18 comments on “Lal Salaam Pickles. Spices. Masalas.

  1. Hehe! I love that :-)
    I wonder if the company that makes Lal Salaam is from Kerala – that would be appropriate, considering Kerala’s communist traditions.

  2. @Ava: They look mouthwatering, don’t they? I’m a sucker for pickles – homemade if possible (my mum-in-law makes awesome pickles), otherwise just about anything from the Mother’s Recipe range. Yum!

    And I think they’re real – I googled a bit to try and see where they were from, but though I found the name of the company (Rainforest Pvt Ltd, or something like that), I couldn’t find where they were based.

  3. I think either the company is from Kerala or they would like people to think they are :) …

    Aren’t pickles a big thing in Kerala? Hmm, communists in the pickle business in Kerala… It kind of brings to mind a book I read about ten years ago called The God of Small Things. :)

  4. @Madhu, I must check out at my friendly neighbourhood south indian store.

    Lucky you.. to have a mother-in-law around. Try Nilon’s achar.. its awesome. Mother’s is good too of course.

    Richard.. South Indian pickles are awesome.

  5. I think the “lal” is red as in red chillies. And yes they are speaking Malayalam–so Kerala. Lal Salaam is probably some kind of Keralized Deccani (Hyderabad urdu) name.

    Richard, I like your blog–the old dance posts are very nice. I saw Shobana dance a couple of years ago but wasn’t into classical dance at that time so couldn’t appreciate it.

  6. Sophy, thank you for the nice words, and I’m glad you like my blog!

    The “lal” could have a double meaning referring to red chillies, but in this phrase as it’s commonly used, it means communist. “Lal Salaam” is a communist greeting that’s been used on the Subcontinent from Kerala to Nepal. These commercials are doubly amusing because the background music that they’re playing is the historic communist anthem “The Internationale.”

    For some time now, I have had an interest in the Communist movement in Kerala, which might be better described as democratic socialism or fairly advanced social democracy. I talk a little about it in this post, from very early in this blog’s history:


    And by the way, I guess I should explain more clearly that this communist commercial for a pickle company reminds me of The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy’s famous novel from the ’90s) because the parts of the book that take place in Kerala prominently feature a pickle factory, communists, and communists in the pickle factory. :)

  7. Wasn’t there a movie on naxalites called Lal Salaam?
    It had music by Hridaynath Mangeshkar, where he recycled his songs from Jait re jait, which was by the way a splendid moive

  8. Hi, Harvey. There are two movies that I know about with Lal Salaam as the title. One is the Hindi film you’re talking about, though I didn’t know the songs in there were recycled from Jait Re Jait. So, I guess this famous one is one of the recycled songs(?):

    There was also a Malayalam film called Lal Salaam, starring Mohanlal, which was made in 1990. This song from that film looks very amusing:

    Personally speaking, I think I’d much rather see the Malayalam Lal Salaam than the Hindi one.

    Mohanlal also recently had a world tour that they called the “Lal Salaam Tour.”

    And “Lal Salaam” was repeated a lot in the refrain of the song “Chora Veena,'” the opening song in the 2007 Malayalam film Arabikkatha (which I saw and talked about here bofore – it was quite good).

  9. Thanks Richard. I think I can learn a lot about Kerala from you. I’ve known many many Keralites (Christians, Muslims, Hindus etc…) but no communists.

  10. Thanks, Sophy. But if you’ve known many Keralites including Christians, Muslims, and Hindus, then I could probably learn a lot about Kerala from you. (Though maybe I can offer some information about Kerala’s Jews – not that I know any, but I have read a little about them too. :)

  11. Pickles are a big thing everywhere in India…styles vary!
    there was a shop selling just pickles in huge jars (all made in-house) in the main bazaar of my hometown: and we always dreamed of going in there loaded with “paranthas” to have a feast! My fav from there: large fat red stuffed chilles.
    Btw my mum’s mango pickle, gobi-gajar (cauliflower-carrot) and cabbage pickle are out of this world. Lucky few people get jars of it to take-away every year. unfortunately, I am not one of them.
    here’s a photo of it freshly-made (but not ready to eat, as that requires about 15 day maturing in the sun)

    richard, that ad was great, of course recognised the Internationale in the background!!

  12. Thanks, Bawa, that picture looks delicious.

    Yes, it must be true, now that I think about it, that pickles are big all over India (i.e., big in popularity, though of course the sizes vary), and perhaps all over the subcontinent?

    By the way, because of my own set of references, whenever I hear the phrase “Mango Pickle,” I think of the song “Mango Pickle Down River” (probably not to every reader’s taste here, though this would have fit into this blog just fine during its first few months back in 2007)…

  13. ok, not particularly to mine either, but I like the title.
    very spicy pickles = only way to conserve foodstuff in a hot country. In Punjab I have even seen meat and game pickles!

  14. I picked this pickle jar impressed by its name as it was on promotion, in a supermarket in Sharjah. I am an Indian: I enjoy my food. I have NEVER tasted any keri (mango) achar like Lal Salam. I have been looking for it ever since and google search brought me here.

  15. Thank you for the comment, Hatim. Though from the way you are wording this, I admit I am half-wondering whether the Lal Salaam pickle makers might be paying you for doing your bit to help increase their profits. No offense. :)

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