Sunday, March 3, 2024

From Mango to Mixed: Exploring the Diversity of Indian Pickles


From Mango to Mixed Exploring the Diversity of Indian Pickles

If you step into my grandmother's kitchen in rural India, you’d be greeted by the aromatic spices of mouth-watering pickles sitting pretty in earthen pots. I still remember those summer afternoons spent watching my grandma's practised hands rhythmically massaging spices into fresh vegetables and fruits. Her pickles were far more than a side dish - they were nostalgia in a jar! 

Pickles or 'achars' form an important part of Indian cuisine and culture. They are not just a side dish but a flavour medley that titillates our taste buds. I've enjoyed her preserved lemons, limes, mangoes, carrots and more with every family meal. As I grew up and went to college, my mom would tell me to take some jars of her pickles with me so that I could have a taste of home. So, let’s get a closer look at the world of pickles in India that have graced Indian tables for ages.

A Journey Through Pickle Regions:

Divide India into broad regions (North, South, East, West) and briefly discuss the signature pickle styles of each region, including:

  • North: Achaari masala, Lahsuni gobhi, Amrood (guava) pickle
  • South: Avakai (raw mango), Uppu Manga (salted mango), Kerala Naranga (lime) pickle
  • East: Shondesh (sweet and sour chutney), Kanthali achar (jackfruit), Gundruk (fermented radish)
  • West: Thecha (chilli chutney), Papad ki chutney

The pickles of India are as vastly flavorful as its regions. Up North, the fiery Achaari pickle sees radish and carrots steeped in robust Punjabi spices. Kerala's lip-smacking Naranga lime pickle mingles citrus with vivid local spices.

To the East, Shondesh offers sweet and sour jackfruit chutney with tamarind and jaggery. West Bengal pickles raw jackfruit in Kanthali achar and makes Gundruk from fermented greens.

Down South, Andhra's signature Avakai uses raw green mangoes while Uppu Manga marries sweet ripe mangoes with salt and chilli.

Maharashtra whips up zesty coriander-chilli Thecha. Indeed India's diverse soils yield an incredible harvest of indigenous pickle traditions!

Beyond the Basics: Exploring Unique Pickle Varieties:

While mango, lime, mixed veggie and chilli pickles are Indian household favourites, some other types will turn your head around when their aroma hits your nose. These types come from both fruit and flower as explained below:

  • Floral pickles offer aromatic bursts using fragrant roses, refreshing lavender or nostalgic jasmine to uplift usual pickle platters. 
  • The South bottles up pineapples; the West taps into starfruit’s sweet zing; while the East harnesses jackfruit’s robust crunch for delicious fruity pickles. 

Pickling chopped vegetables or fruits by sealing them airtight with cured, fermented yogurt results in lip-smacking flavours, minus added vinegar or oil, that will make you gobble them up completely. Indeed, Indian pickling has incredible diversity - floral essences, tropical fruits and traditional preservation spiced up with creative techniques that will make your daily dining an exotic experience.

The Art of Pairing Pickles

In India, no thali complete without pickle gracing the spread. Up North, punchy achar pairs well with rajma and saunth chutney stuffed parathas. In Maharashtra, fiery thecha accompanies thalipeeth while Konkani kokum curries balance with bamboo shoot lonche.

Down South, meals start with podis and pickles on banana leaf. Andhra curries match tangy Avakai mango pickle. Karnataka's Bisi Bele Bath pairs nicely with sweet onion or tart amla pickle. Kerala's sadya gets sour boost from lime pickle and ginger puli inji.

Creative pairings like mango pickle with methi parathas or garlic pickle with paneer unlock new tastes! Pickle adds magic touch to Indian meal.


Indian pickles are like a colorful story of different tastes and traditions. Each type of pickle, from mango to mixed, has its own special flavor that comes from different parts of our country. It's like keeping our family recipes alive! If you want a taste of homemade goodness, try getting pickles online from FarmDidi. They make them with lots of love, just like how it's done at home. Enjoy the different flavors and feel the warmth of Indian food heritage!

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