Saturday, 7 January 2012




     1)    Freshly picked mature sour Chinese orange or bush orange – 2½ kg.
     2)    Sugar – 1½ kg.
     3)    Powdered salt – 700 gm.
     4)    Hot red chili powder – 200 gm.
     5)    Pickle powder – 400 gm.
     6)    Ginger – a 2 inch piece
     7)    Hot green chilies – 6 Nos.
     8)    Vinegar – 200 ml.
     9)    Gingelly oil (sesame oil) – 250 ml.
     10)     Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon

To Cook:

          Wash and drain the Chinese oranges. Pierce each orange 2 or 3 times with a fork. Cut each green chili once lengthwise and once across into 4 pieces. Chop the ginger to superfine pieces.

          Set a 10 litre vessel on the stove.  Put in the sugar and pour in 300 ml. of water. Stir on high heat till the sugar dissolves completely. Tip in the salt. Put in the Chinese oranges, the green chilies and the ginger. Boil the syrup for 20 minutes. Now tip in the chili powder, the turmeric powder and the pickle powder. Stir well and boil for another 5 minutes.

          Pour in the gingelly oil and boil it for 10 minutes more on lower heat. Now pour 100 ml. of vinegar. Stir nicely and switch off the heat. Cover with a clean lid and let cool naturally.

          Once it cools down fully (it may take several hours), transfer to a big airtight sun-dried jar or to several smaller jars. Top up with the remaining vinegar. If the jars are smaller, divide the vinegar amongst them. Put on the lid tightly and store in a dark room or larder for at least 10 days.

          The Chinese orange pickle is probably one of my finest recipes of all the pickles I make for my family and friends. Some of them call it ‘the mother of all pickles'. Do make and enjoy!!!

     1)    Chinese orange or bush orange as it sometimes called is a small bushy shrub like tree which produces plenty of small lime sized sour highly flavored oranges with very thin peel which can be squeezed, sweetened and diluted to make orangeade or orange juice. Some people even enjoy drinking its juice with salt and pigeon eye chilies (kandhari mulake in Malayalam). These ultra-sour oranges can also be used to make orange tea like lime tea.

A healthy 4 year old plant in full sunlight produces around 2½ to 3 kilos of fruit every fortnight. The branches are so heavy with fruit that they often brush the ground.

     2)    I was able to perfect this recipe after more than 4 years of continuous experimentation. Now it has become such a success that all our friends and relatives are pestering me to send them the pickle as well as the Chinese orange plants which we grow at our nursery.

     3)    A perfectly prepared Chinese orange pickle can be stored undisturbed in a dark room or cellar easily for over an year.

     4)    It is perhaps better to store the pickle in several smaller jars so that you can open jar after jar without disturbing the rest in accordance with your requirements.

     5)    I have tried using Kumquat in place of Chinese oranges but it does not come anywhere near this fruit either in flavor or in taste.

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