Mango discourse in the South Asian diaspora is focused almost entirely on nostalgia for varieties not available outside the home countries—a condition that leads some to overpay by some orders of magnitude for fruit flown in by small scale importers and distributed via ad hoc channels. I miss my mangos too—especially the langda, daseri and chausa—but I find this to be folly. Far better to embrace the good mangos that are available in the US—see the ataulfo, for example. And also to embrace the easily available unripe, green mango and all the excellent things that can be done with it: from Bengali kaancha aamer chatni to aam panna (the green mango drink that is as central to surviving South Asian summers as ripe mangos are as a reward) to Kerala-style curries to various pickles and chutneys. But then I understand that not everyone can be as tranquil and reasonable as me. Speaking of aam panna, this recipe is one I improvised this summer on a day when I boiled and mashed mangos for a batch of aam panna that would have been so large as to challenge even my ability to consume it over a couple of weeks. So I kept a third of it aside and made this versatile chutney that works great as a pickle (with dal and parathas/chapatis or rice), as a sandwich spread, and even as an accompaniment to cheese (like manchego, for example). And it’s very easy. You’re welcome. Continue reading
I usually post only one recipe a week but my backlog of recipes is getting a bit long and so I’ll be putting up the occasional bonus recipe post on the weekends for the next couple of months—not every weekend, mind, but 1-2 weekends a month. First up is this recipe for a simple achaar made with golden beets, the milder, sweeter cousin of the more familiar red, the one that is less likely to make you panic the morning after. It has its origins in a carrot-garlic pickle I posted the recipe for back in August. That recipe eventually morphed into one for a combination carrot-red beet achaar that I never got around to posting a recipe for. This is a simpler prep than both of those and may be even tastier. It comes together very quickly and goes well with almost anything. In addition to eating it with dal and rice since making it earlier in the week I’ve been drizzling the “syrup” over pan-seared fish as well. No matter how you eat it I think you’ll enjoy it. And, oh, this is not tested for ph etc. and I wouldn’t suggest that you keep it around forever. This recipe makes one jar that you should store in the fridge and finish within a month. Continue reading
I’ve been on a preserving tear over the last few months, filling jars with pickles and chutneys of various kinds. The greatest beneficiary has been the missus who has been heard making demands at lunch that the full array of pickles be placed on the table. The secondary beneficiaries have been various undeserving friends. In some ways it is easier to make pickles (by which I mean achaars as we call them in North India) in large quantities, and since I’m making so many, we have more than we can eat ourselves. The only real roadblock is the ongoing shortage of lids and bands for Ball jars. Ideas for pickles, I have no lack of. This is largely because I have a copy of Usha’s Pickle Digest. I’ve been making pickles from the book and also improvizing some recipes of my own. Such, for example, was the carrot-garlic pickle I posted a recipe of a few weeks ago. And such too is this spicy tomato chutney. While the carrot-garlic pickle was more of a pure improvization, this one starts out as a mashup of two adjoining tomato pickle recipes in the Pickle Digest. To that mashup I add a few twists of my own. The results, if you’ll forgive the immodesty, are outstanding. Continue reading
My pickling career began late, in my late 30s, with a couple of carrot pickles whose recipes were posted on the Another Subcontinent cooking forum (R.I.P) many years ago. Later, I branched off into green chilli and lime pickle as well. I have already posted the recipe for a lime pickle from the almighty Usha’s Pickle Digest. After finally getting my hands on my own copy of that book last year, however, I’ve become an all-around pickling fool. I currently have seven home-made pickles on the go. The greatest beneficiaries are friends who get 50% of my production. It is, you see, easier in some ways to make pickles in larger quantities than smaller; and if you have as many pickles on hand as I usually do, it’s better to give a big chunk of your production away than to risk it going bad on your countertop or in your refrigerator. Continue reading
In the first edition of Indian Home Cooking Week I promised a post on chapatis, parathas and pickles and only provided chapatis and parathas. For this edition I promised a post on pickles and here I am with a post on one pickle. But it’s a good pickle. And with some easy variations it becomes as many as three pickles—so, as you can see, I did not lie a second time. That’s just not the kind of person I am. I have also not always been the kind of person who made pickles. It always seemed a daunting proposition involving greater patience and a lower propensity to screw up and kill people with botulism than I possess. But, as with most forbidding things, it turns out that when you look into it it’s not actually very difficult.