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 flavour, 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 fermented piccallili?
- This sweet and sour condiment is perfect with Indian food, like pakoras or dosas.
- Serve it as 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.
This recipe was updated from the original version. If you are looking for a savoury, spiced fermented sauerkraut, check out my mixed vegetable and turmeric sauerkraut. It’s practically the same as the original piccalilli recipe.Print
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 chilli (optional)
- 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cup of cultured apple cider vinegar (affiliate link), see notes for other 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 2″ of headroom in each 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 cool-ish 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 flavour. You could also use kombucha tea, water kefir or ginger bug.
- I usually ferment in a fido jar (affiliate link.) The most important thing is to keep the vegetables from being exposed to air, so if you are just using a regular mason jar be sure to have a good fitting weight.
Keywords: vegan, gluten free, sweet, sour, summer, curry, Indian,