We’ve all been there. It’s a meal that doesn’t quite excite you, or it can stand to have an added edge – and you reach for a chutney or a pickle and slurp! The meal is now gone! That’s the magic of a great pickle (achar) or chutney – and in India, they often comprise an essential part of our meal.
Pickled and chutnied up!
With a mix of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, pickles and chutneys are good for digestion, immunity and probiotics. The difference between pickles and chutneys could be as simple as this: chutneys are freshly made pickles that might not last beyond a week, and pickles are made to last for months. Chutneys are more similar to sauces and ketchup, and are made mostly of veggies. The chutney is vital to food in South India, being part of the staple meals along with idlis and dosas.
One of the oldest methods of food preservation, pickling helps preserve excess, exotic or seasonal foods and were used by travellers and sailors as a source of veggies. Traditionally, Indian pickles are made of unripe fruits and veggies, with salt, oil, and dry chilli powder, as well as other spices. And it’s not just India! Chinese pickles use soy sauce, the Korean kimchi is an outstandingly delicious example and even the Japanese pickle veggies and fruits in soybean paste.
It’s chutney-ly good for you!
Both pickles and chutneys are great sources of antioxidants, preserved as is due to the fermenting or cooking process. These prevent us from free radicals, increase our immunity and also encourage the gut-friendly bacteria so we have better digestion. Chutneys made from leafy veggies are also great ways to consume more vitamins like C, A, K; as well as folate, iron, calcium, and potassium.
Almost all pickles are high in salt – it’s an indispensable ingredient that encourages the fermentation, acts as an anti-microbial agent and adds to the taste. But one must be careful not to consume too much salt to avoid hypertension and dehydration. Indian pickles are also oil-heavy, which means that you need to be careful eating them on a regular basis.
Chutneys are a better option, being low in salt and being freshly made, as well as including green veggies. But they aren’t time savers.
We’d say balance the two! While we’ve given you an easy guide to making pickles before, we thought we’d get specific with the chutneys and pickles we love right now!
Green Coriander Chutney Recipe
Use with dosas, rotis, in sandwiches, and even with dhokla! It’s full of nutrients and aids in digestive juice secretion, constipation, cough, fever and stabilising blood sugar levels.
- 100 gms green coriander leaves
- 5 pieces garlic
- ½ piece or 10 gms ginger
- 2-3 green chillies, to taste
- Lemon juice
- Separate coriander; keeping only green leaves and cutting the thickest parts of the stems. Wash coriander thoroughly.
- Put all the ingredients in the mixer, and blend till fine, adding a little water as you go.
- Add 2 tsp of lemon juice after the chutney is paste-like for a taste addition.
Homemade Mango Chutney Recipe
Celebrate mangoes in all their forms! Rich in vitamin C, mango chutney can help those suffering from summer diarrhoea, indigestion and sunstroke. It also builds immunity.
- 1 Raw Mango, julienned or cut into strips
- 1 tsp Jeera
- 1 piece Ginger
- 50 gms Coriander leaves
- 3-5 cloves Garlic
- Optional: Onion , chopped finely
- Crush all the ingredients with a little amount of water, and then blend to desired consistency.
Cauliflower Pickle Recipe
Enjoy the benefits of this cruciferous veggie in pickle form. Rich in cancer-fighting compounds, it also aids weight loss.
- 1 large Cauliflower
- 3 Green chillies, sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground mustard seeds (rai)
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric (haldi)
- 1/8 teaspoon Asafotida (hing)
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Mustard oil or olive oil
- Cut the cauliflower in small florets, until you have at least 4 cups.
- Wash and pat dry. Spread the cauliflower over a towel for at least an hour to air dry – you need to make sure that the cauliflower don’t have any excess water.
- Mix all the ingredients together with the cauliflower and let it marinate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
- This pickle can be refrigerated for up to one week.