In a Pickle and a Jam

Yesterday’s riches were these: Lemons (from the Arunachali tree that Minz planted over Laddu’s grave), Limes (massive and delicious smelling), Sapotas, Alsande, Green chillies, Dried red chillies, Tamarind, Tomatoes, Rosemary, Drumstick leaves and flowers and a sack full of Amla. It’s like having our own organic box delivered from a nearby farm except, woo hoo, it's our farm :) The drumstick leaves and flowers are best scrambled with eggs to eat with hot chappaties, the rest will all vanish over the next week. But the amla?? Hmmm… I’m going to have to pickle and jam. 

In the Adyar house, our Nynamma used to put to work everything that the thotakaar brought in from the garden. 

Wood apples: Mushed with jaggery and put into small earthenware bowls for breakfast.
Raw baby mangoes: Pickle
Pomellos: Bitter marmalade
Limes: Lime squash, lime pickle
Sapotas: Laid out in baskets to ripen
Thaati nungus: Straight to the fridge to be eaten cold
Tamarind: Dried on the verandah and nicked by us children to be eaten with salt and chili powder

Every season of the year, there was pickle pickling, a jam boiling somewhere or vadams drying on the terrace.

Amma made a nellikai pickle one time, from the abundance of gooseberries that were left over after we had eaten our fill.  She made hers with hot groundnut oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves. But eventually I decide to try a mustard oil pickle. My quantities are all rather slap dash, so I suggest you do the same. I have neither the diligence nor the flair of my mother, aunts and grandmothers - but this is definitely an homage to them. But I warn you, just keep tasting along the way and don't write and tell me all the things that are wrong with these recipes!

Amla Pickle

I kg (approx.) amla 
1/3 cup methi seeds 
1/2 cup saunf seeds (powder them coarsely. I forgot to do this, but I used fine Lucknowi saunf, so...)
1/3 cup kalonji seeds 
1 1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1/2 cup chili powder
4 tsp haldi
250ml kacchi ghani (mustard oil)
Salt to taste

Boil the amla for about 10 minutes. Drain and cool. You could cut them and seed them, but mine were comparatively small, so I didn't see the need. Mix everything together with a seriously dry spoon in a seriously dry and clean dish. Bottle them in clean jars that have been given the once over with hot water as well. The jars need to be 100% dry. Leave the bottles in the sun for about 5 days and gaze smugly on the redness of the oil, the jeweled beauty of the amla, the flecks of methi, saunf and kalonji as the sunlight streams through the jars.

Last but not least, do not take my word for anything except that last sentence, being as I am a wholly untrained and inexperienced pickler....so store your pickles in the fridge.

Amla Murabba

Here is what I did with the remaining 1/2 kg of amla (all the while furiously recollecting my Bombay aunt, Viju chikki's winter amla murabbas): I put those amlas in my favourite orange Le Creuset with about 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 6 Kashmiri red chilies, 8 cloves, 4 large sticks of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of peppercorns and about 1/4 cup of water and stewed them till the mixture was thick, pinkish and smelled gorgeous. Bottled as well. Delicious with anything - chappaties, rice, roast pork, on toast...

Drumstick Leaves with Eggs

My daughter blanched at the idea, but ended up eating copiously. This is made in many different ways, with coconut, with roasted and powdered ground nuts etc. But mine was a simple porial. I just like the idea of the free-ness of it: Pick some tender drumstick leaves and flowers from someone's tree and cook up a storm. 

Oftentimes, Sathya (from India Garage) will bring me some from his home in KGF. But today, I had a wealth of leaves and flowers from the farm.

Strip about 2 cups of the leaves and flowers off the stems. Wash and drain. The go about things as you would for any porial:

Heat oil, add mustard and allowe to splutter, chuck in a dried red chili or two, a couple curry leaves. Then add the leaves and flowers and 1/2 cup of water to cook it in. In the meanwhile, beat three eggs with salt and haldi. Once the greens have cooked, add the beaten eggs and stir as in scrambled eggs till cooked. Eat hot with chappaties. 

Ps...Just in case you didn't know...




1 comment:

  1. I know that feeling! bon appetite as you eat your swest!