Fern's Pickle and Chutneys
A traditional Indian meal consists of many different dishes, rather than courses, and no meal would be complete without pickles and chutneys that enhance (or in some cases completely change) the dish. Many Indian families make their own chutneys on a daily basis and keep pickles for frequent use; this is because chutneys tend to be cooked fruit (but not always), while pickles tend to be raw vegetables (but not always!). While Rafi had many recipes for pickles, there was another Mrs Fernandes, also famous for delicious food.
Almost 90 years ago, the enterprising Mrs. N. Fernandes started making curry pastes and pickles in the sleepy town of Pune, high up in the Western Ghats, 100 miles East of Old Bombay, India. She successfully pioneered the concept of condiment curry pastes in an exciting range of different recipes and flavours and forever captured the imagination of the D.I.Y. cook.
Though much has changed with the passage of time, Mrs. Fernandes' pastes and pickles are still made by her family in Pune, made with the best local spices and produce. It’s this simplicity and dedication to fresh spices that makes the Fern’s range a particular favourite with the Rafi’s family, in fact the Fern’s Curry Pastes are the only ones recommended in our cookbook, because they are such a great base for homemade food.
Because this is such a great range, we want you to get the best out of them, so here is the definitive guide to this blog’s favourites: six pickles and one chutney (sounds like a Hallmark Movie, doesn’t it? Anju, a big city girl has to return home to save her family’s condiment company. George, her high school sweetheart is the factory floor manager. Will her grandmother’s achar recipe rekindle romance?).
Let’s start with the classics: mango chutney and lime pickle. Fern's Hot Mango Chutney uses large chunks of mango for sugary, fruity bursts of flavour. Perfect for those who like their sweet things with lashings of chilli. Fern's Mild Lime Pickle has a well-blended texture, and is not swimming in oil which can be the case in some restaurants. It has a tangy flavour with plenty of thick lime pieces. However, if you fancy your pickles spicier, try Fern's Hot Lime Pickle.
On the other hand, why choose? Fern's Mango Lime Pickle combines both the tangy flavour of limes with the sweetness of mango to create a lovely pickle which has something for everyone. It makes the perfect accompaniment to papadums or bhajias and it's mild in heat (at least by Indian standards!), so you can pile it liberally onto your plate.
Want to try something a bit different? Go wild with this Bombay Duck Flavour Pickle . This pickle is named for the fish flavour that was famous throughout India during the days of the Raj; the mail train (the daak) also transported fish and it is a pun on the boomla, a fish with a reputation for its strong smell and intense flavour. Although this pickle is fish free, it still retains its distinct flavour and scent. It is often fried and eaten with plain food such as dhal and rice.
Not feeling that adventurous? Fern's Prawn Flavoured Balichow is sweet and salty with a bold seafood flavour, but not quite strong enough to imbue an entire mail train with its scent. This pickle is often eaten in small quantities with the rest of the meal and it's a very popular accompaniment to curries, especially in Goa.
Want to know what a Brinjal Pickle is? Haha, you aren’t the only one, never feel silly for asking, it’s literally what this blog writer lives for. It’s aubergine, btw. Fern's Aubergine Pickle is a spicy pickle that's packed with tangy flavours and thick chunks of aubergine. It will complement any curry, but it makes an especially lovely accompaniment to our Bhuna Curry Pack.
Are you a chilli head? Are your family and friends? No? Isn’t it frustrating! Well, there is a very straightforward solution to the constant battle between the mild Korma man and the raging Madras teenager, and here it is; Fern's Chilli Pickle is stuffed full of flavour and whole green chillies that pack a lot of punch. This isn’t for the faint of heart, so keep it away from the kids!
What’s your favourite chutney or pickle? Let us know so we can check them out.