Pickles are one of the greatest comforts of life. We’ve all grown up amidst bottles and bottles of homemade and store-bought ones; some of us with more enterprising mothers would’ve eagerly awaited summer to watch mangoes being cut lovingly, slathered in masala and oil, and being bottled for days together, before one could eat a piece on the sly. For some of us, curd rice was an excuse to enjoy a giant piece of red-flecked avakkai in its entire briny, spicy glory. And for some others, paranthas would’ve been incomplete without aam ka achar .
Today, most of us neither have the time nor the interest to slave over batches of lemon or mango pickles, let alone experiment with Western-sounding ones such as dill or gherkins. That’s where >Goosebumps Pickles , an online store that lets you customise your pickles, comes in. Started three years ago by Pinank Shah, the Mumbai-based brand makes pickles at home and initially offered nine varieties. Now it offers 16, from experimental ones such as jalapeño and olive to vintage choices including mango-ginger (or curcuma amada), gor keri (mango-jaggery) and good old sour lime pickle. The varieties are a combination of North-meets-South and it’s because Shah is from Gujarat and his mother-in-law, from whom this business took roots, from the south.
Starting a pickle company seems like a throwback to the nineties, especially to Tamil cinema, that helped a lot of fictional women entrepreneurs get back on their feet by making humble pickles in their stuffy kitchens. They’d then go house to house and deal with the struggles of selling it, only to be finally rescued by a clever daughter-in-law or neighbour or a son who realises he must support the family. Goosebumps Pickles’ story is similar in the sense that it did start from the humble kitchen of Shah’s mother-in-law. “She makes around 700 kg every year for family and friends. Before I got married, I was working on mobile apps and websites, and soon afterwards, I realised that there was no website retailing pickles,” Shah says. “Think about it like this. What chocolates are to the Swiss, pickles are to Indians. It gives us goosebumps and that’s how we came up with the name — there was no strategy, no deep discussions,” he says.
The exciting part about buying pickles is making one yourself — and by that, I mean you can choose from a list of seven ingredients (lemon, ginger, carrot, kerda, green chilli, asparagus root and karvanda or conkerberry) over a base of mango masala blended in mustard oil for adding that zing. The website allows for a minimum order of 250 gm and the pickles are packed in five layers to render it leak-proof.
That’s not all they offer: you can choose from spices and blends such as tea masala, molagai podi , methi masala, rasam and sambar masala, all made in-house. So the next time you feel your meal is incomplete, round it off with a pickle you designed without breaking a sweat; Goosebumps Pickles will make it for you.
You can now have your pickle and eat it too.