76934122 Narsai David: Pickles, Chutneys and Relishes From India

An Indian Kashmiri Muslim vendor (Photo credit by IRSHAD KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

BERKELEY (KCBS) – Milan International on University Avenue carries a really interesting line of Indian chutneys, pickles and relishes, and I’ve been experimenting with these intriguing flavors.

A couple of important differences distinguish the products sold under the house label of this Indian grocery, Ashoka, which translates as “togetherness”. Most of these go for $1.99 per jar.

KCBS Food And Wine Editor Narsai David:

Anything called pickle is spicy, salty and sour. Chutney is basically sweet and sour, usually made with fruit and a very mild amount of spice.
Relish is essentially chutney that has a lot of extra spice.

The pickles have the most fascinating flavors, I discovered, starting with Garlic Pickle. Garlic lovers take note of the 63 percent garlic mixed in with olive oil, salt and spices, plus a little bit of acid.

I also recommend the Carrot Pickle, which is in olive oil.

The Mixed Pickle has mango, lime, carrot and green chili that add up to 74 percent of the total. I really had such a hard time learning how to deal with this intriguing flavor because the individual bits of mango and lime were so pungent.

Ultimately I decided to puree it, moistening it with a little bit of white wine to make a very thin sauce. Now, when I’m doing a stir fry, a vegetable sauté or a bean dish, I just put a spoonful of that in.

Consider using one of these Indian pickles, chutneys or relishes instead of hot sauce if you want to add a much more interesting flavor to whatever you are cooking.

Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53am, 12:53pm and 4:53pm, and at 2:53am Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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