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Indian Sweet Eggplant Brinjal Pickle

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Sweet Eggplant Pickle

This is an Indian pickle, some would call a chutney, that I made up from several sources and my own tastes. It is based it on my favorite sweet brinjal (eggplant here in the US) pickle available commercially. It has onion and garlic, which are often omitted in some recipes due to dietary restrictions of some religious orders. It also has dates which I added on my own based on another pickle I love. I also used olive oil as mustard oil is not available and I like it's taste in these pickles. Use other oils if you like. This has more spices than the commercial type - and I think it's superior. I avoided black mustard seed, fenugreek, and cumin because almost all other pickles use these and they start to taste the same. One recipe from Andhra Pradesh used neither and I followed it a little. It's wonderful with all sorts of Indian foods - and also used for many other dishes, especially appetizers.

SPICE MIX (Masala)
4 Tbs coriander seeds

3 hot chilies (I used a very hot Habanero type, so use more if you use others)
18 cardamom pods
2 inches cinnamon
24 cloves
1 1/2 Tbs peppercorns

1 cups olive oil
4 inches fresh ginger, minced fine, about 1/2 cup
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion finely chopped
3 lb eggplant, diced, 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 lb chopped dates
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 cups rice vinegar (4.3 percent acidity or more)
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbs salt
2 tsp citric acid

Spice Mix (Masala)

1. Dry roast half the coriander seeds in a pan till they begin to brown slightly and become fragrant - do not burn. Cool.

2. Put roasted and raw coriander seeds and all the other spices in a spice mill and grind till quite fine, or use a mortar and pestle. Put aside.

Main Pickle

1. Heat half the oil and fry ginger till slightly browned, slowly.

2. Add garlic, onion, and half the salt and fry slowly till these begin to brown a bit too.

3. Add eggplant, turmeric, and spice mix (Masala) and combine well. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add rest of ingredients, including rest of the salt and olive oil and heat slowly to a boil.

5. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if too thick - it should be nearly covered with liquid, but not quite - it will thin upon cooking so wait to add the water till heated through.

6. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal according to your local pickling instructions. This recipe will be sufficiently acidic.

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