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Quick Indian Pickles

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto
Yield Makes 24 spears
Time: 20 minutes, plus 40 minutes to cool. These spicy, sour pickles are very low in calories.


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods, split
  • 2 small dried hot red chiles, broken in half
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 piece (1 in.) fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 6 Persian cucumbers, each cut into 4 spears, or 2 English cucumbers, each cut into thirds crosswise and then into 4 spears

Nutrition Information

  • calories 13
  • caloriesfromfat 12 %
  • protein 0.3 g
  • fat 0.2 g
  • satfat 0.0 g
  • carbohydrate 2.7 g
  • fiber 0.3 g
  • sodium 181 mg
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg

How to Make It

  1. Warm oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they pop, about 2 minutes. All at once, add remaining spices except for turmeric and cook, stirring, until spices are very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add turmeric and stir just until sizzling. Carefully add 1/2 cup water, the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

  2. Pack cucumber spears into a deep bowl. Pour pickling liquid over them, weight with a small plate to keep submerged, and let cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Lift pickles out of brine to serve.

  3. Make ahead: Chill, covered, up to 2 days (pickles will get more flavorful).

  4. Note: Nutritional analysis is per spear.