I first made this Indian pickle for my food club when I hosted one of our monthly tasting events. This event was an exotic fruit tasting and it was so much fun. With the pickle I also made some simple roasted kumquats that I sliced beforehand. They tasted like sour patch candies.
We also drank Meyer lemon infused vodka, ate pavlova drizzled with blood orange curd, gobbled up warm gooseberry crumble and popped lychees stuffed with mango ice cream as well as a plethora of freshly prepared exotic fruits such as ugli fruit, star fruit and tangelos. We even had a fresh-frozen durian. I liked it but I might have been the only one.
At the party I think only one person had experienced kumquats before that night. But that’s what it’s all about right??…..introducing people to new experiences, new foods and new friends? By the end K. loved the roasted kumquats and M. actually asked me for the Indian pickle recipe......which was note-worthy. Because M. has never done that before, is a great home cook and has his own food blog filled with incredible ideas.
Anyways. So what is a kumquat? Well Wikipedia says that kumquats are a slow growing shrub that are from the Chinese-Pan-Asia area and are usually a little larger than an olive. Mine weren't in the best of condition. Some were greenish on the ends, others were sun scalded. But I didn't care. I got them for $1.75 a container and you only need 1 cup so I had enough to make a double batch.......or infuse some vodka (No, I don't think I have an infusion problem....ok maybe I do.)
Kulsum Kunwa from Journey Kitchen has a wonderful kumquat pickle recipe. I didn't think I needed to change a thing. I didn't use jaggery even though I did had some.
Jaggery is a “cone” of firm unrefined sugar that is brownish and can be found in the Meijer produce section near the pomegranates and pods of tamarind. I wanted to use my jaggery for other things but you could and I am sure it would work great.
Back to the recipe… it’s easy and spicy but not too spicy. But be warned! The heat can sneak up on you like your annoying brother when you were young.
2 cups water
1 cup kumquats, halved (try to get as many seeds as possible)
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 cup jaggery or sugar
1 tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp salt
You cook the kumquats and water for about 15 minutes. Then add sugar, salt and chili powder and let it cook for another 15 -20 minutes. At the end add the vinegar and enjoy!
It's amazing how the color changes from a light yellow tint to a golden cauldron of burnt orange deliciousness.
So how did it turn from these cute little orbs to the finished product?
Well, of course I had to jar it up into a pretty jar and then label it for the food swap on Feb. 8th. Here’s the results. What do ya think??
I'm concerned that I might eat all the remaining pickle that is supposed to be for the swappers to sample. OK back to the finished product. I dressed it up with a label and a string that is glued together with what looks like a wax button. Except its not. It's the top of the drug bottles (think antibiotics) that snap off. I love the color and have been saving them for an unknown project. I tried it and I think they look great.
So what do you think?