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INGREDIENTS AND FLAVOURS

Aam Achaar Day to be observed for second consecutive year on April 22
Saturday, 21 April, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
APB Cook Studio, founded by Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, will celebrate Aam Achaar Day (mango pickle day) for the second consecutive year on April 22, 2018.

It will be a part of the second round of Indian food observance days, whose first round concluded with the observance of Subzi Tarkari Din.

In fact, with a number of people opining that sticking to only Aam Achaar last year was limiting, it was decided that the concept would be expanded to Achaar Day (pickle day). Hence, the day will be marked by two hashtags - #AchaarDay and #AamAchaarDay.

The research project that led to the days dedicated to Indian food involved documenting pickles from all over the country, and during the research phase, the conclusion was that no cuisine in the world could equal the repertoire of pickles that Indian cuisine boasted.

Visits to local supermarkets to see what pickles were available on the shelves shocked the researchers, who witnessed just commercially-packaged variants like mango, lime and chili pickles. A few years ago, these were jostling for space on the shelves with all kinds of regional pickles.  

Indian pickles offer some of the most diverse and exotic tastes and textures imaginable. In fact, Aam Achaar Day 2017 exposed the researchers to the fact that India has a massive range of mango pickles alone.

If they are multiplied with all the other vegetable pickles, like lime, chilli, carrot and cauliflower pickles across regional and community cuisines, the results become formidable.

And then, there are the ones that are specific to regions and communities. These include the Monji achaar of Kashmir, Ool (yam) achaar of Madhya Pradesh, Gunda Nu Athaanu of Gujarat, Ker Sangri of Rajasthan, the Bombay Duck pickle of the East Indian community, the Narangya pickle of Kerala, the Bengali Kuler Achaar, and Bogorir (jujube), Bamboo shoot and Jolpai (local olive) pickles of Assam.

Almost anything can be pickled in India, be it vegetables, fruit or meats. In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of the project was discovering the variety of fish and meat pickles India cuisines boast of.

These include the Teetar ka achaar of the north (which is now illegal), the meat pickle of Garhwal, the mutton loncha of Maharashtra, the pork pickle of Assam, the fish pada of the East Indian community and the Kolimbiche Lonche (prawn pickle) of the Pathare Prabhu community, to name a few.

Indian pickles are as artisanal as food can get. Artisanal foods are small batches of non-industrial foods that are handmade, using methods handed down from one generation to the next. Moreover, they are perilously close to extinction.

“Indian pickles certainly fit the bill. In fact, let me give you an example of my paternal grandmother, who was legendary for making upwards of 90 pickles annually. I inherited only a handful of her recipes,” said Ghildiyal.

“My maternal great-grandmother is said to have been a legendary pickle maker, but I only have descriptions of the truly unusual pickles she is said to have made,” she added.

“I can only lament over what is lost in these cases, but, that said, I do believe that we can all work to ensure we avoid more losses like this. It really is up to us to carry our legacies forward,” Ghildiyal stated.
 
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