Onion pickle – Add that spicy touché to your meal!

This interesting recipe, I watched recently on a tele cookery show, developed in me an urge to prepare it that very day. Pickle making and experimenting, frankly, is not the part of the menu I much care for. The one’s I prepared have been mostly those that I already tasted or probably a recipe from mum’s or granny’s kitchen. But then, ‘Onion pickle’ sounded new to me and out of curiosity to taste this spicy Indian recipe, I surrendered to it. Well the outcome didn’t disappoint me; my only regret was that with onions being such a staple ingredient in Indian cooking, I wonder how they were ignored for pickling!


  • Pearl Onions/Shallots/Sambar Vengayam – about 25 counts
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Jaggery – 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
  • Chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  • A few curry leaves(optional)
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Gingely/Sesame oil – 1/2 cup (You can substitute with any vegetable oil)


  • Peel off the skin from the onions, and chop them to 1 inch pieces. If they are smaller, you can leave them as such without chopping.
  • Mix the tamarind paste with 2 cups of water.
  • Dry roast the fenugreek seeds and a hot pan, make a fine powder and set aside.
  • In the same pan, heat the oil, season with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the onions and fry in high heat for 3-4 mins.
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder and salt and fry for a few mins.
  • Now add the tamarind juice, jaggery and increase the heat until it starts boiling.
  • Lower the heat and cover for about 20 mins. Once the onions are cooked fully, add the fenugreek powder, increase the heat and keep stirring until it becomes a thick paste.
  • Store in a clean and dry air-tight container.
  • This will remain for fresh for a few weeks even when not refrigerated. If keeping for more than 3-4 weeks then refrigerate it.
  • Relish the onion pickle with dosas/idlis/plain steamed white rice/curd rice or rotis.

Preparation Time: 30-35 minutes

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