Basal tal-pickles leave us divided as a country. Some people really love them, while others hate them with a passion. But if you really want to keep the Maltese tradition alive, you need to learn to make some for yourself.
There are millions of ways to enjoy your pickled onions; some of them involve crying, and others involve eating them with ħobż biż-żejt. There seems to be no collective agreement when it comes to basal tal-pickles, but we can all agree on one thing — making these baby flavour pockets fills our heart with joy and wonder.
First off, you need to gather about some ingredients in order to materialise this miracle. We have no idea how many onions you are planning to eat, but we’ll go for a safe amount to keep your mouth entertained for quite a while.
- A large jar where you can stuff the shallots
- 300g Beautiful shallots
- 200ml Malt vinegar
- 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 Dried bayleaves
- 2 Chili peppers halved
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 Cloves garlic peeled
- 1 Rosemary sprig
- Olive oil
You need to start out by making the brine, and for this you need a saucepan.
Put the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, bayleaves, rosemary, sugar, salt and peppers in it and bring to a boil.
Ħawwdu naqra kultant, turn the heat down and let simmer for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, you can peel and clean up the shallots — peel off the first two layers and chop off the top and bottom. Place them in the clean jar and pour the hot-ish brine over them.
Close the jar and shake it up a bit and top with olive oil (this will keep the air out).
Add a piece of baking paper between the lid and the onions to keep the metal lid from corroding. Place in direct sunshine for around a week or two, and after that place them in a cool, dark place and forget all about them for at least two months.
If stored properly, these juicy babies can hold up for two years after being made.
Now you can force everyone who visits your house to taste your basal tal-pickles!