This recipe for spicy green chilli pickle is a hit with spice lovers. My friends who love spicy food can’t get enough of this and are always asking for another jar. Each year my chilli plants are overflowing with fruit. I harvest the chillies green to make this pickle in bulk batches. It lasts me the entire year when stored in the fridge.
This recipe for spicy green chilli pickle is inspired by Yamuna Devi’s original recipe. I have tweaked it slightly to make it easier to prepare. I also have used more readily available ingredients.
A little bit about Yamuna Devi: She was an American practitioner of Bhakti Yoga and was well known for her singing and cooking. Yamuna created many recipes as she travelled around India.
To me, Yamuna was a very inspirational person as she was such a dedicated cook of traditional and authentic Indian cuisine. I never knew her personally, but I still cook from her recipe books each week.
Here are the cookbooks of hers I have used and recommend:
- Lord Krishna’s Cuisine – The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
- The Vegetarian Table: India
- Yamuna’s Table: Healthful Vegetarian Cuisine Inspired by the Flavors of India
I have travelled to India and I absolutely love the culture and the country (and the food). It is such an interesting place, and so different from my home country New Zealand. I have hope that we will be able to travel again soon.
What new places have inspired you in your cooking adventures?
Spicy Green Chilli Pickle Recipe
For this recipe, the main ingredient has to be green chillies! You can use whichever type of green chilli you have available. Jalapeño, cayenne, Anaheim or anything else.
My only recommendation is that you use chilli with heat that you can handle. Otherwise you won’t be able to eat the pickle! Another tip is when preparing this you can remove the seeds from the chillies to lessen the spice.
Ingredients for Spicy Green Chilli Pickle
- Green chillies – Seeded or with seeds and thinly sliced into rounds.
- Vegetable oil – I used olive oil for my recent batch, but you can use a cold pressed sunflower oil too. Use a good quality oil and this pickle will taste better for it. The original recipe calls for mustard seed oil but I find this too expensive and difficult to source.
- Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best.
- Spices – Cumin seed, fenugreek seed, garam masala, turmeric and more.
If your chillies are really spicy or you have sensitive skin, I strongly suggest wearing gloves! You can also oil your hand which is touching the chillies. The oil creates a protective barrier from the capsaicin (the spicy compound in chillies). Just be careful with sharp knives and oily hands.
Thinly slice the chillies, removing the seeds if you prefer. I simply break the top stalk off the chilli and then slice. I put the sliced chilli straight into my clean glass jars.
Assemble your spices and dry toast the whole seeds. Using an electric spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the spices to a coarse powder. I add them to the top of the chillies but I don’t mix it in yet.
This is the fun but slightly dangerous part. Heat your oil to just below smoking point. You’ll see the oil shimmer slightly when it is warm enough. Pour the oil on top of the chillies. It will fry the spices and the chillies as you pour it on. Watching the spices sizzle like this is pretty satisfying! Don’t you love cooking?
Storing Your Spicy Green Chilli Pickle
Now all that’s left to do is add the lemon juice and seal the jar with a lid. I give it a really good mix at this point, shaking the jar.
In the original recipe, it calls to keep the jar outside in the sun during the day. This helps ‘cook’ the pickle and improve the flavour. I don’t do this but I will add the option in the recipe notes if you want to.
This spicy green chilli pickle is stored in the fridge as it is not shelf stable. I find that if the oil isn’t covering the chilli slices, it can make this spoil quicker. All you need to do is top off the pickle with a little extra oil as needed.
- You can easily double or triple this recipe if you have a lot of chillies to use up.
- If you want to follow the exact original recipe, substitute the vegetable oil for equal parts food grade mustard seed oil.
- The original recipe says to keep the stem cap on. Then slice jalapeño chillies lengthwise and spread the spice mixture inside. I prefer to keep it simple by removing the stem cap entirely and slicing the chillies into rounds.
- Optional: If you like you can set the sealed jar of chilli pickle outside in the sun every day for 5 days. Bring the jar inside each night and give it a shake 2-3 times per day. After this, the pickle is ready for use.
- I simply finish making the pickle and shake it all up, then keep it in the fridge. I don’t usually take the extra step of ‘cooking’ it in the sun.
Serving the Spicy Green Chilli Pickle
I serve this in a variety of ways.
- With avocado toast for a spicy kick.
- On top of kitchari or congee.
- With my vegetable frittata.
- Mixed through roasted potatoes or grilled vegetables.
- Chopping it up finely and using it as a marinade/sauce before cooking protein or vegetables.
Spicy Green Chilli Pickle
- 1 500ml glass jar with lid
- 1 ¾ cups green chillies, packed around 420ml
- 1 tbsp black mustard seed
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 ½ tbsp sea salt
- 120 ml vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Remove stem cap from chillies. Slice lengthwise to remove seeds (optional). Slice thinly into rounds. Pack into your clean glass jar.
- Combine the black mustard seed, cumin and fenugreek seeds and dry toast until just golden brown. Mill into a coarse powder and add the salt, turmeric and garam masala. Mix well.
- Add the spice powder on top of the chillies. Heat your oil to just before smoking point, it should be well warm to fry in but not smoking. Carefully pour the oil on top of the chillies and spices.
- Add the lemon juice. Seal the jar with a lid and shake to combine. Store in the fridge and this will keep without spoiling for months.