Pickles are an integral part of Indian cuisine. From south to north or east to west, you will definitely get pickle in every household. From eating them along with rice, roti, curries and vegetables to pairing them with parathas and tea, they are significant side dishes in our cuisine. There are a variety of pickles that are made at home or produced by factories. Some of the common pickles that we consume are mango pickle, lemon pickle, mixed pickle and garlic pickle etc. Pickles are consumed for their salty, tangy and spicy taste and even if one element out of these three doesn’t come out the way it is supposed to, then the pickle loses its taste. On whole we can say “NO MEAL IS COMPLTE WITHOUT PICKLE”
Like any other Indian cuisine spices plays the major role to get that tangy & spicy taste to our pickles. Spices have been part of Indian cuisine since the beginning of time. No matter which state you are in and what you are having for the meal, veg or non-veg, it is impossible not to have spices. The essence of all Indian food lies in the spices. However, the Indian spices go beyond the flavour and taste. Along with making food flavourful, Indian spices have several health benefits known worldwide. Contrary to the popular belief that spices are not healthy, the spices widely used in Indian kitchens offer various health benefits. Traditionally, Indian households have been using these spices as ingredients because of their benefits but in the fast-paced lifestyle, we have begun to forget the roots. Here is a little recall of how the spices are used in pickle and their multiple benefits to people:
Red Chilli Powder (Mirchi): This powerful spice packs in tonnes of flavour and helps protect the heart, reduce inflammation, increase immunity and aids metabolism. Capsaicin, the key component of red chillies is responsible for its health benefits and strong taste.
Turmeric (Haldi): Apart from adding beautiful colour to our food, turmeric helps fight inflammation, improve digestion and immunity, lower cholesterol levels, and is full of antioxidants. Curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric, lends these powers to turmeric.
Coriander (Dhania): Coriander added to food as a whole spice or a powder, coriander helps maintain blood sugar levels, treat osteoporosis, relieve abdominal pain, and heal skin infections.
Black Pepper (Kali Mirch): Black pepper helps with digestion, increases nutrient absorption, aids in weight loss, and protects against heart disease. It is also used as a home-remedy for the common cold and cough.
Fenugreek (Methidana): Fenugreek is an herb in the same family as soy. People use its fresh and dried seeds, leaves, twigs, and roots as a spice, flavoring agent, and supplement. While more research is necessary, some studies show that fenugreek may have varied health benefits.
Fenugreek may be able to help reduce the risk of:
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- heart conditions
- bacterial, fungal, and viral infections
Mustard Seeds (Sarson Dana): Mustard seeds are good for your bones as they are packed with a mineral called selenium, which makes your bones stronger. They also help to strengthen your nails, hair, and teeth. Mustard seeds contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help in relieving pain in the gum, bones, and teeth
Kalonji (Onion Seeds): Belonging to the same family of black cumin, onion seed is also known as kalonji, black onion seed, black caraway, etc. Ayurveda recommends daily consumption of 20 grams of these seeds to enhance lubrication between joints, for maintaining a healthy heart, fight breathing problems and to prevent cancer, thanks to its anti-carcinogenic properties. Kalonji seeds are a storehouse of protein, carbohydrate, dietary fiber and fat.
Fennel Seeds (Saunf): Saunf has the ability to control and bring down high blood pressure. It also contains potassium which is known to have many heart-friendly properties. Helps prevent constipation: Fennel seeds have plenty of soluble dietary fibre. This helps in improving digestion and adding bulk to the stool.