In the States, people most often think of pickled cucumbers when they hear the word pickles. But in Israel, when we say hamutzim, we refer to all the vegetables that we pickle, including cauliflower, eggplants, carrots, celery, red onions, and beets–Israeli pickles. Pickling is a terrific way to make use of old vegetables. Before they go bad, simply pickle them instead of throwing them out. Until I learned this technique, I had no idea how delicious a pickled cherry tomato could be.–Einat Admony
LC Quick Pickles Note
We coined a new term for these quick Israeli pickles that come together in mere minutes (well, before they sit and mingle for a week or so while you wait impatiently) and can be stashed in the fridge without proper canning. It’s quickles. Get it? Quick. Pickles. Quickles. [Editor's Note: Actually, my husband, E, came up with "quickles." Endearing, eh?]
Israeli Pickles Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 20 M
- Makes about 1 quart
- For the pickled cucumbers
- 2 1/2 cups cold water
- 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon dill seeds
- 6 to 8 Kirby cucumbers, sliced into thin rounds
- For the pickled cauliflower
- 2 1/2 cups cold water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chaat masala or amba spice mix*
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Pinch ground turmeric
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 1 1/2 teaspoons nigella seeds
- 1 garlic clove
- For the pickled red onions
- 4 small red onions, thinly sliced
- 1 small red beet, sliced into paper-thin rounds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Make the pickled cucumbers
- 1. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- 2. Mix the onion, garlic, mustard seeds, turmeric, dill seeds, and cucumbers together in a large bowl. When the vinegar mixture has cooled, pour it over the cucumbers and stir well to combine.
- 3. Transfer the pickles to a 1-quart glass jar, cover, and stash in the back of the fridge for at least 1 week. The pickles will keep, refrigerated, for up to several weeks.
- Make the pickled cauliflower
- 4. Stir together the water, vinegar, sugar, chaat masala or amba, salt, and turmeric in a small pan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- 5. Meanwhile, trim the cauliflower into small florets and place in a 4-pint glass jar. Pour the cooled vinegar mixture into the jar, then toss in the nigella seeds and garlic. Cover and stash in the back of the fridge for at least 1 week. The pickles will keep, refrigerated, for up to several weeks.
- Make the pickled red onions
- 6. Place the onions, beet slices, bay leaf, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a 1-quart glass jar. Whisk together the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and pour over the jumble of red onions and other ingredients. Cover and stash in the back of the fridge for at least 1 week. The pickles will keep, refrigerated, for up to several weeks.
- The original recipe calls for for amba spice mix, which is commonly found at Indian and Middle Eastern spice emporiums or grocery stores. It contains dried mango powder and turmeric, among other ingredients. One of our recipe testers substituted chaat masala for the spice mix to terrific effect. She explains that “chaat” means “to lick,” and that this finger-licking spice blend is quite addictive. She makes her own chaat masala by grinding 1 tablespoon dried mango powder (amchoor or amchur), 2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons black salt, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon dried pomegranate seeds (anardhana), and 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns. Don’t think you have access to those ingredients? Think again. We’ve heard from many of our recipe testers that they’ve never had trouble finding unusual spices in marginally large cities, whether by tracking down ethnic stores or even, in a desperate moment, going to an Indian restaurant and asking if they’d sell you a little of this or that. Hey, can’t hurt to ask, especially if you’re already a regular there.
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Israeli Pickles Recipe © 2013 Einat Admony. Photo © 2013 Quentin Bacon. All rights reserved.