Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nettoli/ Anchovy/ Smelt/Fish Pickle

Recipe No: 148

Asha, can I make a recipe request?
It's for Fish Pickle. I know the regular recipe, but I'm looking for something similar to what mummy (Valsa) makes. It has a lot of gravy in it, and if I'm not wrong, she grinds garlic, ginger, tomato, and rest of the stuff to get that thick paste.  She and your MIL might have a lot of recipes in common...  Just wondering if yours is something similar?
I've always wanted to ask her, but never happened.

This is a mail that I received a few weeks before from a blog reader which I spied as a relative of my cousin!!! (See I am good at that too!!!) I think this Fish pickle recipe cannot get a better description than what she said. Yes… it is really against all the traditional pickling methods and all those who adore those pickles may raise their eyebrows. But we, including my 7 year old daughter simply adore my Mother In Law's pickle because it has a lot of thick gravy and simply sitting around the dining table licking it after the meal chatting, is something worth cherishing. Well it does have a drawback too…Everyone  will eat it just like other curries...and it will be finished in a jiffy. But I am very good in hiding things around my place. (and so is my husband in finding things that I hide from him!!)

Any way let me come to my recipe; I use the same procedure as that of my Mother in Law . With Anchovies, one may think that it will be full of bones... but believe me you will never hit a bone as it is deep fried well in Oil and I should say it is different and delicious...              
To marinate                           
  • Fish cut into small pieces…1/2 kg (I used Nettoli/ Anchovy. If they are big, cut into small pieces. Any sort of Fish cut into small pieces will work)
  • Salt………………………………....1/2 Teaspoon
  • Red Chilly Powder…………….1/2 Teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder……………...1/2 Teaspoon
To Saute
  • Oil…………………………………..1/2 Cup (Gingelly/ Sesame Oil/ Nallenna is used widely but I used Canola)
  • Whole Garlic………………..…..1/3-1/2 Cup (If too big slice them into two)
  • Onion chopped finely………...1/2 Cup
  • Ginger- Garlic paste…………..2 Tablespoons
  • Chopped Tomato……………….1/3 Cup (Optional)
  • Red Chilly Powder……..……3-4 Tablespoons (According to your taste, I used 4 Tablespoons of Red Chilly Powder with a less heat)
  • Cumin Powder………………....1/2 Teaspoon
  • Fenugreek Powder…………....1/3 Teaspoons (Uluva podi)
  • Vinegar…………………………….1/2 – 2/3 Cup (Adjust according to your taste)
  • Boiled Water………………….…2/3 Cup
Method of Preparation
  1. Marinate the Fish pieces with the ingredients mentioned in the ‘to marinate’ section.
  2. Heat ½ cup of Oil in a pan and fry the Fish pieces till they are crispy. Do it in two batches.
  3. Take the Fish pieces off the Oil and keep them aside till ready to be used.
  4. To the rest of the Oil on medium heat, add the  whole Garlic cloves and fry till slightly browned. Take them aside and keep with the fried Fishes
  5. To the remaining Oil, add the chopped Onion and saute till nicely browned. (Very important…it should be really brown, but take care not to burn)
  6. Add Ginger Garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone.
  7. Mix in Red Chilly Powder, Cumin Powder and Fenugreek Powder and fry till the raw smell is gone.
  8. Add the chopped Tomatoes (if using) and saute till it is really mashed up and Oil starts to separate. (Very important that Oil has to separate.)
  9. Add the fried Fishes, Garlic and the Vinegar, boiled Water and Salt; mix well.
  10. Let it boil slightly. At this stage Oil will start to float on top. Off the heat and transfer it to a dry sterilized bottle.
  11. Once cooled, close it nicely and store in the refrigerator.
  •  If properly made by sauteing everything well (especially Onion), this pickle won’t go bad at room temperature for 2-3 weeks (if the climate is cool). But if the room temperature is high and you have to open and close the Pickle bottle often, then please do store it in the refrigerator.
  • The Pickle becomes thick when it cools down. So if you want more gravy add a bit more of Boiled Water. 
  • Use only boiled water to give as much sterilization as possible.
  • Even though this Pickle can be eaten on the day it is made, it becomes tastier as it sits.

    Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
    serve it to your family with love…


    Jaisy James said...

    looks yummy never tried pickle with kozhuva. sure it will taste good

    Liz said...

    Looks like Santa is here already with my xmas gift!! ;-) Thanks, Asha, it couldn't have been any better!

    ജെസ്സ് said...

    Hello Asha,
    Thank you so much for visiting paachakaraani.

    Unknown said...

    Thank you so much Asha for sharing the recipe for pickle. First in my life time, yesterday I made Nettoli pickle and it came out yummmmmmm...Once again Thanks Asha

    Jampani Pickles said...

    Hi I am new to this blog. One of my friends madhu from New delhi referred me this blog to learn about all non veg recipes. i was really impressed for these many recipes using using non veg. I am very exited to make my first dish on non veg pickles with your blog inspiration. Thanks alot.

    Jampani Pickles said...

    Hi I am new to this blog. One of my friends madhu from New delhi referred me this blog to learn about all non veg recipes. i was really impressed for these many recipes using using non veg. I am very exited to make my first dish on non veg pickles with your blog inspiration. Thanks alot.

    Unknown said...

    Nice to see your post. we are also preparing nonveg pickles. our website is

    Unknown said...

    You can buy home made and handmade andhra style Fish Pickle (Achar) at Sitara Foods Online Store , No Preservatives, Fresh locally sourced.

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