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.
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.