Spices Add the Tangy Taste to Indian Pickles and Chutneys

No Indian meal is complete without pickles and chutneys being a part of it. This pungent accompaniment is fruit or vegetable based and can be sweet or salty. Pickles and chutneys are made from a range of fruits and vegetables like mangoes, plums, lime, chillies, mint, tomatoes etc.

A number of spices are added to give a tangy taste to these pickles and chutneys. Chutneys are a ‘must have’ with a number of Indian cuisine like, dosa with sambhar and coconut chutney in South India, vadapav and chutney in West India. These accompaniments make an ordinary meal ‘great’. These are simple and easy to make, and all the magic is added by the spices.

A usual Indian chutney is made by grinding together raw fruits like mango, apple etc. with green chilli, green coriander leaves, mint leaves and spices along with lemon juice, vinegar or tamarind. This ground paste stays in the fridge for few days only.

These chutneys are not only appetizing but also nutritious due to the fresh ingredients and the spices used.

The spicy tangy pickles are made from raw fruits and vegetables. These have a base of vinegar, lime juice or cooking oil which act as preservatives and the pickles can last for a long time.

The Indian pickles have an array of flavours and variety, like sweet pickles, sour or salty pickles.

Raw mango pickle is the most popular one and its recipe differs from region to region. Raw mango pieces are first marinated with salt and turmeric powder for a day. Then all spices are mixed together.

Amla pickle is a very popular spicy pickle. Amla is very rich in vitamin C, and A, calcium and phosphorus. It helps in digestion of food, improves liver and reduces ulcers.

Garlic is a good resource of manganese. Garlic pods are peeled and mixed with mustard, salt and jiggery to make pickle.

Many vegetables and fruits like green and red chillies, carrots, lemon, cauliflower etc. are used to make yummy delicious pickles.

A number of spices and some nuts are used to add that spicy tangy flavor and taste to pickles and chutneys. Some commonly used spices are fenugreek, coriander, cumin, asafetida, cloves etc. These impart spicy, pungent, sour, sweet-smelling taste to the food. Their healing properties are valuable to our health.

Health benefits of Pickles

Pickles are rich in antioxidants. Raw vegetables and fruits are used to make chutneys and pickles so their antioxidants are preserved.

Salt pickles are naturally fermented, these help in the growth of probiotic bacteria which in turn help in the digestion of food.

Chutneys made from fresh vegetables and herbs not only taste good they are a good source of vitamins like C, A, and K and also minerals like iron, calcium etc. These improve our immune system, make our bones stronger and they are good for our eyes as well. Vinegar based pickles and chutneys help to perk up hemoglobin.

Conclusion

Almost all vegetables, herbs, or fruits can be used to make chutneys and pickles. In India people made pickles some 4000 years in the past. This was a way to preserve vegetables and raw fruits. When eaten during summer season these help to digest the food.

Pinch of Amchur that Creates a Tangy Taste to Dishes

Amchur is the dried or dehydrated product prepared from unripe mangoes to be mostly used in curries. The unripe fruits are peeled and the flesh is cut into thin slices. The slices are then dried in the sun and packed in gunny bags for sale. Amchur is also marketed in the form of powder by crushing or powdering the dried peeled mango slices. Amchur is used as an accidulant or souring agent for curries. It is also used in chutneys, soups and certain specific curries. The rind is astringent, stimulating, tonic in debility of stomach. Also it is one of the most flavoured and popular masala used in Indian dishes. Amchur is the best substitute of tamarind and lemon.

A pinch of amchur can enhance the taste and flavour of chicken, fish, meat, prawns, pork, etc. It improves the taste of paneer, biryani, pulao, kachumber, salads and several dry vegetables and vegetables with the gravy. It is good for digestion and has a cooling effect. It is acidic and astringent and has high Vitamin A and Vitamin C content. It has high iron content and so is beneficial to people suffering from anaemia and pregnant women. It aids digestion and eases acidity. Amchur lends a citrusy acidic taste that is somewhat sweet to spicy.

It improves the taste of curries, chutneys, marinades, dipping sauces, soups, stews, fish, poultry, and meats. Formerly, the spice was rarely used outside of Indian cooking. Now, it has grown in popularity as an addition to vegetarian dishes both in the whole or powdered forms for its tart, sharp spiciness.  In India, mangoes are used fresh or preserved. As Amchur is highly concentrated and has a very potent flavour, it can be used instead of lemon in recipes. You can also substitute amchur for tamarind as amchur won’t change the colour of a lighter dish the way tamarind does. It is a natural foodstuff and thus scores much above the synthetic additives. In India, the mango is known as king of fruits due to the delicious fruit as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals. Amchur has a high citric acid content that is integral to the prevention of scurvy.

It has a high concentration of phenols, and phenolic compound have powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer abilities. Mangoes are low in carbohydrates and rich in anti-oxidants. Mangoes provide a pharmacologically active flavonoid, a natural xanthine, which has a number of pharmacological actions and possible health benefits. These include ant diabetic, antioxidant, antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, hepatic-protective, hypoglycaemic, anti-allergic and anticancer activity. It is also an excellent tenderizer and mainly used in Indian cooking as a souring agent in many curries and other dishes.  Try adding a pinch of amchur on steamed vegetables and fold in for a tangy taste. Sprinkle it on fresh cucumbers and fresh slices of onions. It is an excellent seasoning for grilled dishes. It is difficult to imagine many dishes without their distinctive spices and seasonings. Spices lend magical flavours to the dishes they are added to.

From Where to Buy Home Made Style Pickles and Chutneys?

Chutneys and pickles, oh wow! Your mouth starts watering at the very thought of these. They form an integral part of a meal in an Indian home. We can all remember our mothers and grandmothers preparing pickles during the season, like mango pickle, for the entire year. Pickles of different regions have different taste and flavor as the spices used are different.

The diverse Indian cuisine, with different colours and flavours, is prepared with ingredients / spices of high quality and is cooked with minimum oil which makes it tasty and healthy.

When you go away from home for a long period, to study or for a job, you like to carry homemade pickles and chutneys with you. These add a taste and flavor to the food. In India the main course meal is accompanied by these tasty and delicious preparations.

With the change of time and lifestyle, most of the women working outside their homes, people prefer buying readymade home made style chutneys and pickles. As the demand increased so did the availability.  Today the market is flooded with the vast range of pickles and chutneys. They are available in a wide variety of flavours and sizes and are packed in airtight packets or bottles so that they retain the freshness, flavor and the taste.

Your local grocery shop or the super market has the shelves lined up with a large array of pickles to choose from. You can compare the different sizes and the price of various companies and buy the product of your choice. In India, home made style pickles and chutneys of different brands are easily available in all towns in the grocery shops. Pickles of diverse regions can be bought all over the country.

Not only in India, today pickles and chutneys from India are available in other countries as well, thanks to ‘one world’ created due to globalization. Even if you are living in Dubai or the United States or in any other country, these are available in the Indian stores all over the world. The global food market is flush with all kinds of branded pickles and chutneys in consumer packs.

All the companies maintain their web sites where the details about the company and the products are given. They also inform you about the stores where these products are available and their location as well. So if you will surf the net and check these sites you will be able to get the information needed and be able to buy your favourite pickles and chutneys which taste like home made.

Internet is a wonderful creation of man. The world has become so ‘small’ with it. You name a thing and you can get information about it on line. You can buy any and every product on line. Pickles and chutneys of different brands are also available on line. You place your order and the parcel will reach your home within two to three days.

So go ahead, buy your favourite home made like pickles and chutneys and enjoy your meal.

Great Indian Spices – Chilli Powder, Coriander, Cumin

SPICES

Chilli powder – prepared from the different variety of mild to hot chillies, different types and brands vary in their degree of heat. Check the ingredients before buying, as some chilli powders may contain flavourings such as garlic, onion, cumin and oregano. For best results buy RAMDEV pure chilli powder prepared by seeding, drying and grinding the finest of chillies. If the dish requires other herbs and spices, you can add them individually to taste. Chilli powder is used in almost all parts of the world. Central and south America, West and East Africa, the whole of the Asian continent and most parts of the Middle East use chilli powder in a significant proportion of meat, vegetable and rice dishes. Even in those countries where chillies are less apparent, they still have a walk-on role, in the pasta sauces of Italy, for instance, and in pickles, chutneys and relishes.

Coriander – just as fresh coriander (cilantro) is one of the most important herbs of Indian cuisine, so are the seeds of the coriander plant also up there with the other great Indian spices. The seeds look like tiny, pale, creamy-brown peppercorns. When they are dry-fried, the seeds have a heady, slightly burnt orange aroma which is very appealing. The ground seeds give a pleasing, mild and sweet taste that is not overwhelming. Every Indian household uses huge quantities of ground coriander in curry powders, garam masala, and a variety of other spice mixes. Coriander seeds are frequently combined with cumin seeds, the two spices being dry-fried together before being ground (dhania-jeera powder). This combination is common in Middle Eastern dishes too, and coriander seeds also feature as flavouring in many South-east Asian recipes. Whole coriander seeds may be added to chicken and pork casseroles and they are one of the ingredients in basic pickling spice. Whole or ground seeds may be used in chutneys.

Cumin – native to eastern Mediterranean countries and upper Egypt, cumin is now grown almost anywhere where the climate is dry and warm. The spice comes from the seed of this plant, which grows to about 30cm/1 foot high and has flowers that range in colour from mauve or rose-pink to white. Black cumin has a smaller seed, and is occasionally confused with nigella. White cumin is the most available variety. Black cumin seeds have a slightly sweeter aroma and a more delicate flavour than the white ones. Cumin has a strong, spicy, sweet aroma with a warm, slightly bitter and pungent taste. These last two qualities are particularly noticeable in the ground spice, although this is counter-balanced when it is used with ground coriander. Dry-frying before grinding brings out a toasted, nutty flavour, making the spice less harsh. Cumin, with its distinct and strong flavour, is a hugely popular spice in India, the Middle-East, North Africa, Mexico and practically any country where highly spiced food is enjoyed. It is used in almost all Indian curry mixtures and in garam masala. The spice is added to soups and stews, Moroccan lamb dishes and Mexican meat dishes.

Chatpata Chaat – A Starter for Some, A Full Meal for Many

CHAAT….

Chaats are conglomerates of crispy and luscious ingredients with a generous dash of peppy chutneys, flavourful condiments and attractive toppings. Spicy, piquant, sweet and sour, chatpata chaats are all-time favourite, which can be a starter for some, a full meal for many. You can serve them at parties and picnics, as tea-time accompaniments or side dishes during meals. Whenever and wherever you choose to serve them, they tend a special flavour and are delectable and exciting to savour.

DAHI BATATA PURI

Ingredients:

10 large puris (golgappas)

1 ½ cups thick curd

1 teaspoon sugar

4 medium potatoes (boiled)

2 teaspoon chaat masala

Salt to taste

Sweet and spicy chutney

For garnishing: thin sev, fresh coriander leaves (chopped)

Method:

Peel and mash potatoes. Add salt and chaat masala. Mix well, and keep aside.  Beat curd and add sugar and a pinch of salt. Add water to get the desired pouring consistency. Arrange puris on a serving plate. Make a hole in the centre of each puri and fill it with mashed potato and curd. Top it with sweet and spicy chutneys. Garnish with sev and coriander leaves and serve immediately. Continue reading

Homemade Pickles, The Magic Recipes

PICKLES AND CHUTNEYS…PART 2

TIPS FOR PICKLES:

Oil, salt and vinegar preserve the pickle.

Oil should cover the pickle, otherwise it will be spoiled.

Do not keep the pickle in a damp place.

Always try to keep the pickle in a narrow jar as it takes less oil.

TURNIP PICKLE….

Ingredients:

½ kg turnips

1 cup mustard oil

15 cloves garlic

1 cup vinegar

1 cup sugar

15 dry dates

6 teaspoons seedless golden raisins

1 teaspoon peppercorn

2 teaspoons chilli powder

1 teaspoon onion seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons salt

Method:

Grind the spices and sugar together. Grind dates and vinegar with a little vinegar. Peel and cut the turnips into thick round slices and rub salt on them. Keep for 8 hours. Grind garlic. Heat oil and fry the ground garlic till golden. In it, fry turnips till dry. Add vinegar, ground spices and sugar and ground dates and onions. Put in a jar and keep in the sun for 6 days. Continue reading

Pickles and Chutneys – Mint Chutney, Mango Chutney, Guava Chutney, Lemon Chutney, Tomato Chutney

PICKLES AND CHUTNEYS……….PART 1

No Indian meal is complete without pickles and chutneys. These are very good appetizers which, apart from adding taste to the food, stimulate the digestive system. They contain varying amounts of nutrients depending on the raw material used as a base, such as fresh tomatoes, cucumbers or onions. Fresh and natural ingredients in preparation of pickles and chutneys preserve the taste and aroma for long and need to avoid the usage of preservatives. The real aroma/fragrance and taste of freshly and carefully made/packed chutneys are as good as home made.

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves

1 medium onion

2 or 3 green chillies

Salt to taste

2 teaspoons dry pomegranate seeds

Method:

Remove the stems and wash the leaves. Squeeze out the water. Grind mint leaves with all the above ingredients finely. Serve with fried dishes. Continue reading