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Indian pickleIndian pickles are a variety of spicy pickled side dish or condiment popular in the Indian Subcontinent, in Southeast Asia, and in many other areas among ethnically South Asian communities. The pickle serves as a flavor enhancer and is eaten typically in small pieces with the rest of the meal. There are a wide variety of different pickles made and each is usually made with a mixture of fruits or vegetables which are chopped and marinated in a liquid (often oil or lemon juice) and a variety of different spices (often including lots of chile pepper) and salt. Pickling in India is an ancient art of food preservation. Indian pickles are quite different from the European variety in that the pickling is usually done in oil rather than using vinegar.
Almost all sorts of fruits vegetables found in south Asia are pickled in this manner, including pumpkins, palm hearts, mango slices, limes and rose petals, along with vegetables more conventionally pickled in the west. Some of the most popular achars are lemon pickle, lime pickle, mixed pickle (with cauliflower, carrot, and radish), mango pickle, onion pickle, and garlic pickle. Some pickles may even contain fish (typically Synodus spp.) as their main ingredient.
PreparationPickles form an integral part of an Indian meal. Seasonal vegetables and fruits are cleaned and finely chopped; they are then mixed with a special blend of ground spices and marinated in oil.
The choice of spices gives the Indian pickle its unique flavor. Most pickles are made in the summer and allowed to mature in the hot sun for at least three weeks before use. Pickles are generally stored in porcelain or glass jars with air-tight lids. The acidic nature of the marinade retards bacterial growth, while the oil acts as a preservative. Pickles can retain their freshness and flavor, so long as they do not come into contact with moisture. However, commercially made pickles use preservatives such as citric acid or sodium benzoate.
Indian pickles come in a wide variety of flavors -- a mango pickle from South India tastes very different from one made in North India. In the southern states, sesame (gingelly) oil is preferred, while mustard oil is more typically used in pickle-making in northern India. The cuisine of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh is probably the spiciest of all Indian cuisine. Andhra pickles and chutneys have a unique flavor and are popular among those who like it hot.
Fruits and vegetables usedSome of the vegetables and fruits used in pickling include, mango, lemon, lime, ginger, Indian gooseberry, onion, garlic, green chili, kohlrabi, gunda, and kerda. There are a wide variety of different achars made and each is usually made with a mixture of fruits or vegetables which are chopped and marinated in a liquid (often oil or lemon juice) and a variety of different spices (often including lots of chile pepper) and salt. Almost all sorts of fruits vegetables found in South Asia are pickled in this manner, including pumpkins, heart of palm, mango slices, and rose petals, along with vegetables more conventionally pickled in the west. Some of the most popular varieties of Indian pickle are mango pickle, lemon pickle, lime pickle, mixed pickle (usually including cauliflower, carrot, and radish), onion pickle, and garlic pickle.
Some Indian pickles may even contain fish (typically Synodus spp.) as their main ingredient. Such pickles serve as a flavor enhancer and are eaten typically in small pieces with the rest of the meal.
NamesAchar is the Hindustani word for the variety of spicy pickled side dish or condiment popular in the Indian subcontinent, in Southeast Asia, and in many other areas among ethnically South Asian communities. A similar dish in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore is called acar, while Filipinos call it “achara”.
Pachchadi is the Telugu translation for pickle. “Even if we don’t have anything to eat, we can survive on pickle and rice” is a common dialogue in Telugu movies between love struck hero and heroine. Father of the heroine always cautions her against the hero, “If you marry him, you know what will happen to you, you have to live on pickles”. Pickles are that common in Telugu households.
Some commonly prepared and famous household pickles are Avakaya Pachchadi (Mango Pickle), Nimmakaya Pachchadi (Lemon Pickle), Allam Pachchadi (Ginger Pickle), Usirikaya Pachchadi (Indian gooseberry), Yendu Mirapakaya Pachchadi (Dry Chilly Pickle), Chintapandu Pachchadi (Tamarind Pickle),Gongura and many more...
Oorugai is the Tamil name for pickles. There are many indigenous varieties of pickles, some of the most popular ones being mangai urgai (mango pickle) and elimicha urgai (lime pickle). Some of the special pickles from Tamil Nadu include a tender mango pickle called 'maavadu'. Maavadu literally translates to “tender mango”. Maavadu is usually made early in the summer season when mangos are barely an inch long. The preservation process consists of uses castor oil which gives the pickle its unique taste. Maavadus are a local favourite served with yogurt rice or thayir sadam. Another interesting pickle from Tamil Nadu is narthangai, which is a citron preserved in salt. Unripe citrons are cut into spirals and stuffed with salt, which dries them out. This pickle stays fresh and unspoiled for a long time and is an accompaniment to sambhar rice.
This word has also been borrowed by other Indian languages to mean the same thing. However, these languages may have their own words for pickle. For instance, in Malayalam, each type of pickle is usually given its own name; such names include:
* Uppillittuthu - literally, “that which is put in salt”; generic term for pickle
* Maangaacurry - literally, “curry of mango”; term for mango pickle.
* Ingicurry - literally, “curry of ginger”; term for ginger pickle
In Kannada, pickles are typically referred to uppinakayi (salt fruits/vegetables).
Athanu, is the Gujarati name for pickles. Some of the preparation and ingredients vary a little with regions in Gujarat. Raw mangoes, lemon, green chillies, gunda and kerda are commonly used as the key ingredients in pickles. Pickles commonly found in most households include:
* Khaatu athanu - salted mango pickle, made with cut and salted mangoes, fenugreek seeds, red chilly powder, groundnut oil, etc.
* Galyu athanu - hot and sweet mango pickle, made with cut and salted mangoes, jaggery, fennel seeds (saunf), dry dates (kharek), mustard, red chilly powder, groundnut oil etc.
* Chhoondo - hot and sweet shredded mango pickle. Made using shredded mangoes, sugar syrup, jeera, chilly powder etc.
* Katki/Batakiyu - hot and sweet cubed mango pickle. Similar to Chhoondo, but the mango is cubed.
* Dabla - spicy pickle made with whole small raw mangoes.
* Murabbo - A sweet, jam like preparation with mango chunks.
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