Made with a variety of fruits and vegetables, here are some of the lesser-known pickles of India
The practice of pickling is very common in India. It is believed that pickling began as a method of preserving food. Dunking vegetables and fruits into vinegar or brine was a common way of pickling. The idea of this kind of food preservation dates back to 2400 BC. However, there are several speculations that claim that this style of preserving food was prevalent during the age of Cleopatra.
The fact that pickles can be preserved for a long time makes them great travel partners too. You can pair the condiment with flatbreads and eat during long journeys. While nimbu and aam ka achaar are commonly eaten pickles in India, do you know about these lesser-known varieties too?
1. Bhoot Jolokia Pickle
If you haven’t tried one of the hottest peppers in the world yet, we suggest you do. The fiercest Bhoot Jolokia is found in Assam and the other parts of the Northeast. The pickle made from it is tantalising and delicious. Paired with bamboo shoots, the red chilli pickle is hot and spicy, and not meant for the faint-hearted.
2. Brinjal Pickle
Bored of having brinjal as a vegetable? You should try this brinjal pickle. Packed with a variety of flavours, you’ll find hints of sweetness, sourness, and more in this pickle. Very popular in Goa, this delicious achar is made by slicing brinjal into smaller pieces and tossing it with some masala.
3. Lingri Pickle
This sweet and tangy achar belongs to Himachal Pradesh. Lingri refers to the fiddlehead ferns which grow naturally in the wild. It tends to curl up after growing and works as a great base for achars. These fern growths are very tender and light which make them ideal for pickling and usually have firm shoots. Made with minimum use of oil, these achars are commonly eaten in the hills.
4. Amla Ki Launji
Amla, or the Indian gooseberry, is a very nutritious and healthy treat. It is good for boosting immunity and helps to keep infections at bay too. Did you know that amla is also used for making achaar? The delicious amla ki launji is a favourite in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The pickle is rich in Vitamin C and has a tangy taste.
5. Kolhapuri Thecha
This is another hot and spicy condiment from the country’s Maharashtra region. Made with fiery red chillies from Kolhapur, thecha is a paste-like mixture that makes it more of a chutney and pickle combination. Add to this, some peanuts, salt, and garlic and you are good to go.
6. Akhuni Pickle
The akhuni from Nagaland serves the dual purpose of being an ingredient in meaty dishes as well as a base for pickles and chutneys. Made with fermented soybean, akhuni is a delightful treat that is sweet and tangy. It is rich in flavour, which is why it is added to pork meat and other meat-based dishes. It lends a bitter and smoky touch to most meals.