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Pickling losing sheen in traditional India!

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New Delhi :Despite the art of pickling fading in modern times, there are food enthusiasts who still take pride in dishing out authentic and unique pickles as the Parsi’s ‘Lagan nu Achar’ or ‘Bamboo pickle’ of Meghalaya tribals, who enact its recipe in a dance.

“A pickle is a reflection of who you are. It requires right ingredients, right attitude and patience,” says celebrity chef and restaurateur Kunal Kapur.

Although he admits that pickling is losing sheen, he feels that those who have still preserved the art are immensely proud of their techniques and uniqueness associated with the delectable culinary style.

When it comes to pickle, we only think about the traditional lime, mango and chilli pickles, but “pickling is a higher form of art-meets-science…feel proud to pickle,” Kapur told PTI in an interview.

The 36-year-old Delhi-based Chef Consultant with the Leela Group, as a part of his countrywide tour while hosting TV show ‘Pickle Nation’, has been intrigued and surprised to see the unique techniques and ingredients used to make pickle, which he feels is still a very essential part of Indian food.

He also got an insight into the pickle makers’ vivid reasons and stories behind how and why they prepare them.

“For instance, with the Parsis in Ahmedabad, it is mandatory to make ‘Lagan nu Achar’ and give it to the elders and relatives in the family before they formalise the marriage of a couple,” he said.

“In another fascinating instance, the Karbi tribe from Meghalaya has evolved a special dance that enacts the recipe of the Bamboo pickle.

“The ancestors knew that if the bamboo was not pickled in the right season then it might lead to hunger in the winters, and so the recipe for this crucial pickle was made into a dance form and till date the couples enact this dance to reveal the recipe,” said Kapur, who recently launched his fine-dining at Souk al Bahar in Downtown Dubai.

Detailing the fascinating art of pickling, he said that in Jodhpur, the ‘ker sangri ka achar’ is the legacy of love for nature of the Bishnoi tribe.

The Ker shrub and the Sangri tree are the few that grow in this otherwise difficult region. The fruit of the ‘khejri tree’ is the sangri and it is a very critical tree to the ecology of the place. Many have sacrificed their lives to protect this tree.

“The ‘ker sangri’ pickle made from this tree is one of the reasons for survival of the Bishnoi tribe,” said Kunal.

PTI