What does the word pickle mean to you? I am sure it takes you back to your childhood days and plethora of memories of when your mom and grand-mom or the entire clan, if you lived in a joint family, sit and work on making pickles. Large quantity of raw mangoes being bought, chopped, dried and later doused in home-made spicy masalas and preserved with salt and oil added to it.
It was like an annual tradition where the entire house came together over gossip and heaps of raw mangoes and made the year-round supply of lip-smacking pickles which where then stored in either big ceramic jars or glass jars.
Summer is that time of the year where you will find terraces and balconies of Indian households laden with cut mangoes, lime, veggies, carrots or berries which are kept to bask in the sun and I still remember stealing the raw mangoes kept under the sun by my mom and by the time she went to get them, half of them were inside my tummy. I can hear many of you resonate with me and nod their head as I say this. You were guilty of doing it too, right?
Pickle can liven up a simple meal of dal rice (boiled rice and lentil soup) or roti bhaji (Indian bread and cooked vegetables) and eaten in small quantity as its loaded with oodles of flavors – tanginess, salty, oily and spicy. Think of it like wasabi, very intense. However, sweet pickle like Muraba is like spicy jams which can be enjoyed in more quantity.
While Aam ka Achar rules our mind when we talk about pickles, no fruit, vegetable or berries and even prawns and fish are spared when it comes to making pickles. It’s a long process which takes weeks to make and each region of India has its own style and special ingredient to add that special touch of region and tradition.
Kerela and Andhra are known for its fish and prawn pickles while North eastern states make pickles of beef, pork and dried fish with bamboo shoot. Kashmiri’s make pickles out of Knol Khol vegetables and Punjabis use all sorts of veggies like cauliflower, carrot and turnips to make mixed pickles. Gujarat is known for its sweet food and when it comes to pickles, sweet Muraba, made of grated raw mangoes is what they relish the most. Lasoda, or Gunda is also used to make pickles.
Traditional form of pickle making is pain staking with lengthy procedures and with the fast-paced life of today’s generation, not many have the time and patience to follow the methods used by their grandmothers and mothers. But that doesn’t mean that the art of pickle making is dying out. Brand like Masala Monk has kept the tradition alive by making some varied pickles with interesting ingredients to cater to each and every region and taste buds. From the traditional Aam and mirchi ka achra, to star fruit, adrk (ginger), guvava and gooseberry, they have it all.
Pickles by Masala Monk are made using the finest quality of ingredients and preserved without any additives, chemicals or preservatives and they have no added flavors of any kind too. Even the use of salt and spices is kept to the minimal level to retain the nutritional value of the fruit or vegetables. As they say- original flavor is the best flavor.
The Aam ka Sookha Achar by Masala Monk is made with very little oil, so a diet conscious person can enjoy this pickle without being guilty of consuming oily food. This pickle is made of selected fresh green Ramkela mangoes and finest ingredients and handcrafted to perfection. Ramkela is a mango variety grown in Uttar Pradesh for pickling purpose only and has a unique aroma and flavour to it.
The Kamrakh ka Achar is another favourite of mine. Kamrakh aka Starfruit when coated with spices and oil makes the perfect bite to relish. If you like your pickle to be a little matured, just place the jar in sun for couple of more days.
What fun flavors can erupt when Punjab meets Bengal. Mirchi ka achar which rules the northern households when mixed with sarso aka mustard seeds and mustard oil, which is a major part of Bengali cuisine, in the Sarson Mirchi ka Achar, the union of these two can only create an explosion of flavors, excite your taste buds and make your tongue salivate.
The list of my favorite can go on and on as they have many varieties like Salgam Gajar ka Achar, Himalayan Turmeric pickle, Amrud ka Achar, Amla ki Khati Meethi Launji and Ambi Mirchi Bombs.
The pickles are packed in a plastic bag which is then placed in a glass container so that the oil doesn’t spill during shipping. The packaging is also very nicely done, making it a perfect gifting option.
Love is not suppose to be easy but when that love is for food, it can be tasty and when that taste is handmade, packed and delivered with the finest quality of ingredients, why not order and enjoy it. Start your pickle binge by placing your order for them at Masala Monk. You can also find them on Instagram.
Till next time, enjoy the simple flavors of life by adding some pickle to it.