شڪارپور جي کٽاڻ
It is, undoubtedly, present all over the country and even in foreign countries but purchasing Shikarpur Achaar in Shikarpur is an experience in itself. Every market owns an achaar shop after every 2 or 3 shops selling something else.
Facing the popular Ghanta Ghar, which depicts the right time at least twice in 24 hours, in Lakhi Dar is Moula Baksh Memon, or MBM, the ancient achaar shop of the city. “Achaar from our shop is present in UAE, Saudi Arabia and UK too,” states Maqsood Ahmed, a salesman at the shop.
But what goes in foreign countries is different from what is used here. “For regional markets we have the common mustard oil based pickles but we have also the best quality pickles made in soybean oil for the export. Mustard oil, as you know, is acknowledged more in Punjab province. Instead of that, soybean oil has a longer shelf life, and sustains to be fresh for longer,” he claims.
The pickles purchased from Shikarpur also charges far less than anywhere else. A 800 gram bottle of mixed achaar will charge Rs 50 and a kilogram bottle of the export good quality is for Rs 200 only. “We own many branches in Quetta and Sukkur but then instantly our achaars reach across the country, many thanks to the purchasers. We know that after purchasing from us they are selling the similar jars at triple or double rate but that is up to them actually. It is business and the product is really outstanding, you will agree,” he asserts.
The most famous of all the Shikarpur Pickles variety is the mixed achaar containing turnip, carrots, garlic, chickpeas, mango, lime, green chilies and cauliflowers, claims Irfan Ali, owner of Nawab Achaar, adding that the achaar may be oil-based or vinegar-based but what sets them apart from other achaars is actually the water of Shikarpur. “We own sweet ground water and the vegetables grown here and cooked in the similar water taste astonishingly good,” he elaborates.
“Merely as Hyderabadi pickles are popular throughout the world, Shikarpur pickles also have their importance particularly the homemade ones,” claims Zaibunissa Bibi, a housewife who prepares the achaars at home and also sells them from there. “I do not require to market my achaars; those who purchase from me publicize it, too,” she laughs as she goes about preparing the jars of numerous variations after carefully noting down the orders from consumers visiting her at home The spices used for pickles, she also prepares at home and she has preserved pickles made from distinctive vegetables in separate jars from where she takes out minor portions to mix into the smaller jar with the other variations to mix up mouthwatering tempting combination. The achaars are also sold out of many homes in Shikarpur.
“I live in Shikarpur and keep sending boxes full of achaars and chutney for my friends living in other cities and foreign countries. One family in London sends in orders after few months,” claims Abdul Jabbar, a customer, loading boxes in a qingqi. “I generally prefer purchasing from the shops here instead of going for the homemade variety as many handmade pickles are water-based or vinegar-based, which may keep the freshness of pickles during the winter seasons but may be spoiled if left outside for long time during the summer season,” the consumer claims.