Red Chilli Pickle (Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya)

Gloves and Kerchief
caution ahead

Chillies play an important role in Bharath bhojanam. Their haunting vigour is celebrated in a variety of preparations. Legendary among them is the Red chilli pickle from Andhra Pradesh. Known as Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya in Telugu, it’s ripe chillies raw glory. There is no cooking or simmering of chillies like in hot sauce. Chillies are ground and their potency is enlivened by salt, lemon juice and pungent methi. This stomach scraper’s fiery nature and daredevil attitude has a cult like following in Andhra. I was not a big fan until my thirties. Blame it on mature palate or hard life lessons digested over the years, now I am a blissed-out believer in uragaaya mahatyam. If keen on exploring this chilli extreme, you may reason that chillies are loaded with vitamin C in a chirpy, holier-than-thou healthy way.:)

Because we don’t get Guntur chillies here in Houston, I prepared the uragaaya with Mexican native Serrano Chillies. Ripe Serrano chillies are bright and biting with a delayed flavor fuse. Just the right variety for Andhra’s Pandu mirapa uragaaya.

Ripe Serrano Chillies and Juicy Limes for Red Chilli Pickle

Red Chilli Pickle (Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya) from Andhra

1. Rinse the chillies clean in plenty of water. Drain, and blot dry with a kitchen towel. Spread the chillies on a paper and air-dry for one hour under hot sun.

2. While chillies are drying, in the meantime, prepare the pickle ingredients.
- Heat a skillet. Add methi seeds and on low heat, slowly roast to light brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and when they are cool, take them in a mixer and powder to fine.
- In the same skillet, heat sesame oil on medium heat. When oil is hot, add urad dal and stirring constantly toast to red. Add mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add hing and methi powder. Toast for a minute. Remove the skillet from heat and allow to cool completely.

3. Back to chillies now. Bring them inside. Wear gloves and cover your nose with a handkerchief. Remove the chilli stems. Chop. The smaller the cut, the easier it will be to blend. Place the cut chillies in a clean and dry, stone-grinder or food processor. Add sea salt. Grind to fairly smooth consistency. Do not add water. It will spoil the pickle. Moisture in ripe chillies is enough and mix with a spatula in-between for easy blending.

4. Take the ground chilli in a clean ceramic or glass bowl. Add the hing tadka and pour the lemon juice. Mix well. Keep the bowl on the countertop where air circulates freely, loosely covered for about a day.

5. On the second day, store the chilli uragaaya in a clean jar. Keep an eye on the pickle for a week. Usually enough salt and limejuice will rectify any potential spoilage.

This no-cook, raw style chilli uragaaya stays fresh from six months to a year as long as pickle precautions are taken (no wet spoons, moisture/humidity).

We can serve this pickle immediately but the pickle matures and tastes much better with age. Apply it on idly, dosa, pesarattu, spread on pav-wiches, Mix some to perk up the sauces or simply mix and eat with rice/roti. It’s good to have some chilli pickle company on those cloyingly sweet days.

Red Chilli Pickle (Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya)
Ready to Eat ~ Red Chilli Pickle (Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya)

This pickle is also prepared with tamarind instead of limejuice.
Telugu to ingleesh: Pandu = Ripe, Mirapa = Chilli, Uragaaya = Pickle


  • By notyet100, August 5, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

    wow this looks so hot

  • By Sakuntala, August 5, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

    Hi Indira garu,

    Love your blog, particularly your garden updates. You always come up with surprising recipes. God bless you!


  • By Mona, August 6, 2010 @ 1:33 am

    You have rightly described chillies as the stomach scraper. Yet like many others I am as well addicted to the hot and tart chilli flavor. The pickle looks fantastic.

  • By Priti, August 6, 2010 @ 2:32 am


    Thanks for your wonderful and wuthentic Andhra vantalu.I was wondering if we can add a spoon or half spoon of this uragaaya to gravies for the extra punch.Thank You.

  • By Priya Srinivasan, August 6, 2010 @ 4:32 am

    Pickle looks awesome. Lovely Color!!! A teaspoon of Pickle is always welcome with curd rice, If hubby is not nearby i wud luv to have Pickle mixed with Steamy Hot Rice and some Sesame Oil!!! Slurrp!!! yummy!!! :)

  • By Hari Chandana, August 6, 2010 @ 5:54 am

    Looks fantastic..

  • By Arathi, August 6, 2010 @ 6:52 am

    Yummm! Pickle+ hot white rice + oil … who says there is no heaven ;-)

  • By G.pavani, August 6, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    its looks spicy n yummy ilove it

  • By ruchikacooks, August 6, 2010 @ 1:29 pm this is that red chili pickle! Looks hot :)

  • By Kay, August 6, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

    Tooooooo hot!!! Indira, these Telugu pickles makes my eyes water. I think I’ll go eat my cucumber now.

  • By madhuri, August 6, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    Hi Indira, I got these red chillies from Fiesta Mart 2-3 weeks ago..I followed the same recipe.But I did not use lemon juice.I used tamarind instead.Rest the same procedure.Unfortunately I did not use the gloves….My palms burnt so much for few days! I learnt a lesson now..Next time Use gloves to make this pachadi!!! but the pachadi came out too good.I didnt use water to grind….so the consistency was lil different yet tasty!! Thanks 4 sharing!

  • By Narayan, August 7, 2010 @ 1:23 am

    This is a must try. Thank you Indira. And i like the way the stone grinder has been emphasised. How timely – I wrote a piece on the use of this grinder in my weekly update –

  • By Viswa, August 7, 2010 @ 8:17 am

    Wow, So mouthwatering.. And that too with fresh chillies!!!

  • By Srimathi, August 7, 2010 @ 11:34 am

    My god it looks so amazing. It must be super spicy.

  • By RV, August 8, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

    I am sure I will need a dollop of ghee with it. But it is worth trying this one.

  • By Vandya, August 11, 2010 @ 7:18 am

    Wow i love the color and the recipe.

  • By Nishi, August 15, 2010 @ 3:28 am

    Hi Indira,
    My vegetable vendor always gets these red chillies. I never buy them coz I don’t know how to cook them. Now I know :) Will try the Pickle soon.

  • By Uma, August 15, 2010 @ 9:51 am

    Wow, I love the opening shot of the gloves and bandana. Worth a thousand words. Another wonderful post, Indira! Not sure if you and Vijay are celebrating Indian Independence Day today – if so, have a good one!

  • By Kavita, August 31, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    The pickle sounds dilish!!
    just wondering if you can use habanero peppers instead,
    would it give the same flavour?
    i havent really seen these red serranos here in Miami,
    plenty green ones though.
    would love your feed back
    Love your site!!

  • By Suma, September 7, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

    Indira, I made this pickle last month with ripe serrano chillies. I tooK the precautions and wore the gloves and handkercheif. The pickle preparation was easy and the result tasted out of this world. This has to be the best red chilli pickle I have ever tasted. Thank you for sharing such an authentic andhra recipe.

  • By sudha, October 16, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

    where are your navarathri pictures…eagerly waiting for them…

  • By Andrew, November 4, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    This pickle sounds very good, but are you sure the salt amount is correct? I have pickled/ fermented chilis with 10% salt (by weight) and found it very salty. This looks like almost 1:1 chili/ salt.

  • By sahini, December 23, 2011 @ 9:36 am

    hi indira garu…..we are very eager to prepare this pandu mirapa uragaya….but pls help us by telling that how much tamarind(chintapandu)should use for the above quantity chillies instead of lime juice… thanks.

  • By annupamaa, January 28, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

    do i add raw tamarind paste instead of limejuice or do i boil the tamarind to temove tye raw smell??

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