Pickles and chutneys are known to add flavour to even the most simple and basic meals. If the pickle is a seafood one, trust me it can take the simplest of meals to a whole new level. For most Indian cuisines, pickles accompany the main course. Indian pickles can be made from almost every vegetable and fruit, with fresh spices and herbs. Each and every family has their own version of making them. In addition to vegetable and fruit pickles, Indian cuisine has a large repertoire of non vegetarian chutneys and pickles too; like fish pickle, prawn pickle, mussel pickle, chicken pickle, and mutton pickle. In India, the variety of pickling agents stretch as widely as the foods being pickled; we pickle in oil, brine, water, vinegar and in lime juice. The oil keeps the pickle stable over several months while the pickle gets its acidic, anti-bacterial properties from its souring agents like vinegar, lime juice, tamarind.
On the other hand chutneys are supporting actors that score big in any gathering, teasing the palate and enhancing the flavour, they can turn any dish into a finger licking delicacy. Chutneys can be made with a huge range of ingredients, from yogurt to peanuts. Some are smooth, some are chunky; some are cooked, some are raw; some are served as a condiment or dip and some are served as a side dish. And they are diverse because Indian food varies so much from region to region, depending on local ingredients.
I can guarantee that these recipes are a keeper and trust me, you would want to make them, because the final product will blow you away! That is how delicious they are…Maybe you should just try them and decide for yourselves instead of letting me ramble on forever, sounds like a plan?
1. Eral Urugai, Prawn Pickle, Pondicherry
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of seafood pickle is the ubiquitous Prawn Pickle. No Indian meal is complete without a dash of pickle. This prawn recipe from Pondicherry is a treat to the senses! It is here that finest Indian spices, ancient Indian wisdom and local prawns come together in perfect harmony in an exciting avatar. A jar full of prawns are marinated in a spicy mix, and then deep fried to perfection. They’ll make the ideal accompaniment to any meal.
Since it is an instant pickle, you could fire up creativity in your kitchen at any time and serve it to your family or when friends drop by. Being spicy, it goes extremely well with a simple fish curry and rice or a dal and rice, but tastes just as good spread on top of a buttered toast. Just pick up the juiciest prawns
that you can find.
Recipe: Prawn Pickle
2. Mathi Achar, Sardine Pickle, Kerala
This fish pickle from the kitchens of Kerala and can be made can be made with Sardines, Butter Fish, Seer Fish
. Fish has to be marinated with red chilly powder, salt, and pepper powder; then deep fried preferably in gingelly oil. A roasted spice mix makes this fish pickle very unique, flavourful and aromatic. A perfect amalgamation of vinegar, chilli powder, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds and curry leaves gives this pickle its much needed punch. I promise you will definitely keep going back for seconds once you taste this. Sardine usually has a very limited shelf life and sometimes needs to be processed immediately. Sardine Pickle is a delicious option that you have to increase the shelf life of Sardines. Try it out!
Recipe: Sardine Pickle
3. Tungtap, Fish Chutney, Meghalaya
Rice, meat and fish preparations are a staple in Meghalaya cuisine. Popular dishes among Khasis and Jaintia tribe are Jadoh, Ki Kpu, Tung-rymbai (fermented soya paste) and pickled bamboo shoots. No traditional lunch in Meghalaya is complete without a serving of the Tungtap. Immaculately charred fish is tossed with golden-fried onions, fresh greens, and fiery red chillies to create this North-Eastern delectable delicacy. Enjoyed with Jadoh (traditional flavoured rice) this dry fish paste is a rich, thick seafood flavoured chutney with a tinge of heat, prepared with an assortment of herbs and spices. This recipe is sure to impart a daily zing to your dal chawal. It is also packaged and sold in Meghalaya. If you ever visit the state then do bring back a couple of bottles.
Recipe: Tungtap Fish Chutney
4. Eromba, Fish Chutney, Manipur
is one of the signature dishes of Manipuri cuisine. A dish which is simple yet exotic, it is one of the most popular dishes of Manipur – no feast is complete without it. So what exactly is Eromba
? A traditional chutney of the Meitei’s residing in the Imphal valley in North East India, it is nothing but boiled vegetables mashed with ngari
) and morok
(chilly). But don’t be misled by the simplicity of it because the taste is something Manipuris swear by. This is a really spicy chutney made with the combination of favorite local ingredients like fermented dried fish, fermented bamboo-shoot and Raja/King chilli. The beauty of Eromba
, apart from its taste, is that it has many ‘avatars’. You can find Yendem
(galangal) and Soibum
(bamboo shoots) Eromba.
The combination is endless depending on your culinary imagination and the vegetables in your pantry. And it is healthy as it is totally oil-free.
Recipe: Eromba Fish Chutney
5. Na’kam Baring Belati, Dry Fish Chutney with Roasted Tomatoes, Meghalaya
There are various tribes who stay in the beautiful hilly state of Meghalaya and the Garos are among well-known ones. Garo recipes are quite enticing and rice is their staple food. This Garo dish is basically a dry fish chutney in which roasted tomatoes are used. You will need simple ingredients like 2 tomatoes, 10 dry fish, a few crushed garlic pods, mustard oil, salt, chopped chilies. At first, roast the dry fish and tomatoes on fire. Ensure the tomatoes become blackened post roasting. Scrape the blackened skin of roasted fish. Now mix tomatoes, garlic, salt, chillies and the dry fish in a pestle and crush them well. This should be like a fine paste. Now, mix the mustard oil. Serve this chutney as a side dish.
Recipe: Dry Fish Chutney with Roasted Tomatoes
6. Goan Para Fish Pickle, Dried Mackerel Pickle
Para is prepared prior to the onset of the monsoon, when fresh fish may not always be available. Para is usually served as an accompaniment to other dishes. The chosen fish in this dish is the humble Mackerel which is salted and dried in the hot sun before it can be used. Nowadays the Goan marinated Para Fish Pickle is mostly stored in covered glass jars and the paste is ground with handy kitchen gadgets instead of the laborious lengthy grinding of the spices from scratch. Para is best enjoyed with some homemade Goan dal.
Recipe: Dried Mackerel Pickle
7. Nghe Thu’um, Naga Dried Fish Chutney
The food from each state in the North-East is unique. Nghe Thu’um is a chutney that’s typically made of dried and fermented fish, chillies and tomatoes. . Locals in Nagaland swear by it. Not just any chilly, but this unique chutney from Nagaland requires the hottest chillies like Naga Jolokia and Bhoot Jolokia to explode your mouth. A good Naga chutney is defined by the quality of the fermented fish. This chutney will taste best when good quality dry fish from Nagaland is blended with various spices to give it a sweet and spicy taste that will leave you licking your fingers.
Recipe: Naga Dried Fish Chutney
8. Netholi Karivadu Chammanthi Podi, Dried Anchovies Chutney, Kerala
Chammanthipodi is roasted coconut spice chutney powder and every home in Kerala has their own stock of their favourite ones be it with vegetables or dried fish. In the earlier days it used to be prepared in the traditional stone mortar and pestle. They say this method of preparation adds exceptional taste to the Chammanthipodi rather than one prepared using a modern mixer. Chammanthipodi is an all-time favourite of all Keralites and a life-saver of most hostelites staying away from home. A treasure hostelites bring in bulk and savour as a lifeline until they get some home cooked food. It goes extremely well with rice and is even eaten with idli and dosa. In this recipe the dry fish is first fried and then ground along with coconut and the other spices. It lasts for at least 2 weeks and more if refrigerated. It is best eaten with rice or kanji (fermented rice).
Recipe: Dried Anchovies Chutney
9. Kallumakkai Achar, Mussel Pickle, Kerala
Kallumakkai or Mussels Pickle is a unique and special achaar which is very easy to make. Mussels is one of the popular seafood seen abundantly along the shore. Making achaar or pickle out of mussels is a great way to preserve them for when they aren’t in season. The secret ingredient in Kallumakkai Achaar is the gingelly oil that is used in the pickle giving it a characteristic zing. A plate of boiled rice, yogurt and a serving of Kallumakai Achaar makes for a simple, unfussy yet delicious meal. This homestyle pickle tastes great as soon as it is made and does not compulsorily need the long preservation period. However, if you are able to resist your ravenous taste buds, it is sure to taste even better.
Recipe: Mussel Pickle
So, if you are done savouring typical Indian seafood cuisine with a melange of spices, exotic vegetables and gravies; and if you have in you the spirit of adventure, try these seafood chutney and pickle recipes. We bet you won’t be disappointed.
About the Author
She day-dreams about new recipes,
devours cook-books, writes, cooks and
takes pictures of delicious food.