Piccalilli is a wonderful preserve – combining mustardy heat, Indian spicing and still-crunchy vegetables. It spruces up a sandwich, adds flavour and colour to a cheeseboard and turns a pie into an occasion.
The trick to retaining a good crunchy texture is to chop the vegetables into relatively large chunks and only cooked briefly. While ideally one leaves newly cooked piccalilli for two or three months for the flavours to develop, there’s nothing wrong with opening a jar straight away if the alternative is a bare sandwich!
For three good sized jars, you will need:
Note – all the vegetable weights are peeled, deseeded and prepared)
100g green beans
100g rock salt
500ml cider vinegar
1 tbsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp mustard powder
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tbsp mustard seeds
150g granulated sugar
To prepare the vegetables peel, deseed and chop into fairly uniform sizes, about a centimetre squared, and put them into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the salt on top, toss well, and leaved in a cool place overnight, covered with a tea towel.
Then transfer the vegetables into the sieve and rinse very well under cold running water for five minutes to get rid of the salt. Pour the vinegar and spices into a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Tip in the rinsed vegetables, and simmer for ten minutes. Piccalilli is a different texture to chutney; so don’t cook the vegetables for too long.
Scoop the vegetables out of the vinegar using the slotted spoon, and transfer them back to the mixing bowl. Leave the vinegar and spices in the saucepan. Pour the sugar into the vinegar and stir until dissolved.
Sieve the cornflour into a small bowl, and pour a couple of tablespoons of the vinegar in. Whisk until you have a smooth paste, then pour it into the simmering pot of vinegar, and whisk through. The mixture will thicken. Pour this over the vegetables, and stir it through.
Spoon your piccalilli into sterilised jars. Leave the jars for one-to-three months for the flavours and enjoy your favourite way.