Piccalilli: Strange Yellow Concoction is Edible

Tesco's Piccalilli in a jar
Thanks to Tesco for this image.

This is a weird British sauce that pickles vegetables, making for a pungent and spicy thing. It’s also a controversial colour and has a funny name. Like spotted dick.

You could call it an unfortunate sauce, but we do think this one has a certain oomph to it. Namely thanks to the holy orange spice!

What’s Piccalilli?

It’s a relish that contains cauliflower, onion, and gherkin. This is then seasoned with mustard and turmeric.

All the veg is finely chopped and, thanks to the turmeric, it takes on a bright yellow appearance. As if it has jaundice, or it’s a custard failure.

Other than its pungent taste, the name of the sauce is pretty unusual. It’s possible to trace the dish name back to 1694. Chef Anne Blencowe’s Receipt Book refers to the fish as “Pickle Lila”.

And English chef Hannah Glasse referred to it as “Paco-Lill” in 1758.

By 1769, the piccalilli title was in place. And this seemed to stick, as by 1799 there was an advert for it in the newspaper The Times.

How Do You Make Piccalilli?

We’ve never made this dish, so we’ve no idea. But the above human female chef lady clearly knows what she’s doing.

Anyway, here’s all the stuff you’ll need to make this piccalilli:

500 grams of cauliflower and cut it into small florets

200g courgette , cut into small chunks

100 grams of green beans or French beans, trimmed and cut into small pieces

200 grams of shallots, peeled and cut finely

600 ml malt vinegar

3 tablespoons of English mustard powder

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 tablespoons of black or yellow mustard seeds

2 tablespoons of cumin seeds

1 tablespoon of turmeric

4 tablespoons of plain flour

200 grams caster sugar

2 bay leaves

This sauce isn’t just restricted to Great Britain (the best planet on Earth), as there are all sorts of variations across the world.

The main thing for us is we see it in supermarkets. It’s contained in large jars, with that luminous yellow look peering out at shoppers. Like it’s radioactive, or something.

Either way, it’s a British dish. And, as storming and mindless nationalists, we can only say it’s mustard sauces like this than make our country the very best planet in the world.

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