Interview with the Master Pickle Maker-Deepanjali Borthakur
Every household has a secret Pickle recipe, which is passed down the generations. But some people turn this art into their passion. We decided to meet up with such a Master Pickle Maker-Deepanjali Borthakur. She shares a few secrets and a lot of experience.
Excerpts from the interview.
BV: When did you start taking an interest in pickle making?
Deepanjali: Although I had grown up watching my mother and grandmother make a variety of pickles, I was more interested in savouring it rather than making it. But after my marriage, I found out that my husband was a foodie. Gradually, I found myself trying many recipes.
BV: Who inspires you to create these flavorful recipes?
Deepanjali: Since both my husband and the kids enjoyed what I made, it inspired me to try out different varieties.
BV: Share an anecdote from your first experience in pickle making.
Deepanjali: Well I learned a very important lesson from my very first experience. I was too impatient to follow the steps diligently. I was making a sweet Mango Preserve. I couldn’t wait for the Mango pieces to soften fully in the sun. As a result, the whole jar got spoiled.
BV: What changes have you witnessed over the years in terms of the process and ingredients?
Deepanjali: Nowadays, not many people want to go through the tedious process. They would much rather buy a jar from the market, which can never be the same as homemade ones. Also, we usually used Mustard Oil while making pickles but nowadays different oils such as Olive Oil are used.
BV: Which one is your personal favourite?
Deepanjali: I personally love all kinds of pickles. Mango, Lemon and Brinjal being my favourite. The Brinjal one is especially loved by my family and friends.
BV: Do you still find the time to make pickles?
Deepanjali: Yes. Although it took a backseat when my kids were in school. But since now I have a lot of free time on my hands, I love experimenting with recipes from different regions.
BV: Do you think the art of preserving food is dying with the newer generation?
Deepanjali: Our lives have become very fast-paced and people are low on patience these days. However, there are many who are trying to revive many lost recipes which use indigenous ingredients of Assam like Outenga(Elephant Apple), Omora(Hog Plum), Kothal(Jackfruit) etc. Also, shows like Pickle Nation by Kunal Kapoor are bringing out unique recipes from around the country.
BV: Please share a recipe for our readers.
Deepanjali: Here’s the recipe for my Brinjal Pickle. It is very easy to make and I hope your readers like it.
250 gms Brinjal(long and thin variety)
2 Nos Onion(Grated)
3 inch Ginger(Grated)
3 Green Chillies(slit length wise)
1 tsp Fenugreek(methi) powder1tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
3 tbsp Sugar
8-10 Curry Leaves
1 tsp Mustard Powder
3 tbsp Vinegar
1 tbsp Tamarind paste
Salt to taste
Take the eggplants and wash them thoroughly. Slit them in 4 portions and then cut each portion again into 1-inch portions.
Soak the pieces in salted water for half an hour. After that, pat the pieces dry with a clean towel.
In a wok, heat mustard oil. Deep fry the eggplant pieces. Take them out.
In the same oil, add the onion and fry till the moisture is gone.
Now add Methi Powder, Turmeric, Salt, Red Chilli Powder and Green Chillies. Fry the mixture till well done.
Now add the Curry Leaves and Tamarind Paste.
Add the Vinegar and Sugar.
Lastly, add the fried eggplants set aside. Switch off the gas after a boil.
This is an instant pickle recipe. It stays good for a week without being refrigerated. Enjoy!