Spicy Tales Of Every State's Special Pickle And Chutney
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India is known for its wide range of spices and flavors, and it’s no surprise that its chutney and pickles are some of the most beloved foods in the country. These tangy and flavorful additions have a long and rich history in Indian culture and are an integral part of many traditional meals.

But what is the story behind these beloved condiments? And what makes each state's pickle and chutney so special?

Pickling is a traditional method of preservation that has been used in India for centuries. The process involves preserving fruits or vegetables in a mixture of oil, vinegar, and spices. This not only extends the shelf life of the food but also imparts a unique flavor and aroma. Pickles are typically served as a side dish and are often used to add a burst of flavor to a bland dish.

Salt and oil play a huge role in making pickles. While salt adds flavor, lends moisture, and prevents bacterial growth, oil prevents the ingredients from becoming dry and retains the moisture for a longer time.


Chutneys, which are close cousins, are a type of condiment that are made from a combination of fruits, vegetables, and spices. Most of the time, they are used as a dip or spread, and they are an important part of many traditional Indian meals.

Indian pickles and chutneys

There are countless varieties of pickles in India, each with its own unique flavor and texture. Some of the most popular types include mango, lemon, and mixed vegetable pickles.

Similar to pickles, chutneys have been a part of Indian cuisine for centuries and have evolved to have different variations in different regions of India. Some of the most popular types of chutneys include mint, coriander, and tamarind chutneys.

Traditional Methods of Making Indian Chutney and Pickles

The tradition of making pickles and chutneys in Indian culture has been around for ages, with different regions having their own traditional recipes and techniques. In Maharashtra, for example, women would make pickles in earthen pots and leave them to sun-dry for weeks. In Rajasthan, pickles were made with homemade vinegar, sugar, and mustard oil, and in Gujarat, pickles are often made with mustard oil, garlic, chilies, and lime. In south India, pickles are usually made with oil, tamarind, mustard, and fenugreek.

The process of making pickles might be long, but the reward is truly worth the wait. Although mango, lemon, and mixed vegetables are some of the most popular, Indians have made pickles out of literally everything: onion, cauliflower, carrots, garlic, gooseberry (amla), and many more!

Regional Specialties of Indian Chutney and Pickles

Let's take a look at how different states of India have their own special pickles and chutneys.

Types of Indian Chutney

Some of the most common types include:

1.    Coconut Chutney: This is a popular South Indian chutney made with freshly grated coconut, green chilies, ginger, and other spices that is mostly eaten with dosa or idli.

2.    Mango Chutney: This is a sweet and sour chutney made with mangoes, sugar, tamarind, and various spices.

3.    Tomato Chutney: This is a popular North Indian chutney made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and various spices and served with paratha.

4.    In West Bengal, a popular chutney is the Doi Bora chutney, made from yoghurt and spices.

5.    In Maharashtra, the most famous chutney is the Koshimbir, a chutney made from a combination of cucumber, tomato, onion, and green chilies.

6.    In Kerala, a popular chutney is the Inji puli chutney, made from ginger and tamarind, which is one of the primary accompaniments during the Onam festival's "sadhya," or feast. 

Types of Indian Pickles

1.    Chana Methi Pickle: A Gujarati delicacy, this is a unique pickle made with pickled raw mango chunks (Keri), chana (cheap peas), and methi dana (fenugreek seed).

7.    Hari Mirchi Ka Achar from Rajasthan: This Rajasthani green chili pickle will tantalize your taste buds with its sweet and sour complexity. Chilies are sliced lengthwise, then fried with ginger, garlic, lemon juice, fenugreek, and mango powder.

8.    In Andhra Pradesh, a famous pickle is the Andhra Avakkai pickle, made from unripe mangoes and a special blend of spices. Andhra Pradesh is also known for its Gongura pickle, which is made with red sorrel leaves and a blend of spices.

9.    Sikkimese Mesu Pickle: Bamboo shoots have been used for decades as a staple in the diets of mountain dwellers in Darjeeling and Sikkim state. Chili powder, garlic powder, and salt are added to long pieces of bamboo that have been marinated in mustard oil.

10.    In Rajasthan, a popular pickle is the Kair Sangri pickle, made from local beans (Sangri) and berries (Kair) and pickled in a mixture of salt, fenugreek, mustard seeds, spices, and edible oil.

11.    Kamal Kakdi Ka Aachaar from Jammu and Kashmir: This lotus flower stem pickle is a specialty in Sindhi, Punjabi, and Kashmiri cooking. The stems are combined with chili powder, fennel seeds, turmeric powder, red chilies, coriander seeds, peppercorns, nigella seeds, salt, and oil to create the finished product.

12.    Topa KulerAachar from West Bengal: These pickles are made as a summertime ritual in Bengali homes, when families bring out their dusty pots in the months of March and April. These pickles, made from the seasonal fruit kul, are soaked in five local species, and their aroma will permeate every Bengali home.

13.    In Maharashtra, the most famous pickle is the AmbyacheLonche, a raw mango spicy pickle that is cooked in groundnut oil with mustard seed dal, red chili powder, and whole spices. One kind of mango, Phule Abhiruchi, was made especially for pickling, and the Maharashtra government gave it its stamp of approval.

14.    Bhoot Jolokia Achar from Assam: This chili is recognized as one of the world's hottest by the Guinness Book of World Records. After a week in the jar, the spicy chili is added to the bamboo shoot that was dipped in kokum and turmeric powder.

15.    In Tamil Nadu, a famous pickle is the Narthangai pickle, made from a citrus fruit called Narthangai, or bitter lemon.

16.    Punjabi Mixed Veggie Pickle: Every meal is not complete without a side of this flavorful mixed pickle to complement your ghee-filled aloo paratha. Cauliflower, peas, carrots, raw mango, and fresh ginger are just some of the vegetables used.

17.    Goan Mango Miskut: The Goan coast is especially rich in mangos; there are more than a hundred different kinds. Goan Miskut is the name for raw mangoes that have been stuffed with different spices and then kept in airtight jars for at least six months.

18.    The Bhara Mirchi Aachar from Bihar is another flavorful pickle made with roasted red chilies in fennel and mustard oil and infused with spices and masalas.

19.    Kerala is renowned for its Nellikka Achar, which is made with gooseberries, mustard, chilies, and curry leaves.

Check out India's chutneys and pickles if you're searching for ways to add spicy and sweet flavors to your dishes.