Tourists that visit India often marvel at how the cuisine and cooking styles keep changing at almost every 50 kilometres of the country. Almost every region has its own unique style of a pickle with locally sourced ingredients.
Pickles are deep-rooted in our culture and have the wonderful ability to take us back in time. There are many different types of pickles in India that one must try. Here are some unique pickles to taste if you love eating authentic traditional foods:
Avakaya is arguably Andhra’s best pickle. It is also steeped in traditions and folklore. The selection of mangoes is the key to this unique pickle, as is the exquisite process to cut them (along with the seed). Pieces of mango without the kernel are not used. Aside from the juicy mangoes, the pickle also features generous quantities of garlic, methi seeds, mustard powder and of course chilli powder.
Kannimanga Achar is synonymous with mango pickle in Kerala. The choice of mangoes and the method of preparation is what makes it unique. This pickle is made with bite-sized tender mangoes that are first ‘brined’ for a few weeks before it gets the spicy treatment with ingredients that bring out the flavours of the mangoes. The pickle is put away in a jar for at least two months before it is served. The ‘saucy’ consistency of this pickle makes it an ideal accompaniment for rice gruel or curd rice on a summer day.
Bamboo Shoot Pickle is one of Karnataka’s most unique pickles that is a tradition in the Malenad areas like Sakleshpur and is also common in Coorg. It is said that young shoots of bamboo are harvested to craft this pickle. The bamboo shoots in this pickle are both juicy and crunchy.
Almost every coastal region across Southern India has its own version of prawn pickle but Andhra’s Royyala Pachadi is particularly very delicious. This pickle has a relatively short shelf life (typically a month if refrigerated). It derives its flavour from the ginger garlic paste.
Kerala’s fish and prawn pickles might be very famous but it’s the state’s beef pickle, Erachi Achar, that is truly unique. Tiny cubes of beef are marinated and then fried till they achieve a crisp consistency before being pickled with ginger, garlic, curry leaves and a dash of vinegar. It tastes like heaven.