This recipe by Oded Schwartz is about the most luxurious thing you can do with a shallot. The flavour improves over time, so ideally leave it for at least a year. Serve with cheese or cold meats, and consider using it for presents at Christmas time.


  • 1 ½kg Shallots
  • 200g Salt
  • Water Enough to cover
  • 4 Cardamom pods
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 3 Strips of lemon zest
  • 2 Small dried bird’s eye chillies
  • 2l White vinegar
  • 1kg Preserving or granulated sugar
  • 15g Whole cloves
  • 15g Caraway seeds
  • 15g Ground chilli


  • STEP 1

    Peel shallots, keeping the root end whole.

  • STEP 2

    Dissolve salt in enough water to cover the shallots, and pour over, weighing them down with a plate. Leave for 24 hours.

  • STEP 3

    Tie lemon zest, cardamom, cinnamon and chillies in a square of muslin.

  • STEP 4

    Put vinegar and sugar in a large saucepan. Add the spice bag and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

  • STEP 5

    Boil for 10 minutes and skim. Add remaining spices.

  • STEP 6

    Drain shallots and add to the boiling syrup.

  • STEP 7

    Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

  • STEP 8

    Take off heat, cool, cover and leave overnight.

  • STEP 9

    Next day, bring slowly to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

  • STEP 10

    Cool and leave overnight as before.

  • STEP 11

    On the third day, bring slowly to the boil again and simmer gently, until shallots turn a clear golden brown.

  • STEP 12

    Bottle in hot, sterilised jars and seal while hot. Store in a cool, dark place.