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By Citizen Reporter


Recipe of the day: A traditional Indian kumquat pickle recipe for Heritage Day

Pickles are the perfect addition to any dish, great for building on the flavour profile.

South Africans will be celebrating Heritage Day on Saturday – a celebration of our country’s rich and diverse heritage.

Marked as a public holiday in South Africa, citizens come together to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions as each of these make South Africa the rainbow nation that it is.

To celebrate her rich Indian heritage, TV and radio personality Kriya Gangiah shared her delicious kumquat pickle recipe.

Indian culture has deep-etched roots in both South African history and culture, and Kriya says not only are pickles the perfect addition to any dish, it’s something that really reminds her of her heritage growing up.

ALSO SEE: Sunday pre-Heritage Day feast: Boerewors tortillas

How to make Kriya’s kumquat pickle recipe at home:


Soaking ingredients

  • 1.5 litre lukewarm water
  • 15 ml bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda)

Pickle achar mix

  • 1.25kg kumquats
  • 25 ml salt
  • 5ml turmeric powder
  • 60ml chili powder
  • 30ml cumin seeds
  • 500ml sugar
  • 500ml vinegar
  • 125ml corn flour
  • 125ml water

Tempering mix

  • 375ml sunflower oil
  • 30ml mustard seeds
  • 8 green chilis slit open
  • 10 cloves garlic half sliced
  • 2 bunches curry leaves



Place the kumquats in a medium size bowl. Cover with 1.25 litres lukewarm water and add the bicarbonate soda and mix through until dissolved. Leave the fruit to soak for 20 minutes, rinse under running water and drain. This should remove any dirt, mould spores and other residue. 

How to prepare the kumquats

Remove the green stem and slice each kumquat in half. Place all the cut kumquats into a bowl and sprinkle over the salt, turmeric, chili powder and cumin seeds. Toss the fruits in the bowl to ensure the spices are distributed evenly and allow to sit while you prepare the other items.

Mix the corn flour and half a cup of water together ensuring there are no lumps. In a large pot, bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil then add the corn flour mixture, whisking continuously to ensure it doesn’t clump. After 2-3 minutes, when the vinegar mixture has thickened and the corn flour is cooked, add the kumquats and cook for a further 2 minutes on low heat to allow the spices and vinegar mix to infuse before removing the pot from the heat.

Tempering the spices

Heat the oil in a clean pot over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the mustard seeds, chilis, garlic and curry leaves then reduce the heat to medium. The mustard seeds will pop and the chili, garlic and curry leaves may sputter so take care when tempering the spices. This process should take no more than 2-3 minutes. Make sure you remove the pot from the heat before the garlic turns brown or the spices burn.

Add the hot oil mixture to the kumquat and vinegar/corn flour mixture and mix through with a big spoon until it forms a thick coating. Allow the kumquat pickle achar to cool before decanting into jars.

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