Indian pickles are a staple of the cuisine, known by a variety of names across the country including Loncha in Marathi, Achaar in Hindi, Athanu in Gujarati, and Urukai in Tamil. The term "pickle" comes from the Dutch word "Pickle," which means "to brine."
Summer vacations at Grandma's house were never complete without those large white porcelain jars loaded to the brim with delectable pickles, which sat out in the sun on the terrace. When we taste even one spoonful of the humble "achaar," the joy of helping mom and grandma in the kitchen, the meticulous preparation of the ingredients, and the addition of varied spices, tangy masalas, and aromatic oils, our childhoods are quickly revisited.
How to Make Indian Pickles:
The key to making a great Indian pickle is in the preparation. The ingredients must be fresh, and the spices must be roasted and ground to release their flavour. The pickles are then soaked in brine (water mixed with salt) overnight before being sun-dried for several days. This process allows all of the flavours to meld together perfectly.
There are two types of Indian pickles: wet and dry. Wet pickles are usually made with unripe mangoes or lemons and have a shelf life of about two weeks. Dry pickles are made with ripe mangoes or lemons and can last for several months.
The most important ingredient in any pickle is salt. Salt acts as a preservative and also helps to release the flavours of the spices. Other common ingredients include oil (usually mustard or sesame), chili peppers, ginger, garlic, fenugreek seeds, aniseed, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, and vinegar.
Pickling is an art form that has been passed down through generations of Indian families. If you're looking for a delicious way to add some zest to your meal, look no further than your nearest jar of Indian pickles.