugar, salt, oil and vinegar are used to give it long shelf life.

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This particular pickle has no oil instead it depends on the vinegar, sugar and acidity of the fruit to give it long shelf life. Every year we make it with lime or lemon but this time around when kumquats are ample I gave them a spin and it turned into a fabulous sweet, spicy and fruity pickle. 

Sweet and Spicy Kumquat Pickle

Ingredients

2 cups water
1 cup kumquats, halved*
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 cup jaggery or sugar**
1 tbsp red chilly powder
1 tsp salt

Note


* Try to get as many seeds out as possible

* You could use all sugar, all jaggery or a mix of two for sweetness.

Method

In a deep bottom saucepan, cook the water and kumquat for 15 minutes or till the kumquats are softened.

Add jaggery, salt and red chilly powder and let it cook for another 15 -20 minutes till it is thickened and kumquats are soft all the way through. Add in the vinegar.

The sweetness and spicy ratio is a personal preference. After the achaar has cooled make sure to taste it for sweetness, salt and spice. Just add whatever component you want to and reheat it. Cool and store in sterilized jars.
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48 comments

  1. Lovely pictures! I never knew one could make pickles out of Kumquat - Great :)

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  2. A very interesting recipe! This pickle looks and sounds wonderful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Your images are beautiful and make me want to find kumquats to pickle myself. Gorgeous!

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  4. Gorgeous images and nostalgic story -- it's been a while since we caught a sunrise together :)

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  5. Lovely write up Kulsum. Each and every photo is so beautiful... Love the color palette and your styling. Love how your photography style is evolving :)

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  6. This looks gorgeous Kulsum. I have never heard of kumquat pickle. But then again, you have a way of marrying old and new. Hope you enjoyed the sunrise- I wouldn't wake up at 5 am for ANYTHING!!

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  7. I love kumquats and this sounds a delicious pickle - definitely would like to try this! Beautiful photos too.

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  8. Such fantastic photos Kulsum. Seriously Mindblowing!

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  9. I have been following your blog for a while.. you have a lovely blog (I think you already know that :)) but everything captivates me..the recipes, the photographs..lovely!! i have never made pickle before.. not really my cup of tea.. but I am almost tempted to give it a go!!

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  10. I love the early mornings! Beautiful photos and what a great recipe!

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  11. Lovely clicks... delicious..

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  12. you are a genius, my friend, these photos are a work of art. and achar from kumquats- that is genius itself! love, s

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  13. I love kumquats. This sounds so good! And that little metal basket you have them in is adorable.

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  14. I am not a morning person at all. I don't even remember when was the last time I saw sunrise :)The aachar sounds yum and that basket is so cute and also those tea pots!
    Love everything about the post.

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  15. It's been so long since I've really enjoyed a beautiful sunrise...

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  16. Such lovely pictures, and what a delightful recipe! What a shame that it is difficult to find kumquats here in Mumbai!

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  17. Absolutely gorgeous pictures! I adore that time just before sunrise, too. This kumquat pickle looks like the perfect thing to serve with my mum's curry.

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  18. Oh what a beautiful post Kulsum. I could read it over and over again. Love the idea of the pickle. I don't see many of these here but found the store selling plants tho' only for a few weeks. by the time we decided to buy it and try growing one, they were gone. Love the surface in the first photo.. what is it?

    Have been years I have seen the sun rise. However much I love it, the exhaustion leads to me just enjoy the few extra minutes of sleep on weekends. While I do have to to be up before sunrise on the weekdays the hour go by with morning chores and getting everyone out of the house just about when the dawn breaks.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Soma. Life just passes by day after day and we miss those little wonderful things in life - sometimes you really need to push yourself to enjoy pleasure like sunrise. Lucky for me I have my husband to force me into it :-))

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  19. I remember waking up just before sunrise with beautiful sound of the Azan on our recent trip to Dubai, such a beautiful calming experience!
    Love the unique & tasty kumquat achar recipe, I happen to love achar with my every meal too! Gorgeous photography, I need some lessons from you! :) xx

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  20. Lovely photos Kulsum! Very warm :-). We used to have a Kumquat tree in our backyard that had to be taken down, because it was right in the middle of it. I miss it!

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  21. Hey girlie, just dropping to say hi. Love kumquats and they are best in cooked form. Made jams with them before but love your idea of a pickle! I hope all is good!

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  22. omg this looks wonderful! You are so talented!

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  23. HeY this is a Wonderful way of having kumquats for whole day...frm sun rise to sunset !!!!

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  24. Congrats on the Top 9. Love these kumquat pickles, they sound tasty in a swet and spicy sauce. We had kumquats growing all around when I was growing up. Love em. YOur photos are beautiful.

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  25. What a wonderful post! Glad you are enjoying an early morning. Your pictures are phenomenal. I love your twist on a kumquat pickle. We have a small tree and each year I try to do something different with the produce (unless my daughter eats too many). Kumquats are so vibrant and after the buds have turned into kumquats (about August in Australia) I will refer to your kumquat pickle and enjoy your recipe. Thank you for your beautiful photos and recipe :D

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  26. finally! an interesting thing to do with some of the BAGS of kumquats i recently acquired! can't wait to give this a try.....thank you!!

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  27. I wake up almost every morning and wait for the sun to rise while sipping on my morning coffee. I really does affect my day if I don't take this morning hour quietly and slowly. I love your dish. I adore kumquats! I've never eaten them in a spread like this but I know I would be so intrigued to try it. BTW, your new blog header is so soft and pretty!

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  28. These are very beautiful photographs! I look forward to trying this kumquat pickle, it sounds and looks deliciously interesting.

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  29. Stunning shots! What a recipe too. I bet it's scrumptious!

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  30. Such a wonderful post Kulsum! Stunning photos and a lovely recipe. Have never paid much attention to kumquats and they are not readily available here. I would love to make this sometime. The basket in the first photo is beautiful. My grandma had one of these to store her onions and potatoes..

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  31. This looks beautiful Kulsum. My fiance and I were at a gardening centre the other day and I was trying to convince him we needed a kumquat tree, but he disagreed. Maybe I need to show him your post and what I could make with them :D

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  32. I love watching the sunrise. That's one of the few things I miss living here by the woods, by the time we actually see the sun above the trees is almost close to lunch.
    Beautiful photos and a delicious recipe to go with

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  33. Hello Kulsum, i felt hungry after i read your post :) I shout try it! I Definatly saved you on my fav blogs to read !

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  34. Your photographs are so beautiful, so is your food! Never baked, cooked with kumquats but the pickle sounds great.

    By the way I have given a shout out to your blog on mine. Thanks for the lovely food! You can check it out here:
    http://wp.me/p10soU-1IX

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Shumaila! Very kind of you

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  35. so beautiful! Love the idea of cumquat pickles. I miss the fresh fruits, and the kumquat tea we used to get.

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  36. I love the recipe...kumquat pickle. Yum. I can almost get the taste of the tartness along with the sweetness of the jaggery and hot chilli to take it up another notch!

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  37. Yeeeeeeey its working for me now Kulsum. I love kumquat and I wanted to see this post badly. Now I am able to see.. stunning post. Love it will try kumquat this way.. way tooooooo tempting. I cannot say which pictures is good everything is lovely. And by the way the layout and look of your space is super :)

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  38. I am in LOVE with these photographs! Gorgeous recipe!

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  39. Awesome Kulsum! The pickle looks fab and so does the photography! Great going!

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  40. This is so incredibly creative, Kulsum. Your photography is just absolutely stunning!

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  41. great shots right there, really tasty like
    Dark Chocolate Brownies at www.brownieheaven.co.uk

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  42. I am as far from being a canner as one could be, but the pictures are so beautiful it makes me want to try it!
    http://www.fazlani.com/

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  43. hi

    how long can you expect the achaar in an unopen bottle to last in a fridge, freezer or just at room temp in the pantry?

    how much vinegar would you put to make it last that bit longer, and would the extra vinegar make it taste different?

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