Piccalilli is a British-style Indian relish. This fermented piccalilli is made with seasonal vegetables for a sweet and spicy condiment. It is perfect with cheese sandwiches or at a BBQ.
When we were staying at Tracebridge, Katie served cream of cauliflower soup which she recommended eating with a forkful of fermented piccalilli. I had never heard of piccalilli. (And I accidentally kept calling it Piccadilly.) However, it was the perfect accompaniment for the rich creamy soup.
What is Piccalilli?
Piccalilli is a British interpretation of an Indian-style pickled relish. I had never tried store-bought piccalilli, and Katie assured me that it was fairly different from her lactic acid and salt-fermented condiment.
Intrigued, I explored other piccalilli recipes, which were much more sweet and vinegary. I particularly liked the River Cottage version of piccalilli. So my fermented piccalilli recipe is a mash-up of these two very British recipes.
Sweet fermented piccalilli
Making a sweet cabbage ferment is unusual. Cabbage quite naturally sours with its own bacterial culture. However, this recipe switches the usual fermentation method by using a yeast-based culture to ferment sugar. The exact sweetness will depend on how long it is left to ferment.
For a more traditional piccalilli flavor, I recommend fermenting for just 3 to 5 days. It’s a perfect recipe for beginners or anyone who doesn’t typically enjoy sauerkraut.
Wondering how to serve piccalilli?
- This sweet and sour condiment is perfect with Indian food, like pakoras or dosa.
- Serve it like a relish on sandwiches or at a barbecue.
- It’s a trendy addition to a charcuterie board.
- Follow Katie’s suggestion and add it as a topping to soups. It’s particularly nice on cream soups or plain lentil soups.
Note: This recipe was updated from the original version. If you are looking for a savory, spiced fermented sauerkraut, check out my mixed vegetable and turmeric sauerkraut. It’s practically the same as the original piccalilli recipe.
Sweet Fermented Piccalilli
Piccalilli is a British-style Indian relish that is sweet, spicy and sour. This fermented piccalilli is made with seasonal vegetables. It is perfect with dosas, in a cheese sandwich or served at a BBQ. See the section above for more serving suggestions.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 quarts 1x
- Category: Pickles
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: British
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 medium head of cabbage
- 3 cups of finely diced seasonal vegetables (see notes for options)
- 1 red onion
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated turmeric root (or turmeric powder)
- 1 Tbsp of diced red chili (optional)
- 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 cup of cultured apple cider vinegar, see notes for other culture options
- Grate or finely dice all of the vegetables.
- Mix vegetables with salt, sugar, and spices in a big bowl with a wooden spoon.
- Pack the vegetables into a 2-quart jar (or several smaller jars), leaving at least 1 inch of headroom in a quart jar or 2 inches in a 2-quart jar. Divide the vinegar between the jars. Use the wooden spoon to pack the vegetables down so they are below the liquid.
- Top the vegetables with a weight to keep them below the liquid. Let them ferment somewhere coolish and dark for 3 to 5 days. A kitchen cupboard is perfect.
- Store the piccalilli in the fridge to stop the fermentation. Taste before serving and add a bit more sugar if you want it to be sweeter.
- This ferment will last for at least a month in the fridge.
- Traditional vegetables to include in a piccalilli are cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, sweet peppers, and fennel.
- This piccalilli can ferment with any sugar-based culture. I recommend raw apple cider vinegar because it adds the right sort of flavor. You could also use strong brewed kombucha, water kefir, or ginger bug.
- I usually ferment in a fido jar because it’s easy. The most important thing is to keep the vegetables from being exposed to air, so if you are using a regular mason jar be sure to use a weight.
Keywords: vegan, gluten free, sweet, sour, summer, curry, Indian,