Indian cuisine is known for its diversity. The varying landscapes and weather have resulted in seasonal produce and culinary practices. One such practice has paved the way to a delicacy that is common all across the country - pickles. Preserving seasonal produce has been a huge part of Indian cooking. Each region has developed its own recipes and methods to preserve produce and make pickles.
In the West, pickling fruits and vegetables by anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar is a common practice. However, pickling is much more than that across India. The process and spices added to it enhances the flavour of the ingredients. They are often paired with rice or roti. Pickles are commonly made with mangos, lemons, or garlic. But each region has a unique pickle that checks all the right boxes. If you are not familiar with delectable pickles of other parts of the country, here are 13 pickles from Indian states.
This pickle from the southern end of India is made of baby mangoes. Kadumanga pickle is the most popular one in Kerala. People collect mangoes before they mature in the summer months to make this pickle. The combination of baby mango’s tart taste and the hotness of the mix of spices makes this pickle one of its kind. The Kandumanga achaar is kept in a ceramic pot for months before it is served.
This unique delicacy from Tamil Nadu is made of the roots of Indian sarsaparilla that grows in the Western Ghats. The unique flavour and aroma of the root make this pickle different from all others. In Tamil Nadu, it is considered as an appetizer and blood purifier. Mahali Urugai is a regular accompaniment with rice or curd rice due to its medicinal values. It helps in digestion too. The pickle can be stored for about two years.
This delicacy from the hills is nothing like you have ever tasted. The Sema tribe of Nagaland uses fermented soya beans to made Akhuni pickle. They later add the pickle to their meat dishes to enhance its flavour. The pickle has a strong, sharp taste along with a bitter smoky flavour. Pork served with Akhuni cakes is one of the most popular dishes of Nagaland. The coarse Akhuni paste is used as the base of many delicious dishes in the hills.
Another unique delicacy from the hills - Bhoot Jolokia Achaar is made with the ghost chillies that Assam is famous for. Ghost Chilli aka King Chilli is known for its fiery heat. However, the pickle is less hot as it is laced with bamboo shoots. Bhoot Jolokia is known as the hottest chilli in the world. Many say that even though they experienced something close to death while eating it, the euphoria that follows and deliciousness makes it worthwhile.
Lingri ka achaar is a dish unique to Himachal Pradesh. It is made with the lingri also known as fiddlehead fern. Tender shoots of fiddlehead fern are popular in the cuisine of Himachal Pradesh. What makes it special is that lingri isn't cultivated for culinary purposes. Townsfolk collect them when they shoot up the earth like all other ferns. Fiddleheads have a grassy, spring-like flavour with a hint of nuttiness. It makes lingri ka achaar different from all others.
With so many apple orchards and varieties of apples, it is not possible for folks of Jammu and Kashmir to make a pickle out of one of them. Green apple pickle is a popular dish of the region. This sweet and tart delicacy is usually served with bread. Green apple pickle is extremely easy to make and nutritious.
Brinjal is mostly limited to the main course. But, Goans made a pickle out of this pretty vegetable. This purple goodness is mixed with roasted spices like mustard, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamoms for the pickle. Goan Brinjal pickle is a perfect accompaniment with roti and rice. It has a flavour combination that is a mix of sweet, spicy, and slightly tangy.
Kerala is known for its long coastline and the rich cuisine that utilises the proximity to water. While several preparations of fish, crab, and prawn are popular in the state, prawn pickle aka chemmeen achaar tops the chart. This spicy pickle has a long shelf life. Most people prefer smaller prawns to make pickle because it has more flavour. Goans and Mangloreans have their own recipes for prawns pickle.
Banana flower is a superfood and Assamese folks know that. They are loaded with potassium, calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and vitamin E. They are brimming with antioxidants too. The whole plantain tree is used in Assamese cuisine. But, banana flower pickle tops the list. The pickle can be stored for up to a year.
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Topa Kuler is berry commonly found in West Bengal which earned this pickle a place in almost every household. The tart flavour of the berry is enhanced with the sweetness of jaggery and spices. Berries are infused with jaggery and spices to make the pickle. Topa Kuler achaar goes well with rice and curries.
This pickle from Maharashtra can put up a good fight with Bhoot Jolokia pickle. Kolhapuri Thecha is a mix of fiery Kolhapuri red chillies, peanuts, garlic, and asafoetida. It is known for its spiciness and hot flavour. It looks more like a chutney and can add flavour to any bland dish.
As the name suggests, this Gujarati delicacy is made of chickpeas and dry fenugreek seeds. It is preserved in mustard oil. Sometimes finely chopped raw mangoes are also added to it. It pairs well with paratha, poori, khichdi, and rice. After making, the pickle has to be put away for a week to mature before using.
This one is another exotic delicacy from Jammu and Kashmir. Kamal kakdi aka lotus stem is mixed with mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and onion seeds. This Kashmiri delicacy has a tangy taste. Kamal kakdi ka achaar is rich in iron and protein too.