Iranians will pickle anything. No really. Many’s the time we have gone out with the mother-in-law (to the butcher, the baker or whatever) only to come back with a bag of randomly foraged things, which before you can say ‘haji-maji-ya-faraji’ (that’s abracadabra in Farsi) she has immersed in vinegar or boiled into jam. Usually she does it so quickly that we aren’t around to witness her trade pickling secrets. Not this time: we caught her at it. And so here is her very hush-hush recipe for torshi-e-bademjun, made with a couple of knock-me-down cheap aubergines she bought in Peckham market.
- 2 medium aubergines, calices removed
- 300ml cheap nasty vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Persian hogwort (golpar)
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2-3 red chillies
- around 250ml apple vinegar
OK, so you semi-peel the aubergines – that is to say you remove any tough looking or minky bits of skin – and quarter them. Place then in a pan with the cheapo vinegar, bring them to the boil, and then set to simmer for around ten minutes. Drain them and pack them into sterilised jar/s (this will provide enough to fill around one 750ml jar). Add golpar, coriander, salt, garlic and chillies and allow to cool. Once the mixture is cold, top up with apple vinegar and seal. Store somewhere dark and cool (but not in the fridge). This pickle is good after a week, perfect after two. Noshe-jan, as we say in Peckham (‘enjoy’).