Wednesday, 16 November 2016


You can't have Christmas without a good old cheese board and you can't have a cheese board without a pickled onion or two. Making your own batch of plump pickled onions is so easy to do and also makes a great gift to hand out to friends and family as part of a homemade Christmas hamper. Take a slow, stress free day to prepare these bad boys, packed full of chili and other spices to really give them a kick. These little globes of pickled goodness are so much more delicious than any version you can buy in a supermarket.

   My pickled onions are famous for their spicy kick which I achieve by adding some pricked bird's eye chilies to the pickling vinegar. If you want a more traditional, more sedate pickled onion then leave out the chilies. Simples!

I find the combination of spices below to be spot on for my pickled onions. If you don't have all of the ingredients in your cupboards and don't want to buy them all separately, feel free to use the ready made packs of pickling spices that you can buy in stores. If you do have odds and sods of spices knocking around then experiment and come up with your own spice blend. Whatever you decide to use just make sure it is 8 tsp's worth of yumminess so that it doesn't just become too overpowering and nasty.

My recipe below uses malt vinegar. I think it tastes and looks more appealing than the transparent pickling vinegar you can buy but you can use that if it's all you can get your hands on. I use two large jars of 1.4l vinegar and this was enough to hold the 2kg of onions. You can scale up or down the recipe to meet your requirements as needed; just make sure those jars are sterilized so that the onions don't go off and all your hard work goes to waste!

Much like my Mango Chutney recipe, Ive used preserving sugar but that is because I have it lying around my kitchen. It is good for using in pickles and preserves but don't worry, you can use any white sugar you like. Granulated, caster, feel free to use what you have in your cupboards or what is most accessible to you.

Have a perfect day of pickling with the recipe below. It does take some overnight work so make sure you have enough time to work your magic:

Chili Pickled Onions

2kg Pickling Onions/Shallots
50g Salt
2 Large Whole Green Bird's Eye Chilies
2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
2 Tsp Coriander Seeds
 1 Tsp All Spice
1 Tsp Whole Cloves
2 Tsp Black Peppercorns
2.8 Litres Malt Vinegar
340g Preserving Sugar
  1. Peel the onions and place them in a large bowl. Pour the salt over the onions and give everything a good mix with your hands so the onions are all well coated with the salt. Cover with a damp tea towel and then leave overnight. 
  2. The next day, prick your chili's a few times with a knife and add them to a large pan with the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, all spice, cloves, black peppercorns, vinegar and sugar. Heat the pan on a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and steam is beginning to rise from the pan. Don't
    let the vinegar boil - that is a big no no!
  3. Whilst the vinegar heats up, rinse the onions and pat them dry. Just as the vinegar is beginning to steam place the onions into your sterilized jars. 
  4. Once the sugar has dissolved and vinegar steaming slightly, pour the vinegar into the jars so all the onions are fully submerged and the spices and chilies are divided equally between the jars. Close the jars and give them a little shake so that the spices begin to trickle though the vinegar and onions.
Leave the onions in the jar for a month to brew and once they are ready to open you will have some really punchy pickled onions. You can then decant the pickled onions into smaller jars, covering them with the vinegar to dish out as gifts to your friends or just tuck into them yourself. Just make sure that you keep them in the fridge once opened so that they don't go off too quickly - they should last for a month once opened if chilled in the fridge. Serve with cheese and crackers on Christmas Day for a right old festive feast or just stick a fork in and nosh away if your a right pickle piggy. Just make sure you have a mint before going under that mistletoe!

No comments:

Post a Comment