Yes Indians love our food spicy. But, wait! Its not just the heat we crave. We also love the satisfaction of biting into something that has the perfect balance of heat, flavor and texture. Isn't that why we patiently mix together the perfect ratio of daal, rice and yogurt or dosa, sambar and chutney before taking a bite? And isn't that why we dip buttery naan into the rich gravy of butter chicken and then take a bite of crisp raw onion or green chili? Having a mouth full of spicy, tangy, salty, buttery, crunchy and even a bit of sweet all at once is just. pure. bliss.
How can one get that delectably perfect bite every time? Of course you start with the big players; that steaming plate of rice or naan, spicy chicken curry, crunchy fried fish, buttery daals and deliciously seasoned vegetables but then what? Look closer. See those ever present pickles, relishes and chutneys that dot the dinner table? These are the secrets to creating that perfect bite! They give each morsel that extra uumppff! that make our meals that much tastier.
Along with my own mom and mother-in-law, every aunty and friend's mom that I know has a special pickle, relish or chutney recipe that they are known for. Meals become special just by their very presence! My mom makes several different pickles and chutneys some with coconut or green mangoes and others with onions and chilies and some even with dried fish!
I will be sharing one of my favorites, her recipe for Spicy Pickled Red Onions with you today. This simple condiment has a wonderful brightness from fresh lemon juice and vinegar. The acidity blends together the deep flavors of the red onions with the spicy green chilies and fresh herbs wonderfully. It is the perfect compliment to not only indian dishes but I happen to know it works really well in chicken tacos too ;) You can leave out the chilies if you prefer a milder relish. Also, it will stay for 1-2 weeks in the fridge only getting better with time.
Spicy Pickled Red Onions
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon (1/2 juiced and other 1/2 thinly sliced)
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black
2-3 green chilies sliced (more or less according to your taste)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1. Combine all ingredients in a mason jar or any lidded container and shake really well
2. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Can be served immediately or refrigerated for 24 hours+ prior to serving
3. Seriously, thats it. Enjoy!