Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pudina Thokku / Mint Pickle

This is the season of fresh veggies and herbs here. Wherever you go you can find vendors selling mint and cilantro – 3 or 4 bunch for Rs. 10. I just can’t resist these two aromatic herbs. I include pudina often in meal since it is more than a garnish adding a zing to any dish you make. Needless to say, it has lots of health benefits – relief from indigestion, helps reduce stress, gives you a glowing skin, helps reduce menstrual cramps. Some research studies indicate that mint shows anti-cancer properties. It is rich in carotenes and vitamin C and a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper  and  potassium. So why not include mint in our everyday food and be in mint condition!

I tried making pudina thokku  – it is kind of a pickle that you can store for a longer time and can use when  it is not the season.  It goes very well with stuffed parathas, yogurt rice as a side dish or it is just simply  great when mixed with plain rice with a dollop of sesame oil and eaten with fried papads or vadams. I love this tasty one and had to wait till I finished making this one to dig in.  Whenever I make any pickle, I use only Idhayam brand sesame oil (available all over India and in the US, you can find in any Indian stores) for its superior quality and aroma.


Pudina  - 3 bunch
Dried red chillies – 20
Tamarind – small lemon sized ball
Salt -1/3 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame Oil – 2 tsp
Urad dhall – 2 tsp
Hing – ¼ tsp


Sesame Oil – ¼ cup
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Dried red chilli – 2
Hing – 1 pinch


Take out the pudina leaves from the stem (I had 5 cups), wash thoroughly, drain the excess water (I used my salad spinner). Later spread the leaves in a single layer on a cloth towel or paper towel till it is completely dry (without any water drops), may be 3 - 4 hrs. (after drying the amount of leaves was only 3 cups). Make sure the leaves are dry before proceeding with the pickle as moisture does not help with shelf life. If the leaves have moisture, in a couple of days the whole pickle will be full of fungus.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a kadai. Add red chillies, mustard seeds, urad dhal and hing. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the tamarind pieces and fry for a minute and cool. 

Blend this mixture in blender till it is coarse with salt. 

Then slowly add a handful of pudina leaves at a time and blend. Repeat the process till all the leaves are completely ground with the spices. Entire house will be filled with the aroma of the spices and pudina. 

You can store this as such or further do another step for extra shelf life. Heat the pan, add 1/4 cup sesame oil, season with 2 red chillies, mustard and hing. Then add the ground mixture and cook for 3-5 min. till completely mixed and a nice aroma fills all around. Store in a airtight container, refrigerate and can be kept for up to six months (if it is there!).

Curd rice with Pudina thokku

Notes: Mine was a little spicy. If you want, may be reduce 2 chillies when you grind them all together.

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