Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#AchaarDay, everything you need to know and the start Indian Food Observance Days round 2!

#SubziTarkariDin concluded the 1st round Indian Food observance days I started celebrating last year. And just like that one year has gone past and it is time to celebrate #AamAchaarDay again on 22 April 2018! Only this time let's not stop at Amm achaar and expand the concept into #AchaarDay.

Many people felt that sticking to only Aam Achaar last year was limiting. Something I also began to feel as I got down to planning round 2 of Indian food observance days. What convinced me, completely was a research project I was commissioned to do. The project involved documenting pickles from all over India (Yes! I AM that lucky....!) An during the research phase, I realised that no cuisine in the world can equal the repertoire of pickles Indian cuisine boasts! Then, one day, I visited local supermarkets to see what pickles were available on shelves. It was shocking! The offerings were so meagre, just a handful of commercially packaged mango, lime and chilli pickles occupied spaces that just a couple of years ago, were brimming with all kinds of wonderful regional pickles.

It was heart breaking. Indian pickles offer some of the most diverse and exotic tastes and textures imaginable. Aam achaar Day 2017 exposed us to the massive range of mango pickles, alone, in India. Now multiply that with all the other vegetable like lime, chilli, carrot, cauliflower pickled across regional and community cuisines and the results become formidable. AND THEN, add all the special pickles that are unique to regions and communities such as the Monji achaar of Kashmir, Ool (Yam) achaar of MP, Gunda Nu Athaanu of Gujarat, Ker Sangri of Rajasthan, Bombay Duck pickle of the East Indian community, Narangya pickle of Kerala, Bengali Kuler Achaar, and Bogorir (jujube), Bamboo shoot and Jolpai (local olive) pickles of Assam. We can pickle almost anything in India--vegetables, fruits, even meats. In fact one of the most interesting aspects of my project was discovering the variety of fish and meat pickles we also boast in Indian cuisine. From the Teetar ka achaar of the north (now illegal), meat pickle of Garhwal, Mutton loncha of Maharashtra and Pork pickle of Assam, to the Fish Pada of the East Indian community and the Kolimbiche Lonche (pawn pickle) of the Pathare Prabhu community. And that’s STILL just scratching the surface!

My friend Saee pointed out last year that "Indian pickles are as Artisanal as food can get."  Artisanal food are non-industrial foods, handmade in small batches, using methods handed down through generations and often dangerously close to extinction. Indian Pickles certainly fit the bill! In fact let me give you an example of myself, my paternal grandmother, was legendary for making upwards of 90 pickles annually. I inherited only a handful of her recipes. And 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! 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...

So this year on Sunday 22 April 2018, we will celebrate with two hashtags. #AchaarDay and #AamAchaarDay for specifically Mango pickles where applicable.

How can we celebrate #AchaarDay on social media ?
  • Instagramers - Show us your best 'Pickleface' ! Eat a face puckering pickle, take a selfie/picture and share with us using #Pickleface !
  • Video Bloggers - Traditional pickle recipes will make great video content. Here is
  • Food Bloggers - this is a fantastic way to be inspired and create content! Write about pickles, compile listicles on regional pickles, pickle sellers (look at mine at the end of this post). Share stories and memories of pickle making, or pickles and their recipes from your family or regional cuisine. All great ideas for blogposts/articles with unique content. Go blog and write! And share links with us using hashtag #AchaarDay. For example, read Saher’s blog on Konkani Muslim Lonchas and Aparna's blog on Andhra Avakai from last year.
  • Chefs, restaurants and/or food outlets - Do your serve unusual Pickles or pickle-based dishes? Tell the world using #AchaarDay hashtag.
  • Remember to use the #AacharDay hashtag!

How to Celebrate #AchaarDay?
Pickle making is messy business!
  • Eat Achaar
  • Recipes - Pull out family recipes, get together with the elders in your family and make achaarDocument recipes. Share regional, community and family pickle recipes and stories.
  • Have a Pickle making session with family and friends
  • Can’t or don’t want to get your hands dirty? Share pictures, videos, stories and favourite memories of Achaar, achaar wallaas favourite achaars eaten at homes or local food outlets.
  • Take your pickle to  #AchaarDay party! Have a pickle potluck. Cook up a huge batch of Dal rice and rotis, and invite everyone to bring an achaar! Pickle heaven!
  • Ditch the supermarket and buy local regional pickle, try new things, here is a list of pickle makers I have compiled. (Do share any others you might know.

Pickle Makers
Type of Pickles Available
Makes a whopping 12-15 types of pickles. Some Punjabi and others her own including mutton, chicken, pork and kheema pickle. ALo caters.
Gujarati Pickles (And Gujarati Pop-ups)
Parsi Lagan nu achaar, Bombil pickle, Vasanu, Tarapori Patio, Dudhi Murabba and more.
Parsi Prawn and Brinjal pickles and more to come.
(Also Parsi catering)
Sindhi and Kutchi Pickles
Bengali Pickles and relishes and more
Fantastic signature pickles, amazinf Bengali and other food pop up meals in Bandra.
Punjabi pickles
(Different from above)
Chicken, Pork, Prawn, Mutton, Jackfruit, Lotus Stem, Mushroom
Gujarati Pickles
Gujarati Pickles and some others as well.
Lovely South Indian artisanal pickles
Largest selection of pickles from around India
North East Indian Pickles
Assamese Bhoot Jolokia, Jolpai pickles and North East cuisine pop-ups
Goan Sorpotel (On order) and some fabulous Goan food on order.
Pathare Prabhu pickles (On order) and Pathare Prabhu food on order.

Please to tag the new page on Indian Food Days - The Annual Indian Food Calendar  (Feel free to follow this if you want to follow everything happening). If you would like to join into conversations, participate in celebrations and more, we also have a group now Indian Food Observance Days Facebook Group.

I will end with a deliciously pickle-y recap of last year’s #AamAchaarDay celebrations. Here's a blogpost on the regional pickle making event at APB Cook Studio. Or watch the Aam Achaar Day video (don’t miss the part where Harini sings a traditional Tamil song associated with pickling). Click on the #AamAcharDay FB Twitter and Instagram to see all the wonderful updates from last year. Also read this story by Vikram Doctor in the Economic times. And this story by Avantika Bhuyan in ET Panache. And lastly my blogpost on what #AamAchaarDay meant to me.

This #AchaarDay I am hosting a Pickle potluck, Email me if you would like to join the fun. I am also really late with it but I’v decided to attempt the Blog from AtoZ in April challenge starting tomorrow. So watch this space!
Have a wonderfully piquant #AchaarDay!
Our pickle makers from last year (Usha Wadhwa, Heena Munshaw, Saee Koranne Khandekar, Rhea Dalal, Harini Prakash, Myself, My daughter Nastasha and Geeta Sridhar. )


foodietweeter said...

This year looks to be poised for a bigger #AchaarDay with many happy #Pickleface

Yojana Khanduri said...

That sounds great��!#Achaarday��
We are a small setup based out of Dehradun, into homemade pickles where I carry forward the legacy of my mum's achaar and chutney recipe.
Our fb link is:
Instagram handle: shubha.s_homemade

Pia said...

Thanks Rushina. I am always in a pickle! Give me anything and I will pickle it for you. Love the non vegetarian pickles. I was introduced to "sasa achar" by Maratha girls in college. Awesome rabbit pickle.