When we were staying at Tracebridge, Katie served cream of cauliflower soup which she recommended eating with a forkful of piccalilli. I had never heard of piccalilli (and I accidentally kept calling it Piccadilly); however, it was the perfect accompaniment for the rich creamy flavour of her cauliflower soup.
Traditionally piccalilli is an English interpretation of an Indian-style pickle. And this recipe is based on Katie’s fermented version of an English version of piccalilli. Having never tried store-bought piccalilli, Katie assured me that it is fairly different from her lactic acid and salt flavoured condiment.
Intrigued, I explored other piccalilli recipes, which are much more sweet and vinegary. I particularly like the River Cottage version of piccalilli. So my fermented piccalilli recipe is a mash up of these two very British recipes. The result is a sweet and fermented relish that is delicious with pakoras, cheese or at a barbecue.
- 1 large cabbage, shredded
- 3 cups of finely diced seasonal vegetables (see notes)
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 teaspoons of yellow mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2-3 tsp salt (non-iodized)
- 2 tbsp freshly grated turmeric root (or turmeric powder)
- 1 tbsp of diced red chili (optional)
- Water (chlorine free)
- ¼ cup of sugar or honey (after fermentation -optional)
- Grate or dice all vegetables.
- Mix vegetables with salt and spices (leave out water and sugar/honey) in a big bowl with a wooden spoon. If you typically use your hands to mix leave out the turmeric and chili until you've finished using your hands, then mix in.
- Pack mixture into jars leaving at least 2" of head room. Use a spoon to really pound all the veg into the jar.Pack it down so that liquid will be pressed out of the vegetables. It's important to fully pack the veg into the jar, because air bubbles increase the risk of contamination. Depending on the vegetables you use, you may need to add a little water to ensure that the vegetables are below the brine. Only add what you need.
- Leave the jar to ferment somewhere cool (around 18 C if possible) and out of the sun.
- Allow to ferment for 3 to 7 days.
- Store it in the fridge to stop the fermentation.
- If you want a sweet piccalilli, mix in a sugar or honey before serving.
-Traditional vegetables to include in a piccalilli are: cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, sweet peppers, fennel. Use what ever is growing fresh in your garden (or grocery store).
-Grate the turmeric on a glass plate and wear gloves if you can! It is very good at dyeing everything yellow.
-I usually use a fido. You could also use a mason jar with an airlock or pickle-nipple lid. Or if you want to go low tech, just use a mason jar with a weight to keep the vegetables below the brine. See fermentation basics for more info.