No-Oil Ginger Garlic Pickle

1 Aug

A pickle that’s healthy, easy to make, and has a quick gestation time? This no-oil ginger garlic pickle says yes to all three. Not for delicate taste buds – this one’s for fans of the zingy and the zesty.

You don’t need much skill to make no-oil ginger garlic pickle. Just care, fresh ingredients, and long hours of pleasant sunlight.


No-oil ginger garlic pickle has a relatively short shelf life: about a week outside the fridge, double that inside a fridge. If the weather is by your side, the pickle might stay longer but don’t go overboard with enthusiasm filling martbaans[1] with it. Put together small batches only, or as much as you’d expect to get consumed in a few days.

You Need:

  • Ginger – 1/3 cup, when julienned
  • Garlic – 1/3 cup of cloves
  • Green chilies – 10
  • Indian lemons – 10*
  • Salt – 3 teaspoons

*I used Indian lemons that are small and thin-skinned. Reduce the number if using bigger sized ones. Take as many as you’d need for enough lemon juice to submerge the other ingredients in.

How To:

Clean and completely dry the ginger, garlic, green chilies and lemons.[2]

Peel and julienne ginger into 1/2-inch long pieces.

Peel garlic cloves. Slice vertically into strips if using large garlic. Else retain whole.

Chop each green chili into 3-4 pieces.

Squeeze the juice out of all the lemons except one. Cut that remaining solo lemon into small cubes.

Mix ginger, garlic, green chili, lemon cubes with lemon juice and salt.

Scoop it all into a clean and dry glass jar with a tightly fitting cap.

During the day, when the sun is out, take the cap off. Place the jar in the sun with a muslin cloth tied over its mouth.


Before sunset – and indeed, before any sign of impending rain – bring the jar indoors. Close its mouth with the tightly fitting cap and store in a cool and dry place.

The pickle is ready to eat after 2-3 days of sun-bathing in moderate sunlight.


Serve a few pieces of no-oil ginger garlic pickle on the side with any Indian meal.


[1] Writing this post reminded me of a word from Bihar that I seldom hear nowadays: boiyyaam, which means martbaan, a large glass or ceramic jar in which pickles are stored.

[2] To give your pickle a longer shelf life, make sure that the ingredients and everything you’re putting them in contact with – utensils, chopping board, knives, your hands – are thoroughly clean and dry.


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