How pickles thread the diverse Indian cuisine

aam ka achaar

Delicious pickles have always enjoyed prime positions on the Malayali platter. From the spicy mangoes and sweet limes to the flavoursome garlic and delectable meat and fish, pickles with their perfect blend of salt, sweet, and sour, have been the favourite accompaniments for Indian meals.

Indians are so fond of pickles that every meal would be accompanied with some sort of pickle. There are hundreds of delicious pickle recipes that are unique to various states. Noted food writer Usha R Prabhakaran has even published a book called '1000 pickles' on this diverse food item.

In Andhra Pradesh, chopped mango seed, too, is added in the mango pickle. Garlic, fenugreek, mustard and chilli powder are the other main ingredients in this pickle. The unique bamboo shoot pickles are a speciality in Karnataka. These shoots are specially grown for making pickles. The fresh bamboo shoots add amazing texture to the pickle and it feels incredible when you bite into it.

In Kerala, mangoes or limes are immersed in brine and stored in air tight jars for several days. Cooked pickle called 'thokku' is the most preferred pickle in Tamil Nadu. The narunandi pickle made with sour butter milk, turmeric powder, and chilli powder is a unique speciality here.

The lotus stem pickle of Jammu Kashmir is delicious and nutritious as well. This pickle made with dark cumin, coriander seeds, chilli powder, and lotus stem is extremely popular among the Sindhis.

The mixed pickle, which has its origins in Punjab, is loved by the North Indians. The recipe of this special pickle is very traditional. Sweet potato and carrot are the main ingredients of the mixed pickle. The sweet and spicy carrot pickle in Haryana gets that extra flavour from the mustard oil that is added in it. The extremely spicy green chilli pickle served along with the famous Rajasthani tali is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Special pickle made using bhut jolokia, which holds the Guinness world record for the hottest chilli pepper, and bamboo shoot are common in the North-Eastern states. Having just a tiny bit of this pickle would make you run for the water. Delicious pork pickle is a staple for the people of Sikkim.

Gorkeri is a traditional sweet and spicy pickle from Gujarat. Jaggery and mango are the main ingredients of this delicious pickle. Mango pieces are rubbed with thick jaggery paste and are dried under the sun for at least two weeks. Sweet pickles are relished in Odisha, too.