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.