Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Gift of Community: Mangalorean Wedding Pickle

I first tasted this pickle at my dearest friend P's home. She had just returned from a family wedding and this was part of the goodies she brought back with her. While catching up at dinner we were served this amazing pickle! My hubby who is very fond of all things sweet and sour tasted this pickle and boy did he like it. It is was an unusual combination to us.....Ivy gourd and carrots! Never imagined that it would/could make such an addictive pickle.

P dug up her copy of the Mangalorean Ladies club cookbook and we found the recipe. I made a batch and on tasting, P gave it 2 thumbs up in terms of taste and flavor. 

This pickle is prepared weeks before a wedding takes place in the community. Women relatives and neighbors gather one afternoon and cut the vegetables to make the pickle.... such a warm and communal feeling that we lack in the modern era of nuclear families.

Fast forward.

A few year ago when we were in India for a short stint I was able to team up with a neighbor G mami (age 75+) and made pickles and preserves all through the summer, it was such great fun as I relived some of my childhood summers through the process! My only regret was that I did not try making papads. G Mami is the quintessential "Iyer Mami"  immensely talented and is like the Energizer bunny, always doing something whether it be cooking meals for the family (she cooks most of the 3 course meals daily) visiting temples, maintaining fasts and conducting poojas and had very busy social calendar. However she always had time to do so many "other"activities, I often wondered how she did it and if I would have the same enthusiasm and vigour when I am her age. When Making this pickle I thought she may not appreciate it, but her family liked it so much that she made a batch too!

500 gms, carots, peeled and sliced into inch long matchsticks
500 gms, tendli, (ivy gourd) thinly sliced
1 cup garlic, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup crushed garlic
1/2 cup green chillies, sliced
1/4 cup curry leaves
1 1/2 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sesame oil
2tbsp + 2 tbsp salt

Pickle powder
1cup dry red chillies ( mix Byadgi and spicy chilies in equal amounts)
2 tbsp Chana dal2 tbsp urad dal (dhuli)
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp methi Dana
1/2 tsp mustard seeds

Dry roast all the above ingredients, individually on a pan on low heat. Mix and make a fine powder. Set aside.
Mix 2 tbsp salt with carrots and tendli/kundru and place in a large plastic container. Set a plate smaller than the bowl on top of the vegetable and place couple of heavy cans so that the vegetables are made to sink into the juice/liquid that it releases. Allow it to brine for a day or two. Remove from the brine and sun dry the vegetables for another two days.After the vegetables have dried, make the pickle powder and keep aside. Heat vinegar and water and boil the garlic and green chillies till the color fades (10-12 minutes). Remove the garlic and green chillies and keep aside. In the remaining vinegar solution, add the sugar and allow it to melt and become a bit syrupy (approx. 3/4 cup).Heat sesame oil, add crushed garlic ( use a large kadhai to do this, as the oil will froth up quite a bit), cook for a minute, and add curry leaves. Turn off the flame and as it cools add the garlic and green chillies (boiled). Add the dry vegetables and the vinegar syrup and powdered masala. Taste to check for salt. Store in a glass/porcelain container and it is ready to use in two days.
* The traditional recipe also calls for raw papaya....I did not use it.
* * I use this pickle as a sandwich spread, or on top of rotis, with plain rice and dal.....endless uses! 
* * * Its addictive..... :)

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