Kumquat pickle - Kerala style

On a visit to the Oriental grocery around chinese new year, I happened to pick up a rather large container ( the only size available) of Kumquats. These miniature oranges are so cute to look at & sniff, but can be quite challenging when trying to decide what or how to cook with them.
For one thing, this egg shaped citrus is quite reversed in its flavor profile. The peel is sweet & redolent of citrussy orange flavor, but once you peel it, you can barely make out 4 tiny segments bloated with inedible seeds. To top it all, the teeny bit of pulp is extremely lip puckering sour.
And so, these fruits sat on my kitchen counter for about 3 weeks. I kept weeding out the occasional rotten bad eggs from the rest, until i decided to use some of the peel for last weeks recipe. (yes folks, the pannacotta was garnished with candied kumquat peel, not orange)
Cut to my umpteenth sweep of Mrs. Ammini Ramachandrans book 'Grains, Greens & grated coconuts' ( I just have to  read the recipes to take me into a gustational high!). This time, I stopped at the recipe for 'Naranga curry' (p. 178). If Meyer lemons were an acceptable substitute, why not kumquats?
Naranga curry is one of those quick Indian pickles that are whipped up for festive occasions when one does not have the luxury of having time to pickle the citrus fruit. A quick saute in oil softens the fruit and facilitates the absorption of the spice flavors. These do not keep well & have to be used up quickly. ( which is not an issue since they're so delicious!).
Since i really did not want a sweet pickle, I had to peel the rind of, which was labor intensive, but I just juliennned to & added to to a large take out container  filled with confectioners sugar. I'll keep you posted on what results!
Except for the kumquats, the ingredients used are the same as Ms. Ramachandran's list, but in different proportions.

For this pickle you need:

1 cup of peeled kumquats, (seeds & all)
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 tsp asafetida powder
1 tbsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds, toasted brown & powdered.

Heat the oil in a pan & Saute the peeled kumquats till soft.
Using a fork & paring knife, make a slit in the fruits individually & scrape off the seeds from the softened fruit. Discard the seeds.
Avoid using your hands as much as possible & try not to squish the fruit to a pulp. Season with salt & turmeric powder, toss well & set  aside .
In the same oil used for sauteeing the kumquat,  add mustard seeds & allow to sputter. Add the red chilli, fenugreek and asafetida  powders. Add the kumquat, stir to combine well & remove from heat. Allow to cool before transferring into a dry glass container. Ideally the pickle should 'rest' for a day before serving.

(but this tiny batch of mine never saw the light of the next hour, leave alone the next day!)

(Entering this post in the sweet heat chili challenge hosted by Michele & Lyndsey


  1. Mouth watering pickles... Wish I tasted them with curd rice

  2. heh heh, what do you think i did?... the residual oil was polished off with plain rice like avakkai saadham!

  3. Just wrote a comment on the biscotti post since I intend to try them for a potluck here :) But I wanted to come back for this post. I love thokkus, oorgais like no one else. This looks perfect for thair saadam like 'sweethome' has pointed out!

  4. OMG, those look gorgeous. I can almost taste them right now, and I love the way you described those kumquats :-) My mum makes some yummy lime pickles and now I have to try out these as well. Pickles go down very quickly in our house.

    Thanks for entering Sweet Heat. We'd love it if you could add a link back to my announcement to this post, but anytime you want to do that is fine.



  5. http://passionforlife.posterous.com/pickling .Thank you NIv.It tastes awesome....

  6. http://365project.org/sankrishna/365/2012-04-03


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