Collection of Indian pickle recipes.
An Indian meal is incomplete with a small piece of pickle. Watching the selection of the right vegetable, spices that go in, carefully making them, and waiting for the pickle to be finally ready after long and slow fermentation is a childhood memory most Indians can relate to.
What is Indian pickle
Pickle is a common condiment served with lunch and dinner in every Indian household. Pickles add tangy, salty, (sometimes) sweet, (sometimes) bitter taste to the meal and it ties the entire meal together. Be it dal, chawal, achaar (dal, rice, and pickle), or paratha achaar (pickle served with stuffed flatbread), it completes the meal beautifully. Indian pickle comes under the category of fermented foods and 'cooking without fire'.
What is it commonly called
Eaten all over India, it is known by various names. Achaar in Hindi, uppinakayi in Kannada, urugai in Tamil, lonche in Marathi, uppilittathu in Malayalam, athanu in Gujarati to name a few. The word pickle itself comes from the Dutch word 'pekel' which means something with a sharp taste. It was originally referred to as salted vinegar that was used to preserve vegetables.
Pickles made in south India are very different from the ones made in north India. The two main varieties of Indian pickles are those preserved in salt and those preserved in oil. Pickles in north India are made with mustard oil whereas south Indian pickles are made with gingelly oil (sesame oil) and the amount of oil used to make the pickle is also less. The most common south Indian pickles are lemon and mango pickles. These traditional pickles are made by a natural fermentation process and take anywhere between three to five weeks to mature. It is believed that pickles aid in the digestion of food. Some pickles are made instantly and do not involve the fermentation process.
Pickle making is an ancient tradition and it is said that making pickles is an art. Over the years, this art of making pickles at home is declining with our busy lifestyle and easy availability in the market. The process of making a pickle may sound difficult, but on the contrary, it is very simple and the most time-consuming part of pickle making is the wait time when nature does its magic.
Few things to remember when making Indian pickles
- Everything used to make the pickle must be clean and dry. This includes the cutting board, the knife to cut the lemon, the mixing spoon, and the jar in which you will make the pickle. It is really important to make sure there is no water anywhere.
- Make sure the spoon you use to mix the pickle is clean and dry.
- The best way to dry the pickling jar once you wash it well is to place it next to a window with direct sunlight. This way, the jar will be completely dry.
- The time it takes for the pickle to mature can vary. It can take anywhere between three to five weeks. Be patient!
- Iodine-free salt works best for pickles. I have used Himalayan pink salt in this recipe. You can also use sea salt.
- Don't cut back on putting salt in the pickle. This salt is needed to remove the water from lemon and for its preservation.
My collection fo Indian pickle recipes
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