Green chilli pickle: Of chillies and bookworms, lessons in humility

“Are you sure, paapa, that your mother asked you to get this?” the vegetable woman at the corner store asks me. I draw myself up to my full height of 4 feet nothing – as  haughtily as an eight-year old can manage: “Of course. You think I don’t know what my mom asked for?!”
I pack the stuff and stalk off home only to return some twenty minutes later with my tail tucked securely between my legs and asking in a barely audible voice: ” My mother said she didn’t want one kilo of  green chillies. She actually wanted a kilo of onions – so please can I exchange this?”
Having had my head in some Enid Blyton cloud, I hadn’t quite heard what my mother wanted and… bought the wrong stuff. Now if only I’d had the sense to mistake it for a kilo tomatoes or potatoes – of which we got through prodigious quantities, i could have wriggled out of a most embarrassing situation, but I HAD to choose green chilies instead! Considering how much I hated “khaaram” or spicy food when i was a kid, you’d have thought I’d know that it had to be something else but you’d have underestimated the cloudiness of a bookworm’s fuzzy brain!
End result: Gales of laughter from the other customers in the shop – thankfully no one from my school was around! The vegetable vendor, happily for me, happened to be mom’s patient and a very kindhearted soul in the bargain, so she hid her amusement till i left the shop – salvaging the dignity of an 8-year old is VERY important! I had  tried to wriggle out of the exchange scheme: “Please, mom, can’t Lakshmamma (our faithful old retainer who’s saved me from many a contretemps!) go instead of me?” But no, my mother was a firm believer in clearing up after one’s own messes so off I went!
I still can’t handle the spiciness that any Telugu is supposed to be able to handle but yes, i do make green chilli pickles!
Green chilli pickle
(and don’t feed it to an eight-year old bookworm!)
Green chillies – 20- 25 – cut into 1″ long pieces
Lemons – 2 large – cut into eight pieces each (alternately the juice of 2 large lemons will also do)
Coriander seeds (dhania) – 2.5 tbsp
Aniseed (Saunf) – 1.5 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds (methi) – 1 tsp
Dried mango powder  (amchoor) – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Mustard oil (preferably) – 4 tbsp
Salt – about 1.5 tsp
Powder the spices together – not too smooth. Heat the oil in a pan and switch off. Let it cool for a minute and add the ground spices and mix well. Add the chillies and the lemons or the lemon juice and mix again. Bottle and store in the frig for a couple of days before use. This lasts for at least 2 weeks in the frig if you eat it sparingly. If you don’t go buy a kilo of green chillies for your mother!

3 Replies to “Green chilli pickle: Of chillies and bookworms, lessons in humility”

  1. So far I have been commenting directly to Anu – today I thought that I will publish my comment. This blog is immensely interesting [though it is a lot of tension for Kanch & me on a daily basis]. You have to give it her that in spite of the fact that she has not been well for the last few days, she has put up something in the blog. Also like to mention here that Anu’s fondness for cooking is well supported by the 3 of us being very discerning eaters. P S Venkatesh

  2. Appa – by ‘discerning’ do you mean picky? If so, leave me out of this!!! Archana Venkatesh

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