Ozuké played host yesterday to an Indian ladies group. Chani, a member of the group runs an amazing in home Montessori preschool – Radiance Montessori, my three year old Desmond goes to her school. She has been following my pickle factory progress for the last year and asked me to host a fermentation class for her ladies group. Her group, the Ekta Ladies are a broad background of working moms from different age, ethnic backgrounds (Sri Lankan, Indian etc.) and occupational backgrounds. One thing in common, they were a spicy, chatty group with plenty of jolly laughter, jokes and jibes. Most of my classes I teach a basic sauerkraut. Kraut is really the gateway ferment, simple with a high success rate. I went in to this class knowing that a handful of my students came from culinary backgrounds, personal chefs and restaurant owners. And from my own experience I find that most people from a South Asian background have very sound understanding and sophisticated application in the world of spices. Usually I have some seasonal approach to my basic kraut however this class I showed up with just green cabbage and a pantry full of spices and I put the blending of the spices up to the group. They came up with a brown mustard seed, serrano chile and fenugreek kraut. We also put together my first ever lime pickle, inspired by a recipe from my brand new and much coveted _Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition_ by Bill Mollison which has a most impressive collection of South Asian and South East Asian fermentation techniques and recipes as well as a bevy of sound science and fascinating traditional approaches. We topped our class off with a mango juice water kefir and all our ladies went home with three new “friends” to tend on their countertops for the next few weeks. Please sign up for our Newsletter to find out more about classes planned for this season.
Ekta Ladies Kraut Green Cabbage
3 heads Sea Salt to taste Ground Fenugreek
1 tablespoon Serrano Chiles
about 5 diced Brown Mustard Seed
Instructions: cut cabbage into thin slices, mix in large container with salt and spices. Then pound cabbage for about 5 minutes until it starts to release lots of juice. Pack in to jar and push down under its own liquid. Keep in a bright, warm spot in your kitchen. Open every two days to release gas and to push down under its own liquid again. It should be ready in a week or two, wait til it is good and sour and smells delicious. Then refrigerate and enjoy.
My First Lime Pickle adapted from Bill Mollison’s Punjab Stuffed Lime Pickle
2 heads of ginger diced small
5-10 serrano or thai bird chiles diced
12x 8 oz ball jars
1oz chile powder 1oz turmeric
2.5oz fenugreek powder 2.5oz salt
Lots of cold pressed sesame oil (I used far more than the recipe)
Instructions: Put limes whole into just boiled water and let sit for 20 minutes. You will see the limes change color from bright green to olive. Mix the spices, ginger, chiles and salt. Dry the limes and cut each lime into 8 pieces. (chunks). Toss limes, ginger, chile in spices and pack gently into jars. Cover with sesame oil so that when you press the spiced limes down the oil comes up over the top. Stand in the sun for 10 days. Mollison says this will keep for about 6 months under oil. I personally would refrigerate this and it will keep for longer and keep the sesame oil fresh from oxidation. (note to self – i might change this recipe next round and experiment with less oil… Mollison’s recipe only calls for 2.5 oz of oil total… I used a LOT more. However the spiced oil is already DELICIOUS only one day later I ate it for lunch drizzled over leftover samosas, but traditionally there is a lot less oil in this pickle, I went for more oil because I felt this would give us a more reliable result keeping our pickle from oxidizing or molding from exposure to air).