On Monday, Google India released its much anticipated and revelatory annual search report. Some of the most popular search terms include news events, what is, how to, near me and recipes. Food has an imprint across some of the search terms. In the near me category, onam sadhya near me and tiffin services near me were among the top 10 searches; in the memes category the viral waffle house host ranked high; and in recipes mango pickle emerged as the winner.
The cocktail Sex on the Beach, with vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, cranberry juice and crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) garnished with a glazed cherry, is the second most searched recipe. It was followed by panchamrit, hakusai (napa cabbage), dhaniya panjiri, karanji, thiruvathirai kali, Ugadi pachadi, kolukattai and rava laddoo.
It’s clear that the list was dominated by festive favourites; from the multi-flavoured Ugadi pachadi, the Tamil-style modak named kolukattai and a sweet pudding-like preparation for Shiva worship in Tamil homes called thiruvathirai kali. Dhaniya panjiri is a Jamasthami special and is central to the food platter during this festival in Vrindavan. Thiruvathirai kali is a sweet preparation offered as prasad to Shiva. It has dry roasted and coarsely ground rice and moong daal, jaggery, coconut, ghee and is spiced with elaichi.
It is interesting to note that the top three recipes—mango pickle, Sex on the Beach and Panchamrit—garnered searches from across India. The outlier is the hakusai. It is napa cabbage used in Chinese dishes. It has found its way into India's vegetable mandis and online grocery shops, and there has been a noticeable increase in how to cook with this Chinese gobi (cabbage).
The simple mango pickle that can perk up any dish, emerged as a hot favourite, and rightly so. From instant pickle options to tried-and-tested lacto-fermented sun-dried achaars, mango pickles can be made in numerous ways. It can travel distances—a favourite during train journeys—and is packed off for loved ones who stay far away from home. All of these reasons factor in to the popularity of this much loved condiment.
Judging by this list, it's clear that most recipes searches are about timeless classics and festive specials. For those tempted to prepare pickle from scratch, here's a Punjabi-style mango achaar recipe: