Indian pickles

I’d like to start the pickles rolling with this link:

I have the book, have pickled from it, and know some of the people/blogs mentioned in this article. I’ll continue, but am curious what your experiences have been.


There’s this website on Indian-Pakistani-BanglaDeshi food, once great, now moribund (among other things it was hacked and its great food picture archive destroyed) where there was early discussion of Usha’s Pickle Digest. Here are links.

A] The Times article links (where it says “blogs”) to a review of the Pickle Digest by the great Indian food expert Veena Parrikar (among other talents). Here are some of her experiences with the book:

07 June 2008 (#91, samsara mango; #562, lime-ginger; #860, unripe-lime fenugreek)

18 April 2010 (#582, stuffed lime)

22 February 2012 (#202, cauliflower-lime strips)

B] Pickling by the poster frangipani, like Veena eminent in other ways, but who keeps her/his identity hidden, and I’ll respect that:

23 July 2011 (#196, carrot in tamarind sauce)

25 February 2012 (#484, steamed gooseberry-garlic)

02 March 2012, “I’ve gone a bit crazy with the pickling.” (#055, stuffed fenugreek lime; #477, cut gooseberry avakkai; #494, spiced gooseberry)

C] Early mentions of the book from bulletin board posters and food writers:

08 March 2005

08 April 2005, see item 2

As soon as I heard of Usha’s pickle book, I wanted it. As they say covetousness is next to godliness. But, as the NYT article indicates, this was not easy (if you scroll up and down in the individual anothersubcontinent links above you’ll see many laments to this fact). I had a near miss around 2009/10 when Veena (whom I mention above) got me a copy and entrusted it to an intermediary who was coming to Boston. The treasure we were told was mysteriously “lost”. Usha was very ill over this time, so I resigned myself to having failed. Then, 4 years after I first wrote I got this:

— begin quoted material —
On Tue, May 20, 2008 at 5:15 AM, [FoodDabbler] wrote:
Is it possible to get a copy of your Pickle Digest in the U.S.?

Hi [FoodDabbler],
Reg: Usha’s Pickle Digest
Thanks very much for your interest in buying my book – Usha’s Pickle Digest. But I need to apologize for this looooooooooong delay in replying! It was just that my not-so-great health as well as my having lost the password of my email id made the response this late. Now that I am back, I shall soon let you know how to get a copy of my book.
Am arranging to figure out how to give only the last few copies that I have of my last edition. But I am also trying to get the Second Edition or reprint done soon. So you will get one.
I really appreciate your long wait and the difficulties that you have gone through in locating me! That certainly encourages me a lot. Since I am not sure whether you are still using this email id, I am sending out this email. Once I get your confirmation, I shall send you the details to buy the book.
Usha R Prabakaran
— end quoted material —

And, after several other complications, I got a copy in 2012.


Well I have ordered it and look forward to trying some recipes out. The instant pickled carrot with ginger linked in the NYT article looks fabulous.

Hope you find it useful. As several people have said it’s idiosyncratic, as all self-published books are (I have to post on HO an attempt some friends and I once made to make Thanksgiving dinner entirely from the first, self-published, unedited edition of Joy of Cooking). But the links I provide upthread might help if complications arise.

Many of the recipes involve sunning for a week – hard for us here.

PS: Glad you found a copy. I see that it’s now possible to get one from Amazon.

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