What is a Pickle? Why did it originate? How it became a necessary condiment in cuisines around the world? It's interesting to know and let know how this massive culinary heritage has its distinct features and recipes in different cultures.The origin of the ‘pickle’ cannot be stated with certainty; however, their presence has been traced to as far as the Mohenjo Daro era, dating back to 2400 B.C. Pickling was invented to preserve food for the long journey of sailors. Presently, pickle is enjoyed for its flavour and has become a preferred accompaniment to food for people in various parts of the globe.
Pickles around the world
Pickles are known as Achar in countries like India and Pakistan. It is made from a variety of fruits and vegetables like Mango, tamarind, gooseberry, onion, garlic, meat, ginger and so on. These are preserved using vegetable oil, vinegar, spices, honey, and left for maturing.
In South East Asia, ginger, garlic, and vinegar as used to preserve 'The Achar". Bamboo shoots, cucumber, shallots, tomatoes, guavas, raw papaya are some of the ingredients used for pickling. Kimchi, made from Napa cabbage and radish is a very popular side dish in Korea. The Chinese also make a variety of pickles using radish, cabbage, chillies, peppers, cucumbers, and more.
In Hungary, people enjoy their lunch with a wide variety of pickles made of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, squash, and even fruits like Plum and Apples. Stuffed pickles with cabbage filling, is a speciality of the region. Similarly, even the Romans, Polish, Czech, and the Slovaks are very fond of traditional pickles and making Sauerkraut. Interestingly, sauerkraut Rassol is a robust therapy for combating morning hangover.
In southern European regions like Italy, Greece, Turkey, Albania, and Bulgaria, vegetables and fruits like eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, carrots, peppers are pickled and enjoyed with meals.
Coming over to Britain, pickled eggs and pickled onions are a hot favourite. Beetroot, walnuts, mussels, cockles, olives, mango, are used for pickling.
Indians love spicy food and their pickles are a happy concoction of a mammoth variety of spices and flavours. While the world mostly uses brine and vinegar for pickling, Indians use oil as their base with lemon and chillies being an intrinsic part of every pickle recipe. With a multilingual culture prevailing in the country, there are thousands of varieties of pickles available in India also known as Murabbas and Chutneys.
However, we managed to discover a unanimous favourite variety of pickle which all Indians love- The Raw Mango Pickle. This pickle could be spicy, hot, sweet or tangy.
Recipe of Raw Mango Tangy Achar
- Raw mango- 1.5 cups
- Mustard seeds powder- 2 tbsp
- Fenugreek seeds- ½ tsp
- Red chilli powder- 3 tbsp
- Garlic- 4 cloves
- Oil (mustard/sesame/ peanut)- 3 tbsp
- Salt as per taste- 1.5 tsp approx.
- Select good variety of raw mangoes that have fresh and clean skin. Wash the mangoes and clean dry thoroughly, chop in big slices
- Make sure that the jar, knife, and all utensils for making the pickle are absolutely dry.
- Dry roast the fenugreek seeds and keep aside. In the same pan, heat oil and keep aside to cool.
- Blend fenugreek to a fine powder and mix with mustard powder.
- Crush all garlic cloves and mix all the pickle ingredients including spices, mangoes, and oil together.
- Mix well.
- Keep stirring from time-to-time for 24 to 48 hours.
- Preserve the pickle in a clean jar.
- Your pickle is ready!