Pickles, The Taste of India with Indian Spices

The unique taste and flavor of Indian pickles is really alluring. Indian pickles have been made since ancient times. These are mentioned in Vedic texts also. Pickles are prepared in every region of the country and are a ‘must have’ in every Indian home. Pickles stimulate your taste buds, and add that extra spicy, sweet and sour taste to the food.

What are Pickles

To ‘pickle’ a food item is to preserve it in brine, vinegar or oil. Indian pickles are made from vegetables, fruits, fish or meat. The common variety of Indian pickles is made from raw mango, and lime. Many other vegetables are also pickled like cauliflower, ginger, garlic, tomato, turnip, mushroom, amla, meat, fish, prawns etc. Rind of some citrus fruits is also pickled.

The vegetables are cut into pieces, sun dried and mixed with spices and preserved in oil or brine in glass jars or porcelain jars. The jars are kept in the sun for a few days till the vegetable becomes tender. For some pickles the food item is cooked in oil along with spices and then preserved.

Different types of spices used in pickles

A number of different spices are used in different pickles. The spices used also differ according to the region of the country. Mango pickle made in North India has different spices than mango pickle made in South India or pickle made in western part of the country.

Spices like red chilli powder, turmeric, fenugreek, asafetida, mustard seeds, cloves, cumin and coriander are used for making pickles. Ginger, asafetida, turmeric and saunf help to digest the food. Some spices have cooling properties like cumin and cardamom while cloves, cinnamon and ginger have warming properties.

The oils used to make pickles vary from region to region. In North India, mustard oil is used where as in the west and central part of the country peanut oil is used. Sesame oil is used in South Indian states.

Varieties of Pickles

  • Indian Lime Pickle – It is made lime and mustard seeds, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, brown sugar, white vinegar, salt and mustard seed oil.
  • Andhra Tomato Pickle – This yummy pickle from Andhra Pradesh can be eaten with just plain rice also. It is made from red tomatoes with tamarind, green chillies, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, asafetida, salt and sesame seeds oil.
  • Mango Pickle – One of the popular variety of pickles is mango pickle which is made in every state. In North India it is made from raw mangoes with mustard seeds, aniseed, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and mustard oil.
  • Stuffed Red Chilli Pickle – This tasty pickle from North India is made from large red chillies with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, aniseeds, red chilli powder, mustard powder, raw mango powder, asafetida, lime juice, salt and mustard oil.

Today Indian pickles are to be seen in the kitchens world over. These can be eaten with vegetarian as well as with non-vegetarian food, with snacks as well as with main meals. You can select from a wide range of pickles available to add that sweet, spicy, sour taste to your food.

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.


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.

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.

Essential Indian Spice – Cardamom, Mustard Seeds


Cardamom – along with cumin and coriander seeds, cardamom are an essential Indian spice. The pungent and warm bouquet of cardamom seeds with their distinct aroma is unforgettable and the spice adds a pleasing, warm, slightly lemon-like flavour, with an element of eucalyptus and camphor. The plant grows in tropical and sub-tropical areas and comes mainly from India, which produces 80% of the world’s crop. It is a tall shrub with short stems that, after flowering, carry small green seed capsules. Green cardamoms are the most common and useful; white cardamoms are the same type of pods that have been bleached (they are used in Indian desserts). Black cardamoms are quite different; the black spice is used in long cooked, highly flavoured savoury Indian dishes. The flavour is coarse and too overpowering for light dishes. Cardamom plays an essential role in both sweet and savoury dishes worldwide. It is an essential flavour in Indian curries, pulaos, garam masala and other spice mixtures, and is also essential to the flavour of many Indian sweetmeats, desserts, ice-creams and drinks such as the classic chai. The spice is also used widely in Scandinavian and German cooking- in pickles, with herrings and in cakes and pastries. It is one of the spices that flavour aquavit, along with caraway. It is also said that chewing cardamom seeds helps to freshen the breath. The ancient Egyptians used the spice for this purpose, simultaneously whitening their teeth. The eucalyptus and camphor of cardamom does seem to be an antidote to the smell of garlic or alcohol on the breath. Cardamom is also widely used in Arab and North African cooking in spicy stews.

Mustard seeds – the word mustard comes from the Latin word mustum or must, the name for the grape juice used to mix the ground seeds to a paste, known in turn as the mustum ardens, the burning paste. There are three different kinds of mustard seed: white (alba), brown (juncea), and black (nigra). Mustard seeds have little or no smell. The hot taste that gives mustard its bite is released only when the seeds are crushed and mixed with water. Crushing and moistening the mustard, or mixing powdered mustard with water, activates an enzyme present in the seeds, and it reacts with other natural constituents to develop the essential oil, which gives mustard its characteristic taste. Black seeds have the sharpest, most pungent flavour, white seeds are much milder, while the brown seeds come somewhere in between. Mustard is an indispensible ingredient in cooking: the different whole seeds, ground or powdered seeds, prepared pastes and oil are all used. The white seeds are used in pickling and the brown and black seeds are used throughout India in curry powders and also as separate spice for tempering. The seeds are cooked in hot oil until they pop and are then stirred into a variety of vegetable and daal dishes. Mustard oil is used in many Indian recipes. Mustard is used in salad dressings and in mayonnaise. It is also added to cheese sauce, and sauces for cabbage and cauliflower. The seeds can also be sprouted in a glass jar, in a similar way to beansprouts. The delicate sprouts can be used in salads and sandwiches.

Great Indian Spices – Chilli Powder, Coriander, Cumin


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.

Homemade Pickles, The Magic Recipes



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.



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


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


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.


2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves

1 medium onion

2 or 3 green chillies

Salt to taste

2 teaspoons dry pomegranate seeds


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

Chilli – A Leading Spice of India


Chilli is the most popular spice and throughout history, wherever it was used it transformed the previously bland cuisine. Latin American, Asian, African, Caribbean and certain regional Oriental cuisines make extensive use of this spice. The name chilli is believed to be derived from an ancient Indian word txile. Chillies are native to Mexico. Evidence of chilli peppers is known from burial sites in pre-Colombian sites in Peru.

Chilli or red pepper is a leading spice of India. Among the spices consumed per head in India, dried chilli contributes the major share. Chilli is said to be a native of South America and its cultivation was known to the people of Peru since prehistoric times. The introduction of chillies into India is said to be due to the Portuguese. Red pepper or chillies are said to be cultivated mainly in the tropical and the sub-tropical countries, notably Africa, India, Japan, Mexico, the USA etc. Andhra Pradesh is the leading state in area and production. Karnataka is second in area and Maharashtra is second in production and the third leading state in area. The other states growing chillies commercially are Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar etc. however, chillies are grown practically all over India. Continue reading

Kitchen Care – Handy Tips for Cooking

Kitchen Care – Handy Tips for Cooking

  • Keep your cottage cheese fresh by immersing it in a bowl of water and keeping it refrigerated. Change the water every day.
  • Wrap the sandwiches in a moist cloth, and then wrap cling film or aluminum foil over it and place it in the fridge. They will remain soft and fresh.
  • Dry orange peels in the sun and grind them in the grinder to a fine powder. They will come in handy while preparing face masks and delicious cakes. Continue reading

Taste of Gujarat with Indian Spices – Tasty Methi na Muthia, Delicious Gujarati Cuisine

Bhale Padharya… Welcome

The Gujarati community comprises different sects of people with varied beliefs and customs and with them have naturally evolved a variety of culinary styles.  Gujarat can be divided into three main regions, with distinct climatic conditions which may have contributed to the variety this cuisine has to offer.

Western Gujarat, Kathiawar, is a dry region where fresh green produce is scarce. However, the cuisine provides rich dairy produce and a cuisine that is wholesome and nutritious. Some of the best pickles come from here.

Central Gujarat, Ahmedabad, Kheda, and Vadodara regions are hailed for their food grains. A majority of people are farmers who grow, store, and market grains. Dhokla, vada, bhakarvadi, thepla are contributions of this region. Continue reading