The Sourness That’s Too Sweet: Arora Pickles
The air of Lucknow is a perfect and welcome assault on the palette. At each turn you meet flavours to die for. Through every twist of the narrow bursting streets of chowk- Tunday, Rahim, Raja Thandai, Azhar, Ram Asrey such masters await you; in Ganj you cannot help but succumb to the sway of the chaat, Bajpai, Sharma. Aminabad with its endless din and crowd is another matter altogether. It’s a mild trail of little bursts of flavours all along. Moving straight along the sweetness of Prakash Kulfi, past the baked butter goodness of Burma, Net Ram’s desi savory and sweet, you meet a tang of a pleasant surprise.
Arora pickles have stood on the nook on Pratap market and are a one-stop destination for all pickle fanatics. Mr Dev Raj Arora’s family came from Lahore to Lucknow in the 1940’s and with his grandfather’s supervision and help, the shop was started in 1941. Running two branches one in Charbagh, the other in Aminabad the shop has become a landmark of Lucknow foodie. Thankfully, for the people of Lucknow, the Arora family brought with them, their legacy of brilliant pickle recipes.
These unique recipes travelled all the way from Lahore to Lucknow and in the process, must have ripened to attain the sumptuousness they have now. In need of livelihood, Dev Raj’s family stated making these pickles, using the recipes known to them and from there the shop became a success.
Arora achaars taste as good and better as homemade achaar because despite the great demand and numbers they make every year, at their factory in Arya Nagar all pickles are made in the same old way by hands and using those original goodness.
They have an incredible variety of 24 kinds of pickles, some really unique. They also make murabbas, chutneys and sweet and sour candies!
Mixed, Mango, Red Chilli, Garlic, Green Chilli, Lemon Pickle, Sweet Lemon Pickle, Ginger Pickle, Carrot Pickle- the usual all stand tempting the customers with their livid richness, colour – the whole place is locked in the tart, preserved briny spicy goodness- it smells of sour treats.
The more adventurous of the flavours include garlic schezwan pickle, mango heeng pickle (without oil), lemon heeng (without oil), special mixed garlic green chilly mango ginger mix pickle without oil, karela, katahal, sweet mango pickle, turnip, amla pickle, mango special, dela pickle. Among their chutneys, Navratan Chutney is the most popular.
They also have amla, apple,carrot and bel murabba and taking their flavour shop a notch further, they have a sweet and a masala amla candy, bel and ginger candies. The homemade flavour is what has won the hearts of people. Customers coming from as far as Dubai stack away many bottles of these delicious achaars.
The popularity of their products has only increased over the years. They even export it to customers who have had a taste of their deliciousness. Their popularity spreads by word of mouth.
Out of the many food stuffs available in Lucknow, Arora achaar is a sure winner and if you have not visited this pickle paradise yet, do! You will be reminded of those strenuously meticulously made pickles by your grandma and ma on summer afternoons and stealing those forbidden fruits with your friends.
Writer is a student, an aspiring painter & calligrapher.
(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 3 Issue 5,August 2016)