A new pickle brand gives chicken an inspired turnaround by celebrating authentic flavours from different Indian states; skips using artificial colouring or preservatives
"After spending 15 years making chocolates, pickles came more as a personal necessity. I am a hardcore non-vegetarian. When you reach home after a long day at work, you need something to liven up the dal, chawal, sabzi. Even a curry gets boring in five days. I thought why not pickle?" says owner William Pinto who started the company with food technologist, Manini Rane. At the moment, the brand stocks five flavours. The sixth, which is soon to hit the markets, will be inspired by flavours from Kolhapur.
Bottled flavours from Kerala, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. Pic/Shadab Khan
"India is so vast, and each state has distinct flavours, hence we didn't look outside. The reason we chose chicken is because it is the least controversial of all meats. Beef is banned; not too many people like lamb and pork, while with seafood, it's difficult to keep up with the fluctuating quality and prices" explains the Mulund resident.
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They don't use artificial preservatives or colouring agents in their pickles. "We use only oil, salt and vinegar. This makes the shelf life limited to three months. While artificial preservatives increase the shelf life, natural products enhance taste and are a healthier option," he concludes.
Cost: Rs 250 (per bottle)
Log on to: www.yummade.in, www,stappu.com and www.tgfc.co.in to place orders
Chicken Balchao Spread
A take off on the spicy blend quintessential to many Goan dishes, the Chicken Balchao pickle packed a punch with its flavours. At first, we found it difficult to wade through the thick layer of oil floating on the top, we tried a dollop of the mix with a roti. And it tasted yum. The tangy tomato-chilli sauce perked up the tender chicken mince and turned into a good substitute for a vegetable side dish. In fact, for those who are time-strapped, and looking for whipping up a quick-fix, try adding the mix to sautéed veggies and enjoy it with rice.
The Kerala Mix
At first sight, when we opened the jar, a pool of oil greeted us, reminding of the C word (read: calories). Luckily, for us,
all inhibitions were thrown to the wind as we lost ourselves in the chunks of chicken laced with spices that reminded us of God's Own Country, especially the inimitable peppery interlude. The preparation reminded us of the spicy chicken curries dished out by lungi-clad cooks at Kerala-style dhabas while driving down from Kochi to Kottayam. This pickle doesn't include preservatives, thankfully, and it's easy to notice the difference. It's ideal as an accompaniment with rotis or parathas, or better, the Kerala-styled parottas. Folks with low resistance for pungency ought to go easy on the servings, as they might spot a few rings of steam emerging from their ears.
The Andhra Swing
The flavour 'The Andhra Swing', made us pick up this jar instantly. While most of our colleagues stayed clear, wary of it being too spicy, we took a leap of faith. And, there were no rude (read: red hot) surprises at all. The chunks of chicken floating in a delicious masala-oil mix made our daily daal and veggies come alive with a burst of flavours, just like those pickle ads on TV from the '90s. It's not as fiery as it looks. Even if you have a palate that can negotiate medium spice levels, this one's a keeper.
D Punjabi Beat
A pickle, at times, is the agent that rescues a basic meal of its blandness while on other occasions, it adds to the taste of an already lip-smacking dish. This flavour fulfills its ode to robust, Punjabi-fied spicy curries perfectly. It's slightly hot with a heady chilli kick. Like the other flavours, it goes best with rice or chapatti with dal. The pickled chicken bits add to the taste.