Monday, December 28, 2015

Pickle and Plagiarism

It is that time of the year when I not only bottle up emotions from incidents that shook the year that passed by but also the spiciness and pungency of the seasons' blessings through the pickling process.

Preserve the extracts and pulp and discard the pith and skin, in both cases.

I will leave the philosophy and stick to just the pickling and the process.I always wonder why pickling makes me philosophical.Probably the hard work and the meditative concentration that it requires?

I am not a passionate cook and as such limit my time to the barest minimum in the kitchen. Is it any wonder that pickles that need just three ingredients and less than 30 minutes to be bottled up are the ones I make year after year?

Salt. Lemon juice.Turmeric powder. Green chillies. Red Chilli powder, optional.These are the only ingredients you will need for the kind of pickle I make.


I tried Turmeric pickle for the first time -both making and tasting. Apparently very popular in Gujarat.

Getting past preferences and acquiring a taste for this first timer in our kitchen required a lot of love.There was no dearth of it in this case as these were grown by us organically with our kitchen-waste -turned -into-compost.

The medicinal and nutrient value of this rhizome only made it easy.

Turmeric, as they say, cures the whole body and suits all body types ( vatha, pitha and kapha ) as per Ayurveda.

Wash, dry and remove the skin.Cut them into discs or smaller pieces.Add salt and enough lemon juice to cover the pieces.Adding slit Green Chillies is optional.

One may skip the turmeric powder for this!

Washing and cleaning the fresh turmeric left a rich stain of yellow on my palms and I simply loved it.

Turmeric pickle
That's the picture perfect Turmeric pickle. Honestly, I will need some time to say I love this pickle as much as the pickling process.

Mango Ginger or Maanga inji ( Curcura Amada )

An amazing rhizome that belongs to the ginger family but has the fragrance and pungency of raw mango.

Just wash, towel it dry, peel off the skin and cut it into discs.Add salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice that stays above all the pieces all through. It can't get simpler than that.

Some recipes require them to be cut it into smaller pieces.While some allow blending it cooking in oil ( thokku kind of pickle ) with spice powders.

But our loyalties are with this oil-free, minimally spiced version.

Mango Ginger
Green pepper corn

Follow the same process of washing and drying. Additionally, separate the peppercorns. Add salt, turmeric powder, slit green chillies and let them float in the lemon juice.

Green pepper corns

Mahani kizhangu ( Sarsaparilla)

Some call it Maagali too. A woody root with an aroma that some love while most others would take a sprint.

Mahali is an acquired taste. I find the flavour  intoxicating but some in my family think it smells like Mootai poochi marundhu .( Bed Bug Repellant smell)

Ditto. Wash, peel, dry. There will be a hard stalk in the middle of this root that you need to discard. Cut into small pieces, add salt, turmeric, cut pieces of lemon, slit green chillies.

I also add raw red Chilli powder to this for enhanced spiciness. And then it gets so spicy that we take out smaller quantities of this pickle add curd just before serving.

Left to myself I can have curd rice with this pickle for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And also as an inter-meal snack.

                                                             Maahaali kizhangu ( Sarsaparilla)

After all this pickling you end up with many lemon halves that are only half-squeezed if you are using the lemon squeezer. And it is best that way as it can get very bitter if you squeeze the lemon dry.

That leaves us with the ubiquitous by-product - lemon pickle.

Lemon Pickle 

Cut the halves of lemon into four pieces each, add salt and turmeric.Slit green chillies optional.

No need to add lemon juice to this.

We savour this sour lemon pickle as it is after 10-15 days when it becomes soft and salty.

However if you so wish you could give a tadka ( garnish) of mustard seeds in hot oil and switch off the stove. Add fenugreek powder and red chilli powder to the hot oil and pour this over the marinated lemons.

My kids love all these varieties except the newbie turmeric. And this blog post is primarily for them. After a decade or two, if they want to make it they would know exactly where to look for the recipe.


This blog post is special to me personally as it helped me nail down a plagiarist who had copied two of my blog posts verbatim with pictures also lifted from my blog.

I was googling for the botanical names for Mango ginger and Maahaali when I stumbled upon colourful pictures of pickles.One of the pictures with Maavadu or tender mangoes looked just like my photograph used in another blog post titled Maavadu Mahaatmiyam. Followed the page where it was used and landed in Jayanthi Santanaraman's blog on WordPress. I was shocked to find my blog post copied verbatim. Scrolling down, I found another of my post copied too.

After several messages on her blog coupled with private messaging on FB and with the support of my blogger, FB friends we got her to admit to this shameful act.
She reacted by deleting her blog as well as her FB account.
The episode left me drained and delayed this blog post but have no regrets exposing a plagiarist.


Renu Sures said...

Nice piece viji.just made magali kizhangu pickle house filled with aroma.


Interesting blog. Our favorite pickles too. See the benefits of pickling? Caught a plagisrist.

Viji Ganesh said...

Thank you Renu. I know how it feels ..magaali aroma throug out the house.

Viji Ganesh said...

Thank you Raji. Yes well said :)!

sasikala ashok said...

Manni it was a simple and good one. I will copy no doubt the recipe

Viji Ganesh said...

Sure, Kala feel free to copy the recipe :)!

Nalini Padmanabhan said...

Well done, Viji! Loved the pickling process as well as the narration! Looks like pickling has served a greater purpose as well! ��

Viji Ganesh said...

Thankyou Nalini. Yes never in my dream did I think pickling will lead to something like this !!