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What is the difference between Pickles or Achaar, Murabbas and Chutney?
Last Updated : Jul 13,2018
For many people these three words have become somewhat interchangeable which is not surprising as the labels used by manufacturer are equally confused. In culinary terms, however these are clear differences between these three types of preserving vegetables or fruits.
Pickles or achaars can be made with vegetables or fruits. Vegetables are usually salted, either with dry salt (e.g. Punjabi Aam ka Achaar) or brine (e.g. Crunchy Vegetable Pickle). Dry salted vegetables are then packed in oil, usually mustard oil. Pickling is usually done in oil, vinegar, lemon juice or brine (i.e. salt solution).
Murabbas are essentially sweet preserves. Murabbas are primarily fruit or mango based. Chopped fruits or mango pieces are mixed with sugar or jaggery and spices and simmered for a long time or matured in the sun till they reach a jam like consistency. Their flavours improve and mellow with time. They have a shorter life span as compared to oil based pickles with the exception of the traditional Gujarati Quick Mango Chunda, or Methambo which keep well for longer periods.
Chutneys are again of two kinds - those that are preserves (e.g. Pineapple and Sultana Chutney) and those that are freshly prepared for every meal (e.g. Tomato Coconut Chutney) using ingredients that are in season and are readily available.
No matter where they are from or when they are used, pickles, chutneys and murabbas are always an excellent extra ingredient that will complement or improve the flavour of any meal.
There are so many different combinations and methods of preparation that nearly every region in India has its own special recipe.
what is the difference between pickles or achaar, murabbas and chutney
During the mango season in the summer in Punjab, one can see at least two or three earthenware jars full of pickled raw mangoes maturing in the sun outside homes. This typical Punjabi recipe for making mango pickle is most popular in the region. The combination of fennel seeds, nigella seeds with mustard and other pickling spices is what distinguishes this mango pickle from its Gujarati counterpart methia keri. Sun-dried mangoes used in this pickle impart a salty chewy taste and also improve the shelf life of the pickle. Alternatively, use mangoes in brine, just drain the mangoes out of the brine solution and mix them with pickling spices. This is a very simple recipe to follow. Just keep in mind the basics of pickle making - use a clean sterilised jar, see that there is no moisture and ensure that mustard oil forms a covering layer over the ingredients in the jar.
Crisp vegetable pieces in chilli, mustard and brine (salt solution). Choose any combination of fresh winter vegetables for this pickle and finely chop them. The vegetables are then immersed in a salt solution and left aside for a day. This is done to reduce the water content of vegetables, which improves their shelf life. The next day, spices viz. mustard, turmeric and chilli powders are added and mixed in the pickle. The pickle is ready to serve immediately. You can refrigerate it to keep it for longer.
Mango chunda is a preserve that is common to all Gujarati
households. The traditional preparation of chunda is time consuming, the heat of sun being used to dissolve the sugar till the pickle reaches a clear syrupy consistency and the mango shreds are translucent.
This is a quick version of this very popular recipe that tastes superb and is surprisingly easy to prepare. The secret of making a perfect chunda is the one string consistency which is very important. This simple recipe will help you stock up a year's supply of mango chunda.
Chunda is popularly served with plain theplas
or methi theplas
, but you can also enjoy with rotis, puris and parathas
Methambo is one of the best known pickles. Gujaratis are great consumers of all sorts of sweet and spicy pickles, with methambo being one of their favourites.
Mustard seeds and round red chillies are first added to the oil, then the mango pieces dressed with turmeric powder and salt are sautéed till tender, after which jaggery is added and cooked till it has dissolved.
After the methambo has cooled down completely, it is spiced with chilli powder. Methambo is very similar to golkeri, but the only difference is that methambo is tempered with whole spices whereas golkeri is not. It is an excellent accompaniment
for almost all meals.
Pineapple is a refreshing fruit and makes an interesting chutney that contrasts well with hot curries
and spicy parathas
More syrupy than most chutneys, this sweet and spicy version is none the less thick enough to hold the pineapple chunks and sultanas prettily in suspension.
Cinnamon and clove pieces flavour this chutney to perfection. Do not overcook this chutney because chances are that it might crystallize. If it does crystallize, just add 2 tablespoons of water and bring the chutney to a boil.
Cool and bottle again in a sterilised glass jar. Store this refrigerated for upto 6 months.
Easy and quick to prepare. Almost all South Indian
snacks are served with a variety of chutneys on the side.
This is a popular dosai chutney served in Tamil Nadu. This cooked chutney stays well for upto 2 days in an air-tight container in the fridge, but it is best when freshly prepared.
Quick pickles like this always come in handy when your taste buds yearn for a bit of fun, but you don’t have the patience to make a traditional pickle that involves maturing, drying, etc.
Although it takes very little time to prepare, this unique pickle of carrot and capsicum has a very exhilarating flavour, thanks to a masala mixture that combines a couple of seeds and spices. You can especially notice the brilliant flavours of mustard and fenugreek in this Quick Carrot and Capsicum Pickle.
You can make a small batch of this and store it in the refrigerator in a dry and clean airtight container for three or four days.
In the quest for quick and easy accompaniments, try the Instant Mango Pickle
and the Instant Chilli Pickle
Peaches have long been a favourite pickle ingredient. For pickling, use peaches that are just ripe so that they will remain firm and retain their shape when simmered in sugar syrup. You can peel the fruit or use it along with the skin.
This fruity pickle is interestingly spiced with cinnamon and cloves. A little salt is added to most sweet pickles to enhance the sweetness of the pickle. It can be eaten the day it is made or can be refrigerated and stored for upto 1 month.
Aam ki Launji
, Amla Murabba
, Angoor ka Murabba
, Grated Amla Murabba
and Kesar Elaichi Mango Murabba
are some more fruity pickles which go well as an accompaniment to the main course.
If you have never tried pickling raisins before, you have missed something all along! It is time to try it out, right away. Very different and addictively tasty, this Kishmish ka Murabba is a unique sweet pickle made of raisins, sweetened with brown sugar and honey.
The brown sugar gives the murabba an exquisite taste, which must be tried to be understood. If you are fond of sweet accompaniments, you can also try the Pineapple and Raisin Chutney
, and the Grated Amla Murabba
An invaluable winter preserve. Amlas (Indian gooseberries) are a major ingredient in several herbal tonics as they are reputed to be good for the liver, eyes and stomach. Amlas are the richest known source of vitamin C. Amlas are abundantly available during the winter months. I actually buy a large quantity of this fruit each year to make murabbas. Whole amlas simmered in a cardamom and saffron flavoured syrup is one of my personal favourites. There are several traditional recipes for making this murabba. Some soak the amlas in alum (phitkari) overnight whilst others sun-dry amlas. I find it easiest to cook the amlas in boiling water to get rid of all its bitter juices. The entire process takes about 2 to 3 days. First the amlas are simmered in a thin sugar syrup and left aside for 2 days during which the amlas slowly and gradually soak in the syrup. On the third day, the syrup is boiled again along with the flavouring to a thick honey like consistency and the amlas are added. The thick syrup helps in the preservation of the murabba and also complements the sharp and acidic amla taste. When preserved for a long period of time, the syrup of the murabba turns to a dark brown to an almost black colour and takes in all the goodness of the amlas. I am sure you will enjoy this recipe as much I have enjoyed making it for you.
A pungent chutney of garlic, spiced up with chilli powder and pepped up with lemon juice.Lehsun ki Chutney combines wonderfully with plain and simple dishes like Bajra Rotla
It can also be used to perk up sandwiches
, and other savoury snacks
. This chutney stays fresh for upto 2 weeks when refrigerated in an air-tight container.
A sprightly and light chutney made with a combination of aromatic mint and coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger and onions, the Pudina Chutney is an invaluable tool for the Indian chef.
The dash of lime is perhaps the master stroke in this chutney, that enhances the flavour of all the other ingredients.
This handy chutney can be used in the preparation of several recipes including chaat, sandwiches and even Parathas
, apart from being served as a delightful accompaniment to several Indian
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