A nostalgic jar
A mix of age-old masalas and grandmother’s love, these pickle brands are too yum to resist
The art of pickle-making is an indulgent and imperative part of growing up in Indian families wherein most of the family members are involved. It is a nostalgic process and involves careful preparations like sourcing fruits, selecting, mixing and preparing oils to be used, spices, etc.
Cultural affinities and traditional detailing have made pickles a unique part of our diverse history.
In fact, according to Chef Kunal Kapur, pickle-making is more science than art. In the West, for instance, cucumbers, which were carried westward, were preserved in brine. Nearly every culture in the world has a tradition of preserves and pickles,” says Chef Kunal, who feels that pickles are a combination of the right ingredients, attitude and loads of patience. The celebrity chef, who had a TV show called Pickle Nation, has been intrigued by the unique techniques, ingredients, and history of pickle making that he got to observe in homes across India.
As a quick refresher, the benefits of the pickling and fermentation processes are well-known. These are healthy bacteria that help to maintain digestive balance and promote gut health.
Here’s a look at the homegrown brands in India that are delivering bespoke, grand mom-style achaars, which are preservative-free and literally the result of family recipes.
The Little Farm
Every pickle sold by The Little Farm is handcrafted and made using old, traditional recipes. The ingredients and spices used in making pickles are grown on their farms, like meethi dana, saunf, ajwain, sabut dhaniya, sabut lal mirch, amchoor and haldi. Their signature pickles are all sun-dried and the bestsellers include adrak hari-mirch pickle, mango pickle, and garlic pickle, amongst others. Working on a farm-to-fork model, the Little Farm Co, owned by Niharika Bhargava, is on a mission against packaged products that are filled with additives and preservatives. The pickles are made on 400 acres of lush farmland in a village called Paharapurwa (about 16 km from Khajuraho), Madhya Pradesh, where fruits, vegetables and spices are grown using organic farming practices.
The pickle brand was founded by Siddharth and Rajesh, two food enthusiasts, and their sisters, Padmaja and Padma Latha, who are also chefs. A passion for authentic and local flavours had them thinking about non-vegetarian pickles. So they joining hands with the National Research Centre for Meat in Hyderabad. Their pickles are made and packaged in a manner to keep them safe for consumption. The bestsellers include Boneless Andhra Chicken Pickle, made with juicy chunks of high-quality poultry; Andhra Prawn Pickle, made with king-size prawns; Andhra Keema Pickle, using minced meat and hot and spicy Boneless Andhra Mutton Pickle with lamb tenders coated in exotic spices.
The Pickle Story
Brainchild of Preetika and Prerna Chawla, the sisters wore the mantle of picklers and learned their family recipes. So in August 2016, Pickle Shickle was born. Preetika’s Burmese maternal grandfather, George Moongsi, walked to India with his Indian wife after the Burma-India war and stayed on here thereafter. The Pickle Shickle family also has Coorgi influences and these show up in their pork pickle.
Their USP is their family recipes, handed down over three generations, and the use of no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. The sisters cook the pickles personally and in small batches to ensure quality. Their delectable pickle menu includes pork pickles as well as chicken, prawn, lotus stem, and jackfruit variations. Other hot favourites include Mere Piyaaz Gaye Rangoon, a prawn pickle with crispy onion and chilli oil, and Burmese Chilli Onion Garlic Oil.
Have you tasted any of these pickles? Tell us in the comment section below.