While there are plenty of ingredients pickled across India, there is something about chukh that makes it so special.
Head to Himachal’s Chamba district and you will be welcomed by the distinct aroma of a tangy condiment called chukh. The red, hot and tangy pickle from the hills is commonly eaten with parathas in the region. However, it’s use is not limited to being a side dish for parathas but a spicy condiment that can be a chutney one day and a dip the other. While the packaged pickles are readily available, the freshness and flavour of homemade pickle remains unmatched. Chukh is one such home-grown pickle, found in the Chamba valley of Himachal Pradesh.
Traditionally made with locally-produced red chillies called Chitrali chillies, chukh is a result of these sun-dried chillies. Sometimes, green chillies are also used in place of red. The smoky aroma of these chillies is well-complimented by the local citrus fruits that are used for basting. The extract of the Himachali lime called gulgul is generally utilized in the preparation of this pickle, along with other spices. Slow-cooked over fire, the resulting thick paste is then cooled down and sold off in glass bottles.
Here’s a quick recipe of chukh if you’d like to try.