(Achaar, Aachaar, Urugai, Pickle, Indian Pickle, Vegetarian Pickle, Veg Pickle, Non-Veg Pickle)
No Indian kitchen is complete without a pickle bottle in the shelf. We have all grown up eating our mothers and grandmothers delicious, crunchy and tangy pickles in our households. My grandmother says, in her younger days pickle making was a huge gala affair. Many women would get together in a house and they would do each and every step with complete merry and fun. While a group would grind chillies, another group would cut the mangoes and the lemons and the goose berries and other would do the mixing to perfection and some other would fill in all the jars. There were pickles for every season. For summer season, it would be different varieties of mango pickle, lemon pickle (elumchangai oorugai), gooseberry pickle (nelikkai oorugai), the very popular maavadu or vadu maangai and many more. Winter and the rainy seasons will have different array of pickles like ginger pickle (puli inji), garlic pickle, chilly pickles and many more.
Pickle making varies from region to region and culture to culture in all aspects. While the people of north India use mustard oil for all their pickles, people in south India use the sesame oil as the base. Each of the pickle has its own unique taste and flavor, be it the avakaya and gongura of Andhra or the sweet pickle of Gujarat or the lemon and citrus pickles from Tamilnadu.
Over the years, however, the art of pickle making is slowly fading due to ready-made pickles easily available in the market. But, they miserably fail to match up to the rustic flavor characteristic of homemade pickles. Many youngsters think that pickle making is very tedious, but in reality it is ridiculously simple. Yes, we need the patience of soaking them in oil and spices, and finally let them age to develop flavors. But all good things come to only those who wait.
Salt and oil play an important role in pickle making. While salt adds to the flavor and inhibits the bacterial growth, oil acts as a barrier to prevent the ingredients from becoming dry and keep them moist. But from a health perspective, excessive salt and oil is not good for health as they contribute to raised blood pressure and other heart ailments.
Hence we bring to all the readers some instant pickles which can be made in minutes, with little of oil and salt and guaranteed taste and flavor.