Karkina Pudi( Curry Leaf Chutney Pudi)

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The weekend Hari and I visited my Veena Teacher in NJ. It was a pleasure to see her garden. Her Husband has a green thumb to envy. They grow a lot of Mysuru mallige and Kanankambara. They also have a couple of Curry leaf plants that are growing so happily in pots. Curry Leaf plants are not very easy to grow, I have tried and failed several times before giving up.

They gave me a nice packet of fresh curry leaves and she asked me for the recipe of Karkina Pudi, which I did not know. So, I called my Mom and she gave me my Paddu Ajji’s recipe. None of my Grandmother’s recipes were ever documented when she was alive. I really feel sad for that. My Mom remembers only some things, but she can go wrong with proportions. She gave me the recipe as she remembered it. I must say, I love the taste of the powder. This powder is also specially made for new mothers( bananthi) to aid digestion. I just love the taste of the Curry leaves and pepper with hot rice and lots of ghee.

Ingredients:

  1. Curry Leaves- 1 Cup, packed
  2. Toovar Dal- 1/8 Cup
  3. Coriander Seeds- 2 Tbsp
  4. Black peppercorns- 1 Tsp
  5. Cumin- 1 Tsp
  6. Dry Ginger powder- 1/2 Tsp
  7. Tamarind Powder- 1 Tsp
  8. Grated dry coconut- 1 Cup or from 1/2 the coconut
  9. A big pinch of Asafetida
  10. Salt to taste

Method:

Wash the curry leaves and pat them dry on some wet paper towels. Dry roast the leaves on a low flame in a kadhai till they completely lose all the moisture and become almost paper like. Remove from the flame and keep aside. Make sure that they have completely dried, but are not burnt.

Dry roast the Toovar dal till golden. Add the coriander, cumin, pepper and dry roast till fragrant. Add the grated coconut and roast till it starts turning golden. Add the ginger powder and saute. Take off the heat. Cool everything and powder with the Curry leaves, Tamarind powder, asafetida and salt.

Store in an airtight container.

 

Hog Plum Pickle ( Amatekaayi Uppinakaayi)

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Have you ever tasted the mixture of hot rice, ghee and a spicy south Indian mixed lemon pickle? This is one of my most favorite combinations of rice, other than rice with Menthyada Hittu( A post for another day) or rice with Chutney Pudi( Another post) or Thokku( Aah, thats special)…and I could probably go on. I need to sit back and decide what exactly is my favorite combination, I guess.

But the point I was trying to make was that we South Indians take our ‘Pickling’ and ‘preserving’ very seriously. Indians in general, that too. There are so many fruits and vegetables indigenous to that particular part of India, that is pickled and is a specialty of that state or region. One of the regional fruits, that I am not sure how popular it is in Northern India, is the “Hog Plum” or “Amatekaayi” as it is called in Kannada. The Pickle of this fruit is very popular in Karnataka and the coastal regions of Konkan and Goa. What I had thought was a rare special fruit, that is available only in India, surprisingly is not that uncommon around the world. I was surprised finding it here at a local India Grocery. Here it was called the “June Plum”. I got really excited and got home a few and had to try pickling them getting the recipe from my Mother.

So after some research online, it turned out that the ‘June plum’ and ‘Hog plum’ are actually cousins. They come from the same family- Anacardiaceae. The June plum is used extensively in Caribbean cuisine. The June plum is a bit larger than the Hog plum, and even though it looked bigger it was very tender. The Indian Hog plums become fibrous when they are mature. The taste of the fruit resembles an unripe, sour mango, so it can be used not only for pickles, but also in chutneys, thokku, etc.

To make the pickle( This is the recipe followed by my Mother and my Aunts):Amatekayi-2

Ingredients- 

  1. June plums or Hog Plums- around 20 tender ones, washed, dried and cut
  2. Salt- 1/2 Cup
  3. Red Chilies- around 15 Byadgi
  4. Turmeric Powder- 2 Tsp
  5. Mustard Seeds- 1 TBSP
  6. Fenugreek Seeds- 1 Tsp, roasted
  7. Asafoetida- 1/4 Tsp

For the Tempering-

  1. Oil- 2 TBSP
  2. Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp
  3. Asafoetida- 1/8 Tsp

Method- 

Wash, dry thoroughly and cut the June plums, lengthwise into 4 pieces. Mix in the salt and store in an airtight glass container for a couple of days. Stir the mixture with a clean dry spoon every day. The water from the fruit starts separating after a couple of days. To make the pickling mixture, heat 1 cup of water till it comes to a rolling boil. Turn off the hear and soak the red chilies in the water. Let the water cool completely to room temperature for a few hours. When the water is cool, in a clean mixer, grind to a paste- the red chilies, roasted fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric and asafetida. You can use the salt water separated from the June plums also, to grind. The paste can be made as thick as needed, so it is not necessary to use all the water that was used for soaking the Chilies. Mix the Red Chili paste with the preserved June plums. Make a tempering, by heating the oil and adding the mustard seeds and asafetida. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add the oil to the pickle and mix thoroughly. Refrigeration keeps the pickle fresh, longer.

 

 

 

Mixed Lemon Pickle with Mango Ginger

This is my Grandmother’s recipe for making the best lime pickle, ever. I still have memories of her, in her late 70’s, her radiant face, her ear rings sparkling, so happy to see all her children and grandchildren around her. When she cooked something, it was always in an industrial scale, and the taste would be so perfect. One particular memory I have is of her sitting on the floor in my Aunt’s kitchen, cutting up hundreds of these limes with a ‘EeLge maNE'( Traditional vegetable cutter) to make her signature ‘uppinakayi’. She had 8 children and their families to make for, so it was a lot. It was very difficult to emulate her recipes, because she eyeballed all her ingredients. Her cooking terminology would be something like- ‘ Goli gaathradu'( Marble sized) or ‘ondu hidi'( A fistful) or
‘naalak kaalu'( a few), so only someone who worked with her in the kitchen actually knew what she meant.
Many of her authentic recipes have been lost, because no one wrote them down. My Mother and her sisters have learnt a lot from my Grandma, but have their individual styles of cooking.
This is a recipe my Mother still remembers and gave me a few years ago. It has been a huge success with my hubby, friends and family. Lime is still in season, so if you are craving a bit of this sour, salty, spicy goodness, here goes….

Ingredients-
1. Lemons/ Limes- 16
2. Mango Ginger root- 1/4 lb, peeled and cut into small pieces
3. Whole green chilies- 10, washed and dried well
4. Fresh Ginger- 1/4 lb, peeled and cut in circles
5. 1 Bitter Gourd- cleaned and cut into pieces
6. Young cluster beans- about 25, washed and dried, whole( These have to be very young, they do not taste good otherwise)
5. Salt- 1 1/2 Cup

To be made into a fine powder ( After the Lemon mixture has softened, ie about 2 weeks)-
1. Dry Red Chilies- 20 ( preferably Byadgi)
2. Dry turmeric root- 2 inch piece( broken into smaller pieces)
3. Fenugreek seeds- 1 Tbsp
4. Asafetida-1/8 tsp
Roast the red chilies in the microwave for a minute, or on the stove, till they give a nice aroma. Allow to cool. Roast the fenugreek seeds, asafetida and turmeric, till the fenugreek starts turning dark brown. Allow to cool. Grind everything to a fine powder.

For Tempering-
1. Oil
2. Mustard seeds
3. Asafetida

Method-
Select limes that are healthy and have a thin skin, or healthy lemons with no soft spots.  Wash them well, wipe and let them dry completely. Squeeze out the juice from 6 limes/8 lemons and keep aside. Cut the remaining limes/ lemons into quarters, or small wedges and put them in an airtight, glass or porcelain container. Add the green chilies, Ginger and mango ginger, bitter gourd and cluster beans. Add the salt and mix well with a clean wooden ladle. Add the reserved lime/Lemon juice. Cover well, and store in a dry, cool place.
Stir the pickle mixture every morning, for about a fortnight. After 2 weeks, make the pickle powder fresh, and add to the pickle. Mix well, and store for about a fortnight more. Stir the mixture every few days with a clean wood ladle.
Before serving , make a tempering of the ingredients given above and mix with the pickle. The pickle has a greater shelf life if it is refrigerated, especially in cold climates.