Art of making Pickles

Today’s post is about ‘Art of making pickles’. In India, our culture and customs are entwined with food and seasons.  There are certain things that we always learned from our grandparents, especially about eating right- as they are like encyclopedias about food, ingredients, spices, food effects, seasons of a particular ingredients..  and believe me art of Pickling comes through your grandparents always.  Making pickle seems to be easiest recipe but hardest to pull off as the results are never instant, it shows your skill of preserving the ingredients of this season till the next season arrives.  For which you not only need skill- but you will need lot of soul too.  In our homes you will find pickles which are a year old or more.  My mum’s best lemon pickle are dated at least a couple of years, and they get medicinal.  Read this superb article by India’s best nutritionist Rujuta Diwakar  on why pickles are necessary in everyday diet. The one thing which you will always find in an Indian lunch Dabba (a meal box that people/kids carry from home) is pickle.  If you have been to India and have enjoyed a meal or Thali in Indian restaurants then you must have tasted it.  My mother is  best in the world for making pickles, not only because they are so balanced in flavor and texture, but also because she can probably pickle with the least ingredients possible in the kitchen and even with her eyes shut!!   Below I am sharing some pics of her latest pickle session, which can happen even in the middle of the night when she is not feeling sleepy.   I am not sharing exact recipes (because one I don’t believe in EXACT recipes and two I never believed in exact recipes) but this is enough to make a small jar for yourself.  So lets go picture by picture.

Today’s pickle is Mango Pickle – Aam Ka Achaar  by our collaborator my mom Bina 


Start by rubbing mangoes with a piece of cloth (never wash the veggies you are about to pickle, wipe clean by rubbing with kitchen towel). Below you are seeing roughly diced pieces of mangoes.  These were rubbed with salt and turmeric- for 2 Aamiya (raw mango) she has advised 2 tsp of turmeric and 2 tsp of salt.

Raw mango pieces marinated for  4 to 6 hrs in Turmeric and salt only.

  Massage the pieces with your fingers and let them sit for 4 to 6 hours. After 6 hour you will find mangoes release water like in below picture.  This spice juice is not thrown, soak raw chickpeas (just enough in proportion to the liquid not too many) in it in a bowl for the next 12 hours.  And the mango pieces are left in open to de-hydrate a bit (preferably on a newspaper) till the time we are gathering the spices and prepping for the final steps which will be around an hour.


Now lets gather all other ingredients  required


  • 1 tbsp Yellow mustard seeds (if you find black mustard only, use it in replacement)
  • 1 tbsp green Fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp earthy Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp black Kalonji seeds
  • Heeng  / asafoetida 1 tsp
  • Chilli 1 tsp
  • salt 1 tsp
  • Turmeric
  • Mustard Oil (only)
Heat a pan and toast all the dry seeds for a couple of minute till fragrant 
Coarsely grind the seeds into a powdered masala mix

Once that is ready mix the spices with the mango pieces


Add the ground spice mix, 2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp turmeric, asafoetida 

Now mix in the mustard oil,  around 2 tbsp


Above is how your mix should look after you have mixed all the spices and oil

Now come the final and crucial part,  preserving the pickle with the help of Vinegar.  In this recipe vinegar is not used as an ingredient exactly, but instead the bottle Jar will be given a treatment with vinegar to preserve the Pickle.  Do just as below

Use Synthetic Vinegar only
Pour a tablespoon in the jar.  Close the lid and shake the jar vigorously 
Through away the extra vinegar 

Now stuff pickled mangoes in  this Jar.  The size of the jar is also important, it should not be too big in comparison to the mixture otherwise the air in the jar will spoil the whole process.

Art of Pickling

Now the next step will happen after 12 hours when our chickpeas are swollen and have absorbed all the spice juice.   Once that is ready,  empty the contents of the pickle jar in a mixing bowl and carefully mix all the chickpeas with the mangoes.  Now, fill this mixture back to the Glass jar tightly and close the lid.  If you need another jar for the rest of the mixture, prepare it as shown above with vinegar and fill it upto brim and close the lid.

Ideally, pickles are given some daylight out in the open for better life.  So find a dry place where there is sunlight for couple of hours, prefer a side where you find post noon sunlight.   If you can do it for a 2-3 days in continuation it is good for the AGE of your pickle.  Then it is ready to eat.

Enjoy this beautiful recipe for a year or till you finish it.   Don’t worry there is no Expiry.

Serve with Aloo ka Parantha – potatoes stuffed Flat breads OR Onion-Mint Parantha OR Puri Bhaji-Indian Brunch OR Mathri -the Indian Cookies or try with a piece of bread

Your doubts or question about the recipe are most welcome.  Please do write to me.

Eat fresh Live Healthy

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