Shrimp Pickle

Sending me to the Fish Market in Khadki is wrong on several levels. One, I can window shop at Shehnaz Aunty’s little shop for hours! Two, she knows my tastes. So she throws these big, beautiful (and expensive) fish in my face. Three, I buy them! The last three times I was there, I spent nothing less than a thousand rupees on fish for a dinner of three. Now, THAT, is a LOT of fish. If you were to order this sort of stuff at a good restaurant, you’d end up with a bill of nothing less than 4 or 5 thousand. So then, it *is* wrong to send me to buy fish on Saturday afternoons, right?

This time around I found shrimp. Baby, tiny shrimp that were born and killed to be pickled. And so, a whole kilo of them were purchased. Pretty cheap. And what followed was what I was born to do. Spend four hours on a Saturday cleaning a kilo of shrimp. God works in cruel ways.

You might be appalled when I say that a mountain on uncleaned shrimp led to a mound of cleaned/deveined shrim which, in turn, led to a jar of pickle that will last nothing more than a couple of weeks. Of course, in terms of longevity, it can stay good (when refrigerated) for a few months. But you think it’ll last that long? *muttley laugh*

A kilo of cleaned and deveined shrimp
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds (alternately, you can use rai/rapeseed)
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
12-15 cloves of garlic finely chopped (about 2 tablsepoons, let’s say)
4-5 green chillies, sliced lengthwise
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (or, to taste)
Juice of 2 limes (or about 4 tablespoons)
salt, to taste

1. Heat a tablespoon of oil and add the mustard seeds, hing and fenugreek seeds until the seeds begin to splutter.
2. Add the garlic and the green chillies and toss around for a few seconds until the garlic begins to brown.
3. Add the shrimp, salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder and the lime juice and cook until the shrimp are done.
4. Eat this as is, hot,just like you’d eat a sabzi or well, read on.
5. Let the shrimp mixture cool to room temperature and transfer into a jar/bottle with a lid that will keep it airtight. Personally, I like to store pickles in those age old glass bottles. It just makes the whole process feel right. 😀 But I’m sure regular airtight containers should serve the purpose. Or you could use a jam jar or some such.
6. Heat the remaining oil and pour over the pickle, into the jar. This is for preservation.

I like this stuff. Put some of it on a chapati, roll it up and chomp away.
Or just scoop out spoonfuls of it, from the jar, like you do when you get Nutella cravings.


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