Story Of Indian Pickle
We bet most of you have seen ceramic jars stacked up in a dingy room for months in your daadi’s house. Are Indian meals truly complete without the lip-smacking rich achaar by the side? Pickles dates back to legendary cultural history. Pickling, as a process, came about 4000 years ago when seasonal vegetables were pickled so people could consume them in non-seasonal periods of time. This special condiment is called by many names - Achaar, uppinkaayi, oorgaayi, uppiliṭṭat but sought after by all Indians. It suffices to say we love aachar and we are sure you do too.
Pickle in India is more than just a side dish - it’s the reflection of the depths of Indian culinary tradition, a sense of belonging, it’s the nostalgia of tiptoeing around dried mangoes on a summer afternoon in grandma’s terrace, it’s a holy ritual that binds the women of the family together. It requires the right ingredients and a lot of patience to master this art that has been passed down from our ancestors. There are more than 50 varieties of pickles, but let’s look at varied pickles from corners of the nation.
1. Kamal Kakdi Ka Aachaar from Jammu Kashmir
If it’s anybody in India who knows how to make a dish royal, it’s Jammu Kashmiri. Sindhi, Punjabi and Kashmiri cuisines use this savoury delight extensively made out of lotus flower stem. They mainly use it for vegetables flitters and pickles. It is made by tossing the stems with chilli powder, fennel seeds, turmeric powder, red chillies, coriander seeds, peppercorns, nigella seeds, salt and oil.
- The high amount of dietary fibre boosts digestion
- The sodium present in the stem helps in regulating blood pressure
- They have a vitamin B complex that helps to reduce stress
- The vitamin B and C elements keep your skin and hair glowing
2. Punjabi Mixed Pickle Recipe
Different vegetables are drenched in wild species and sauteed with tangy and spicy condiments. This flavoursome mixed pickle makes the ghee filled aloo parathas so much tastier, it just lifts the meal into a heavenly delight. Every Dhaba on the streets of Punjab serves paratha and curd with mixed pickle. It is usually made of cauliflower, peas, carrots, raw mango and ginger.
- Contains choline that is essential to memory
- Rich source of antioxidants to protect you from free radicals
- Contains calcium and vitamin k that is needed for good bone health
- The added turmeric is good for boosting immunity
3. Hari Mirchi Ka Achar From Rajasthan
The sweet and sour magic of this Rajasthani style green chilli pickle is sure to tickle your taste buds. You can store this pickle in the refrigerator to gratify your sudden spicy cravings. It adds bursting flavours to any plain old boring meal. It is prepared by slitting the chilli length-wise and frying them with ginger, garlic, lemon juice, fenugreek and mango powder.
- Green chilli is a rich source of vitamin C
- The pickle has components to fight off inflammation
- Protects the cell against harmful molecules
- The hot spice releases serotonin, which helps to ease stress
4. Goan Mango Miskut
Goa has the best of mangoes. The whole stretch from ghats to the Arabian sea gifts us with over 100 varieties of mangoes. Goan Miskut pickle with rice and Goan fish curry marks the vibrant Goan culture and their cuisine influenced by the consonance of all religions. Raw mangoes are stuffed with masalas and stirred in airtight jars for a minimum of 6 months.
- It is loaded with vitamin A and Vitamin E
- Help to maintain hormonal balance
- The sodium chloride content cures constipation, bloating, and indigestion
- It’s packed with good gut bacteria
5. Maavadu From Tamil Nadu
Yet another pickle with the goodness of mangoes, you just can’t go wrong with mango pickle - they are destined to be finger-licking good. Once you have had a bite of Thayir Sadam with this tender mango pickle, you will not go about a meal without it. Tender, barely an inch long raw mangoes are coated with castrol oil and dipped in a paste made out of red chillies, rock salt, mustard, red chilli powder and asafoetida.
- Excellent source of potassium, calcium and iron
- Sodium chloride content prevents dehydration
- Detoxifies the liver
- High in niacin, which lowers your cholesterol levels
6. Appe Midi From Karnataka
There are rummage sales organised that are similar to farmer’s market called Appe midi fares in the state, giving an opportunity for people to buy mangoes that are specifically grown for pickling. These wild mangoes are particularly savoured along the Malnad regions and grown only on the riverside of Uttar Kannada districts. Steaming hot rice with appe midi is a typical dish in every household.
- Recovers tastebuds after sickness
- Superfood for digestion problems
- Helps to reduce hypotension symptoms
- Packed with vitamins and minerals
7. Topa Kuler Aachar From West Bengal
Every summer, Bengali families bring out their pots and berries to make these juicy dollops of heaven. Sweet and savoury berry pickle is an age-old tradition, followed by our Bengali friends. Kul is a seasonal fruit that is drenched in five local species, every house in Bengal will be filled with the aroma of these pickles in the month of March and April.
- Improves blood circulation
- Helps for skin health
- Improves sleep pattern
- Good for the bones
8. Bhara Mirchi Aachar from Bihar
Can you imagine the taste of stuffed red chillies with garam stuffed parathas? The infectious taste of these succulent pieces of devil spice is sure to stay imprinted in your memory. Red chillies are infused with spices and masalas, then roasted with fennel and mustard oil.
- They possess anti-inflammatory properties
- Helps to clear nasal congestion
- Fights of disease-causing pathogens
- Improves heart health
9. Bhoot Jolokia Achar from Assam
Here comes the waterworks! Made from one of the hottest chillies in the world, this flaming hot pickle will test your spice quotient. The Guinness book of world records has crowned this chilli as one of the hottest chillies in the world. Bamboo shoot dipped in kokum and turmeric powder is jarred and after a week, the ghost spice is added.
- Speeds up metabolism
- Brilliant relief from cold
- Ability to dissolve blood clots
- Good for mental wellness
10. Mesu Pickle From Sikkim
The hills of Darjeeling and Sikkim state have a long tradition of using bamboo shoots as a base for pickles and curries. Step into the house of any house in Sikkim. You can see mesu pickle with rice as a very common dish. Long pieces of bamboo are tossed with chilli powder, garlic and salt and marinated with mustard oil. One bite will make you fall in love.
- High source of protein
- An ideal snack for diabetes
- Helps to stimulate uterine contractions during normal delivery
- Cardiac care package
If you are up for a challenge, you can try the recipes of these at home. If this does not make you realise how vast and diverse our food cultures are then we don’t know what will. It’s fascinating how something as simple as a pickle is made into 50 plus varieties in India.