This Saturday, South Africa celebrates Heritage Day – a celebration of our country’s rich and diverse heritage. On this day, citizens come together and are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions as each of these makes South Africa the rainbow nation that it is.
For TV and radio personality Kriya Gangiah, celebrating her Indian heritage is something that is so important to her. Indian culture has deep-etched roots in both South African history and culture and the star takes every opportunity to celebrate that.
In doing so, Kriya has shared her delicious kumquat pickle recipe as she celebrates everything it means to be Indian South African. “Growing up, my mum always used to make pickles using recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. I have now started to carry on the tradition, even though I still have to make a phone call or two to her during the process,” Kriya shares. “I feel like pickles are the perfect addition to any dish and help build on the flavour profile and it’s something that really reminds me of my heritage growing up.”
Here’s how you can make Kriya’s kumquat recipe at home:
1.5 litre lukewarm water
15 ml bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda)
Pickle achar mix
1.25 kg kumquats
25 ml salt
5 ml turmeric powder
60 ml chili powder
30 ml cumin seeds
500 ml sugar
500 ml vinegar
125 ml corn flour
125 ml water
375 ml sunflower oil
30 ml mustard seeds
8 green chilis slit open
10 cloves garlic half sliced
2 bunches curry leaves
Place the kumquats in a medium size bowl. Cover with 1.25 litres lukewarm water and add the bicarbonate soda and mix through until dissolved. Leave the fruit to soak for 20 minutes, rinse under running water and drain. This should remove any dirt, mould spores and other residue.
How to prepare the kumquats
Remove the green stem and slice each kumquat in half. Place all the cut kumquats into a bowl and sprinkle over the salt, turmeric, chili powder and cumin seeds. Toss the fruits in the bowl to ensure the spices are distributed evenly and allow to sit while you prepare the other items.
Mix the corn flour and half a cup of water together ensuring there are no lumps. In a large pot, bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil then add the corn flour mixture, whisking continuously to ensure it doesn’t clump. After 2-3 minutes, when the vinegar mixture has thickened and the corn flour is cooked, add the kumquats and cook for a further 2 minutes on low heat to allow the spices and vinegar mix to infuse before removing the pot from the heat.
Tempering the spices
Heat the oil in a clean pot over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the mustard seeds, chilis, garlic and curry leaves then reduce the heat to medium. The mustard seeds will pop and the chili, garlic and curry leaves may sputter so take care when tempering the spices. This process should take no more than 2-3 minutes. Make sure you remove the pot from the heat before the garlic turns brown or the spices burn.
Add the hot oil mixture to the kumquat and vinegar/corn flour mixture and mix through with a big spoon until it forms a thick coating. Allow the kumquat pickle achar to cool before decanting into jars.