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Maharashtrian Pickles: A Tangy Journey on Your Plate

In the vibrant tapestry of Maharashtrian cuisine, pickles hold a special place, adding a burst of tangy flavor and a touch of nostalgia to every meal. From the sun-kissed shores of Konkan to the bustling streets of Mumbai, Maharashtrian pickles reflect the diverse cultural and culinary heritage of the region. Join us on a savory journey as we explore the myriad flavors and techniques that make Maharashtrian pickles a beloved tradition.


The Art of Pickle-making in Maharashtra

Maharashtrian womens making mango pickle
womens making mango pickle

Pickle-making in Maharashtra is an age-old tradition that has been passed down through generations. It is not just about preserving fruits and vegetables; it is an art form that requires skill, patience, and a deep understanding of flavors. Maharashtrian pickles are known for their bold and vibrant flavors, often infused with a mix of aromatic spices and tangy ingredients.


Variety of Pickles Unique to Maharashtra

One of the highlights of Maharashtrian pickles is their incredible variety. From the classic lemon pickle, known for its tangy zest and versatility, to the fiery stuffed red chilli pickle, each pickle offers a unique flavor profile that reflects the region's diverse culinary influences. Other popular varieties include raw mango pickle, green chilli pickle, and karvanda (cranberry) pickle, each with its own distinct taste and texture.

Types of Pickles in maharashtra (Maharashtrian Pickles)

In Maharashtra, pickles are not just condiments; they are a flavorful expression of the region's rich culinary heritage. From tangy lemon pickles to spicy stuffed red chilli pickles, Maharashtrian cuisine boasts a diverse array of pickles that reflect the state's cultural diversity and agricultural abundance. Here are some of the most popular types of pickles found in Maharashtra:


1. Lemon Pickle (Nimbu Achar)

Lemon Pickle (Nimbu Achar)

Perhaps the most iconic of all Maharashtrian pickles, lemon pickle is beloved for its tangy flavor and versatility. Whole lemons are marinated in a mixture of spices such as turmeric, red chilli powder, and mustard seeds, creating a zesty condiment that pairs perfectly with rice, dal, or roti.

2. Raw Mango Pickle (Kairi Achar)

Raw Mango Pickle (Kairi Achar)

Raw mangoes are a seasonal favorite in Maharashtra, and they are often preserved in the form of tangy pickles. The raw mangoes are sliced or diced and marinated in a spicy mixture of spices, salt, and oil, resulting in a lip-smacking pickle that is the perfect accompaniment to traditional Maharashtrian dishes.


3. Green Chilli Pickle (Hirvi Mirchi Achar)

Green Mango-Garlic Pickle (Kairi Lasun Achar)

For those who love heat, green chilli pickle is a must-try. Whole green chillies are slit and marinated in a spicy mixture of spices and oil, creating a pickle that packs a punch. This pickle adds a fiery kick to meals and is particularly popular during the monsoon season.


4. Karvanda Pickle (Karvanda Achar)

Karvanda Pickle (Karvanda Achar)

Karvanda, also known as cranberry or karonda, is a small tart fruit that grows abundantly in Maharashtra. Karvanda pickle is made by marinating the fruits in a tangy mixture of spices, resulting in a unique and delicious pickle that is both sweet and sour.


5. Green Mango-Garlic Pickle (Kairi Lasun Achar)

Green Mango-Garlic Pickle (Kairi Lasun Achar)

This pickle combines the tangy flavor of raw mangoes with the pungent taste of garlic, creating a tantalizing combination of flavors. The raw mangoes and garlic cloves are marinated in a spicy mixture of spices and oil, resulting in a pickle that is bursting with flavor.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of pickles found in Maharashtra. Each pickle is a testament to the region's culinary creativity and reflects the unique flavors and ingredients of the state. Whether you prefer tangy lemon pickles or spicy stuffed red chilli pickles, Maharashtrian pickles are sure to tantalize your taste buds and add a burst of flavor to any meal.


Regional Specialties and Techniques

Different regions of Maharashtra have their own specialties when it comes to pickle-making. For example, the coastal regions are known for their seafood-infused pickles, while the inland areas boast pickles made from locally grown fruits and vegetables. Some pickles are sun-dried to intensify their flavors, while others are cooked slowly to develop complex taste profiles. No matter the technique, each pickle is crafted with care and attention to detail.


Preserving Tradition in Modern Times

In today's fast-paced world, traditional pickle-making methods are facing challenges from mass-produced alternatives. However, many families in Maharashtra continue to preserve these age-old techniques, passing them down from one generation to the next. Homemade pickles made with love and care not only taste better but also carry with them a sense of history and tradition that cannot be replicated.


Recipe: Maharashtrian Lemon Pickle

A jar filled with homemade lemon pickles - "Homemade Maharashtrian lemon pickles"
Lemon Pickle Recipe


10-12 medium-sized lemons

1/4 cup salt (preferably rock salt)

2 tablespoons turmeric powder

2 tablespoons red chilli powder

2 tablespoons mustard seeds (rai)

1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds (methi)

1/4 cup mustard oil (or any other vegetable oil)

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

2-3 tablespoons jaggery (optional), grated



1. Wash and Dry the Lemons:

Wash the lemons thoroughly and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Ensure that there is no moisture on the lemons as it can lead to spoilage.

2. Cut the Lemons:

Cut the lemons into quarters, leaving them attached at the base. Do not cut all the way through; the quarters should remain connected at the base.

3. Marinate the Lemons:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the salt, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder. Mix well.

Gently rub the spice mixture onto the surface of each lemon, ensuring that they are evenly coated. Place the marinated lemons in a clean, dry glass jar.

4. Prepare the Pickling Spices:

Heat the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in a small pan over low heat until they become aromatic. Be careful not to burn them.

Grind the roasted seeds into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

5. Prepare the Pickling Oil:

Heat the mustard oil in a small pan until it starts to smoke slightly. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Add the asafoetida (hing) to the cooled oil and mix well.

6. Assemble the Pickle:

Sprinkle the ground spice mixture over the marinated lemons in the jar.

Pour the cooled oil mixture over the lemons, ensuring that they are completely submerged in the oil.

If using jaggery, sprinkle grated jaggery over the top of the pickle.

7. Let the Pickle Mature:

Close the jar tightly with a lid and place it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Allow the pickle to mature for at least 2 weeks, shaking the jar gently every few days to distribute the spices and oil.

8. Enjoy the Pickle:

Once the pickle has matured, it is ready to be enjoyed! Serve it as a tangy accompaniment to your favorite Maharashtrian meals, such as dal rice or bhakri.


Homemade pickles may last for several months when stored properly in a clean, airtight jar. Always use a clean, dry spoon to remove the pickle from the jar to prevent contamination.

Adjust the amount of salt, red chilli powder, and other spices according to your taste preferences. You can also add additional spices such as cloves, cinnamon, or bay leaves for extra flavor.


In conclusion, Maharashtrian pickles are more than just condiments; they are a testament to the rich cultural heritage and culinary diversity of the region. Whether enjoyed with a simple meal of dal and rice or as a flavorful accompaniment to a festive feast, Maharashtrian pickles add a touch of tangy goodness to every bite. So next time you crave a burst of flavor, reach for a jar of homemade Maharashtrian pickle and embark on a tangy journey unlike any other.


Join the Conversation: Share Your Maharashtrian Pickle Stories and Recipes!

Do you have fond memories of watching your grandmother expertly prepare her signature lemon pickle? Or perhaps you've mastered a unique variation of stuffed red chilli pickle that has become a family favorite? Whatever your pickle story may be, we want to hear it!


In the comments section below, feel free to share:

We can't wait to hear from you!


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