Yes, you heard it right – Sauerkraut Ayurvedic style! Cabbage has been the popular choice for making sauerkraut for many, many years in the West. In the East it’s popularly known as pickles where the food is left to ferment naturally in an acidic medium.
Homemade pickled cucumber (you can use any veggie you like) is far better than the store bought ones. Generally the store bought ones are made to ferment faster by a heating process or by adding vinegar. This process does not generally produce the same effective probiotic and enzymatic value that homemade fermentation offers. And not to mention, most important you get to control the salt and oil which is unhealthily loaded in store bought ones. you know exactly what goes in your pickle and that for me is priceless!
When we ferment veggies (any kind you like) in our own kitchen, we are allowing nature to work it’s magic and not speed up the process! It allows the ubiquitous and beneficial lactobacilli present on the surface of all living things – yes, even on our own skin – to proliferate creating lactic acid which not only pickles and preserves the vegetables, but also promotes good health.
For this recipe, I have used organic yellow Indian cucumbers, which I am fortunate to receive from my good friend’s backyard! These cucumbers are perfect for making pickles as they have a nice tangy-sour-sweet taste all combined in the right proportion! You could use any veggies you like – carrots, cauliflower, zucchini all go well with this recipe.
Ayurveda strongly suggests to eat pickles and fermented foods in strict moderation as condiments. The sour taste in this pickle sparks the agni (digestive fire), enhances appetite, and promotes digestion. It’s helpful to include these healthy condiments during this winter season as the spices used have a warming effect on the body. Beneficial for Vata, but Pitta and Kapha dosha need to exercise caution as pickles eaten in large quantities aggravate Pitta dosha in the stomach and the salty liquid nature of the pickle increases Kapha as well.
Wash the cucumbers in water and pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Cut the cucumbers in bite size pieces after removing all the seeds. In a bowl mix all the spices together –
- 4-6 tsp freshly ground Mustard powder (you can roast mustard seeds for extra flavor)
- 1-2 tsp Fenugreek and Asafoetida powder
- 2-3 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 2-3 tsp unrefined Sesame Oil
- Salt to taste
Did you know mustard seeds are high in Omega 3’s!! One teaspoon of mustard seeds has 87.1mg of Omega 3 and 84.2mg of Omega 6. In an airtight glass container, incorporate this mixture well into the bite sized cucumbers. Make sure all the slices are coated evenly with this spice mixture. Let it sit on your kitchen counter top for 12 hours. After 12 hours, stir this with a clean, dry spoon. Keep it on the counter top for another 24 – 48 hours. Later transfer this pickle into the refrigerator. The flavors get deeper and more enhanced as the days go by…YUM!!
I must admit, this is an acquired taste but your tongue will soon start to like it, as the spices get infused with the lactic acid. This is so good for healthy digestion and the best part is, all the friendly bacteria help you to eliminate thoroughly, first thing in the morning making you feel clean and rejuvenated!!