Mughal Dynasty Writes on Indian Preserves

September 12, 2022

We all know that poppadum’s go great with traditional Indian chutney’s especially mango and chilli but did you know that these popular side dishes were created originally just to preserve food in a hot climate, read further to find out about their origins and uses.

Pickles, chutneys and relishes have traditionally been used in many societies as a way of preserving foods as, by covering items in either salt or vinegar, people discovered that this process stops the bacteria responsible for decomposition and replaces them with another acid producing variety which gives the pickle its flavour. The popularity of pickles in India may be because of the high temperatures experienced by much of the population, contributing to the swift decay of food and impressing the need for effective storage.

When it comes to the food being pickled, mangoes are an enduring and popular choice while other plants (lemons, onions, chillies) and meats are also used. The medium in which they are pickled depends on what region you are in as northern states prefer mustard oil while the south inclines towards sesame oil; both of which are excellent preserving agents. While it is not always necessary to cook the ingredients there is no reasons why you can’t and it is custom to cook the item being pickled in the oil alongside whatever spices are available (turmeric, mustard seeds etc.)

Historically, chutney was a type of relish made from various ground ingredients, including mangoes, coconut, mint, tomatoes and other nuts and spices. This is the root of the modern chutney enjoyed in the UK today where mangoes are preserved with spices in a sugar syrup; a recipe that has been popular since the colonial era. Of course, other boiled fruits can be used and it is not unusual to see either citrus or gooseberry flavours.


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