Indians aren’t the only ones who use the humble achar to liven up meals. Be it bland food on a student budget, or depth-starved broths at home, the pickle is a globally ubiquitous kickstarter for flavour. Relish, sauerkraut, piccalilli, kimchi, curtidos, chow chow, tsukemono, kaapse kerrievis—the same idea of fermentation in liquid, oil and spices bears several names, depending on who you ask. Once you begin exploring this world, you’ll realise that India has hefty bragging rights in this sphere, with an unimaginable variety right at home—and we’re not talking the usual mango thokku or sweet-and-sour lime here:
Recipes for these pickles aren’t hard to come by, but sourcing some of the ingredients could prove difficult. Online orders are your best bet in that case, as many of the basic pastes come premade and pre-spiced. Let us know if you get a taste for anything off this list.
All images have been made by Rangeet Ghosh.