Sweet Fermented Piccalilli

How to make a simple fermented piccalilli for a flavourful cabbage relish

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.


  • 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


  1. Grate or finely dice all of the vegetables.
  2. Mix vegetables with salt, sugar and spices in a big bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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,