The only piccalilli I’ve ever had is Madame Jeannette’s Spicy Piccalilli bought in a Suriname shop in 2001 and which I’ve bought several times more over the years on a regular basis. I’ve never had a traditional piccalilli before till Dunster requested for it several months ago – he said, “You can get it from the supermarkets everywhere.” Well, I had to ask for assistance in the supermarket when I couldn’t find it. What a laugh it was..

OK, the verdict was love at 1st try. Here I am, attempting my 1st homemade Spicy Piccalilli..  🙂

Recipe adapted from Magazine


  • 225g salt
  • ½ cucumber
  • 500g cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 200g carrots, cut into 5mm blocks
  • 150g fine green beans, topped and tailed, cut into 2.5cm lengths
  • 225g banana shallots or big shallots, halved and cut into 3mm cubes
  • 900ml distilled malt vinegar, plus 4 tbsp extra (I used natural clear vinegar; cider or sherry vinegar would be a better choice if malt vinegar’s unavailable)
  • 175g caster sugar (I used sugarcane sugar; add a little more if using natural clear vinegar)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50g coarsely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped



    Serves ±1.7 kg
    Prep time 30 mins +
    overnite soak
    Cook time 40 mins
    Total time ±1 day
total time


  1. In a large jug, stir the salt into 2½ litres cold water until it has dissolved. Pour into 2 large mixing bowls and set aside.
  2. Halve cucumber lengthways, scoop out seeds, halve lengthways again, then cut into 5mm slices.
  3. Put cauliflower, carrot and green beans into one bowl of salted water and shallot and cucumber into the other. Put plates on top to keep  vegetables submerged and leave for 24 hrs.
  4. The following day, drain vegetables and rinse well, keeping them separate as before.
  5. Put vinegar, caster sugar, garlic clove and ginger into a large stainless-steel pan or preserving pan and bring to the boil.
  6. Add cauliflower, carrot and green beans and cook for 6 mins. Quickly remove with a slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl and bring vinegar mixture back to the boil.
  7. Add shallots and cucumber and cook for 2 mins. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to other vegetables in bowl. All vegetables should be just-cooked, with some crunch left in them.
  8. Mix cornflour, English mustard powder, ground turmeric, ground ginger and chilli flakes into a smooth paste with 4 tbsp vinegar.
  9. Add a little hot vinegar mixture to paste to loosen it, then stir it all back into hot vinegar pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 2 mins till smooth and thick.
  10. Stir sauce and the red chilli into vegetables, then spoon into warm, sterilised jars (abt 6), cover with waxed discs and seal with vinegar-proof lids. Leave to cool, then store in a cool dark place. The pickle is ready to eat immediately.

This spicy picallili recipe will keep in a cool, dark place for up to a year and makes a great homemade gift. Serve with Cheddar or a pork pie. Or Boerenkoolstamppot (Curly Kale Potato Mash).. 😛

I would try to mash or blend half the mix next time.. It might be less dry and might be creamier and have more sauce..


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