Fresh water fish like Cherumeen and Pallathi ( Orange chromide) are usually used to make pickle back in my mom's place in Kuttanad , where it is available abundantly year round. And fried Roe(palinjeel) from cherummen used to be a wonderful snack for us in the evening.
I still remember during our summer vacations , the maids would be busy cleaning and marinating the giant fish or the small ones like pallathi and leaving it out in the sun to dry for 1-3 days, sometimes we kids were asked to guard it from crows and hens; and Ammachi making pickle , which is very different from my recipe here today. Thats the best , and i m sure i will have to practice it a million times , to get it right.
In this recipe here , i have used teeny tiny shrimp , like the Konju we get back home , following the basic family recipe for any red colored pickle. I sun dried it nearly for two days and couldn't resist the urge to make it and eat it. Its always a big hit with beer or any other drinks.
Recipe for Kerala Konju / chemmeen Achar ( dry version with optional sun dried method)
Makes - one big bottle ; Serves :- 2 pickle crazy people : else a big group
Total cooking time - 1 or 2 days to dry and 30 minutes to make.
Bowl 1 ( marinate and sun dry)
Shrimp / Chemmeen - 1/2 kg ( fresh or cooked)
Kashmiri red chili powder - 1 tea spoon
Turmeric powder - a large pinch
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
(Kashmiri )Red chili powder - 2 tea spoon ( use as per your heat level)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tea spoon
Vinegar - 2 table spoon
Crushed pepper - 1/4 tea spoon ( optional)
Mustard seeds - 1 tea spoon
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tea spoon or powder - 1/4 tea spoon
Garlic sliced - 8-10 cloves
Ginger sliced - 2 tea spoon
Green chili sliced - 1 or 2
Curry leaves - 2-3 strings
Hing / kaayam - a large pinch
Vinegar - 2 table spoon( optional)
Nalenna /Gingelly oil - 2 or 3 table spoon
Salt to taste
If using fresh shrimp , clean , devein it and wash it thoroughly. I used frozen cooked salad shrimp , so i just thawed it overnight in the fridge .
Marinate it with all other ingredients in Bowl 1 , arrange it on a tray or cookie sheet and leave it open in the sun for a day or two. I keep it from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm for nearly 2 days . Every evening take it inside ,leave it on your counter top , covered or uncovered.
So if you don't wanna wait till then , marinate the shrimp , keep it for some time and the fry it. ( See notes @ the end to see other options)
When your ready to make it , fry the shrimp in oil. You can either deep fry or shallow fry it.But i prefer deep frying for this. Drain on paper towels. Set aside
Grind all the ingredients in Bowl 2 to a fine paste. Sprinkle a table spoon of water if necessary.
Heat some oil from the fried shrimp pan , or you can use nalenna / sesame oil for this step.
Add mustard seeds ,when they splutter add fenugreek seeds. ( if using fenugreek powder use at the end of cooking)
Slide in chopped ginger, garlic,green chiles and curry leaves and fry for 3-4 minutes on medium flame till the raw smell disappears . Add the Bowl 2 - chili paste and mix well. Sprinkle 1/4 cup water and bring to boil.....
Stir in the fried Prawns and combine well , Saute for 3-4 minutes, till it is heated through ( add fenugreek powder if you are using it now ) Give a salt check . Switch off the flame . Let it cool.
When it is in room temperature add hing and 2 more table spoon of vinegar (optional) and mix well.
My mom leave it on the stove top for a day and then transfer it into glass jars.
Pour 2 or 3 table spoons of Nalenna/ Gingelly oil over it and keep outside for a day or two and then keep refrigerated .
- I use the smallest salad shrimp available and if you are using big shrimp , cut it into small pieces.
- To expedite the process you can bake the marinated shrimp , till it is dry or even it is brown and fried and omit the sun drying and frying part.
- I am not so sure about the life span of this pickle , since it wont even last for a week in my nest
- If you are gonna use it up within 2-3 days , you can substitute lemon juice for vinegar.
- This recipe is a dry version and if you want a bit gravy with it add more water and vinegar.
- Always take pickle with clean spoons.
Have a great weekend guys