Pickle Passion: The Fascinating History and Culture of Pickles

There are different meanings to the word Pickle. Every region has put their own twist to it. For instance, in the United States and Canada, cucumbers soaked in brine are called pickles. Whereas in the United Kingdom, it is a sweet and sour chutney made up of several veggies and condiments. 

But in our South Asian culture, pickles have a much wider meaning. Also known as Achaar, Achar or Aachar, these pickles are condiments that are consumed in almost all the South Asian cuisine. Aam ka achar is certainly one of the most popular ones. 

These achars are sweet, sour, tangy, savoury and overall just delicious. An absolute burst of flavour in the mouth. Therefore, they are also excellent palate cleansers when you are having a large meal with various courses.


How is Indian Achar made?

Mango pickles served in glass bottle pack of 400gm
Mango pickles in glass bottle made by SWAD


Indian Pickles or achar are one of the most popular side dishes in the country. While the chief ingredients remain the same, there are a few changes that make an achar taste so different even in the same country. 

If you take a mango pickle or aam ka achar from Southern India and compare it with one from the North, it is going to taste vastly different. That is why you can not exactly pin down a single recipe when talking about Indian Achar. 

However, there are a few popular choices in terms of recipes that we can talk about. These choices include Mango Pickle, Mixed Pickle, Garlic Pickle, Green Chilli Pickle, Methia Mango Pickle, Stuffed Red Chilli Pickle, Pachranga Pickle, Aam Chunda and more. 

Let’s look at a standard aam ka achar recipe to get the basic idea of the Indian Pickle:

How Aam ka Achar is made :

Here are the  ingredients that you will need:


      • ½ Tsp Methi or Fenugreek Seeds

      • 1 Tbsp Rai or Mustard seeds

      • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil

      • 1 or 2 Unripe Mangoes depending on the size

      • 4 Garlic Cloves

      • 3 Tbsp Red Chilli Powder

      • 2 Tsp Salt

    Now, this may sound like a lot but all of these ingredients are easily found in your kitchen pantry.

    The method:

    First, you are going to roast the fenugreek seeds until they are fragrant. Put the roasted methi and mustard into a food processor or blender and turn them into a fine powder. Simultaneously, warm the olive oil in a pan. This will help elongate the shelf life of your achar.

    Now, cut the mangoes into cubes and chop up the garlic and we are onto the final stage. Add the prepared ingredients into a bowl, along with spices but add the olive oil last after making sure it is cool. 

    Cover the bowl and let the ingredients work their magic for the next 24 hours. The product, at this stage, may look very dark and not so achar like but do not fret. You are doing it right. 

    When you come back to check on it the next day, you will be greeted with a nice more pickled gravy texture and intense smell. The spices, especially the salt will have drawn out the juices from the mango and given it a more achari texture. You may see the olive oil separating at the sides and that is totally fine. 

    And there you have it. Your very own aam ka achar. A lot of work for a tiny tangy bowl, isn’t it?

    SWAD variety of Pickles

    Don’t worry, that is exactly what SWAD is here to help you with. SWAD offers a wide variety of pickles such as Punjabi mixed Pacharaga pickles, Punjabi mango pickles, Andhra Avakaya Mango pickles, Chhundo, Sweet lime pickles, murabba, Gorkeri, Lime pickles and much more. You name it, we got it.

    With our fresh, clean, organic ingredients and hygienic processes, you are sure to be delivered a top-notch product. We aim to exceed expectations in terms of taste, quality as well as packaging. 

    Let’s take a look at the history of some of these incredibly loved pickles that we have for you.

    Punjabi Pachranga Pickles:

    The word Pachranga quite literally means one with 5 colours. On dissecting, Pach is 5 and Ranga is colours. Therefore, a pickle with 5 fruits or veggies is called a Pachranga Pickle.

    Pachranga mixed Pickles hail from, as the name suggests, Punjab. Pachranga Pickles actually are often referenced with the entire northwestern Indian region. 

    Pachranga Pickles are made from mango, amla, onions, lemon, ginger, garlic, Indian pickle berries and more. All these ingredients are cured in salt, spices and oil. As mentioned earlier, this helps draw out moisture.

    Andhra Avakaya Pickles:

    Hailing from Andhra Pradesh. This is a popular South Indian side where the main ingredient is yet again mangoes but with a combination of mustard powder and other spices.

    It showcases Adhra’s taste and cuisine immaculately and is popularly eaten with rice. Andhra Avakaya holds the power to elevate any dish to a more tangy profile.

    The recipe of this pickle is a lot similar to the standard aam ka achar recipe we shared earlier. Nonetheless, every individual tweak the flavour to their liking.

    Lime Pickle:

    Shifting from the common mango theme, here we have got ourselves Nimbu ka achar. Another very popular side. 

    Lime pickles call for a lot of the same major ingredients but with added turmeric, sugar, fennel seeds, and onion seeds. The process is also quite similar to the roasting of seeds and adding spices to the cut lemons. The sugar in this recipe helps cut down the sharp sourness of the lemons. 

    Interestingly, there is a funny story attached to pickled limes. Apparently, in the late 1860s, pickled limes were forbidden to children! How ghastly! A Boston Physician thought that they were unnatural and bad for children. 

    He proved otherwise so enjoy your Nimbu ka achar all you want!

    Green Chili Pickle:

    We know exactly what you are thinking. Chilis? In an achar? Isn’t it too hot? While traditionally pickles are indeed made from sour fruits or veggies, it is ot limited to it. 

    For this hari mirch ka achar, you are going to use significantly fewer hot chillies. There. Convinced yet? Green chilli pickles call for mustard seeds, mustard oil, turmeric powder and lemons. 

    All of these ingredients help to balance the heat from the chillies and this pickle is often served with fried pakoras. Still, they also go well with chapatis and sabzis.

    Stuffed red chilli pickles:

    While we are on the topic of chillies, let’s talk about the incredible stuffed red chilli pickles. Yes, you read that correctly. Lal mirch ka achar.

    The fresh red chillies are deseeded, dried down and then stuffed with a pickle masala. This masala is made from a coarse spice mix of mustard, fennel and fenugreek seeds, dried mango powder, turmeric, hing and salt. This powder mix is turned into a paste using a bit of mustard oil. 

    The chillies are stuffed, put in a jar with mustard oil and left to pickle. And voila! You have got stuffed red chilli pickle. 

    So why do people love pickles?

    While taste is certainly the winning factor, there are many other reasons why people love this tangy goodness.

    PIckles actually consist of a lot of probiotics that come from them being fermented. Probiotics, often known as good bacteria, are really helpful for your gut.

    In fact, a range of nutrients, including carbohydrates, calcium, salt, potassium, magnesium, and many others, are abundant in Indian pickles. They are also rich in vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K.

    Achar is incredibly delicious, fat-free as well as significantly low in calories. A lot of people crave salty, sour, tangy dishes. Pickles satisfy just that. 

    SWAD to satisfy your tangy taste buds: 

    SWAD has that mom’s magic taste that remains unmatched. With our long list of varieties, there is sure to be something for everyone. We pride ourselves on our clean and hand-picked ingredients as well as carefully curated processes. We strive to deliver the best products.

    Satisfy your pickle cravings and staple sides with SWAD now!