This powerful, spicy refrigerator pickle is great with rice, lentils, plain yogurt, or any dal.
Yield: Makes 2 pint jars
1 pound carrots, scrubbed and patted dry
1½ tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon mustard seeds, coarsely crushed
1 tablespoon pure kosher salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon asafetida (optional, see Notes)
1/3 cup strained fresh lemon juice
Wash 2 pint jars well, then dry them thoroughly inside and out. Wash and dry the lids. Cut the carrots into ¼- to ½-inch-thick sticks 4 inches long (to fit in pint jars). Pat dry and put in a dry medium-sized bowl. Add the red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, salt, and turmeric; toss to combine. Set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat for 30 seconds, then sprinkle in the asafetida, if using. Add the carrots and spices. Cook, stirring constantly but carefully with a clean, dry spoon, for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.
Using dry tongs, transfer the carrots to the jars, then divide the liquid and spices between the jars. Let cool to room temperature, then put the lids on and refrigerate for 4 days before serving. The pickle will keep for at least 6 weeks; be sure to use only dry utensils to scoop out the pickle as you use it, as it will spoil if any water comes in contact with it.
Asafetida (pronounced "ass-uh-FEH-tih-duh," I think, though even among those in the know this is a subject for debate) is the dried and powdered gum resin of certain varieties of plants in the carrot family. True to its name, it smells positively repulsive (in my opinion), and I have to put the little jar of it in two sealed plastic bags to keep it from contaminating my otherwise sweet-smelling pantry, but used in very small amounts it adds something interesting to lime pickle, and to just about any dal, like the one opposite-an earthiness, perhaps, like garlicky mushrooms.