Pickles: The Great North-South Divide

India is a land of diverse cultures, traditions, and cuisine. While we share a love for spices, flavors, and all things pickle-y across the country, there's one distinct difference in how we enjoy our beloved achaar (pickles) in the north versus the south.

Down south, it's all about the curd (yogurt) and pickle combination. Popularly known as punjiri or thair saadham, this pairing is pretty much a way of life. After a hearty meal of steaming hot rice, sambar, curry, and vegetables, the grand finale is a generous dollop of curd topped with a spoonful of crisp, tangy pickle. The cool curd acts as the perfect antidote to the intense, fiery pickle, making for a flavor explosion in your mouth.

Whether it's the bright green lip-smacking goodness of Chicken pickle, the intense heat of SNL Gongura pickle, or the tropical tang of mango pickle, no South Indian meal is complete without this delightful curd-pickle combination. In fact, it's so ingrained in the culture that even thuppada (ghee rice), a beloved breakfast dish, is topped with pickle!

Head up to the north, however, and you'll find a different pickle-eating ritual. Here, the name of the game is roti and achaar. After tearing off a piece of hot, freshly made roti (Indian flatbread), it's customary to pick up a morsel of pickle with your fingers and pop it straight into your mouth. The blend of the simple yet satisfying flavor of the roti with the bold, tantalizing taste of the pickle is simply unmatched.

Be it the iconic aam ka achaar (mango pickle) from the streets of Old Delhi, the intense garlic pickle from Rajasthan, or the fruity mix pickle from Punjab, this humble pairing is a vibrant part of every household and Highway dhabas (roadside eateries) across Northern India serve innumerable pickle varieties as quintessential accompaniments.

So while our love for all things pickled transcends regions, how we enjoy our precious achaar is a delicious indicator of our rich cultural diversity. Whether you like it with roti or curd, one thing's for sure - India's undying love for pickles will never sour!

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