Something strange is going on with the weather. We have had the wettest spring ever and the frequent showers have kept the temperatures down. I start my day wearing a vest by habit and then within an hour find myself going back down to change into a full-sleeved sweater. Climate change? Maybe that is too drastic but this is definitely not our usual Spring.
I did indulge myself in some typical spring activities anyway, such as drinking kanji and enjoying the sunshine; the spring did start out sunny. Mid-January found us traversing the city on a few occasions. One Sunday morning was spent at the IGNCA viewing Delhi: A Living Heritage exhibit. On our way back we decided to criss-cross a little and take in the city lights. We found ourselves joining the crowds watching the rehearsals for the Beating the Retreat ceremony. We stood there awhile, soaking in national pride and such emotions.
Another Sunday afternoon we first hopped on the Metro, took the city bus next, and then walked to the National Gallery of Modern Art where we heard the very articulate Anish Kapoor talk about his work (and even enjoyed a cup of tea with him!). Later we walked from the NGMA to the Chinmaya Mission auditorium for TH’s student’s Kuchipudi dance performance, and then took the Metro back home.
We walked over 6.5km!
This winter-spring season I made more than my usual share of pickles. The extra kilos I have gained this season, that is all water retention from all that pickle I consumed. That’s my explanation anyway. Last time I shared the recipe for a new pickle I tried this winter. But I also made batches of the old favourites. This particular pickle is a favourite of my son’s and I managed to make a small batch for him before he went back to college after the winter holidays. No, not to carry with him – just to eat here. Chocolate chip cookies and homemade chiwda is what he packs for hostel!
Archana, here is the recipe, specially for you, while the vegetables are still in season! [Another reader has been waiting for a promised recipe for a long time. I promise the authentic “mah ki daal” will be the next post, Suma!]
Gobhi Gajar Shulgum ka Achaar
(Sweet and sour pickle of cauliflower, carrots, and turnips)
1 kg each of turnips, carrots, and cauliflower
400ml white vinegar
200 gms garlic
200 gms ginger
500ml mustard oil
50gms red chilli powder
10gms black cardamom
5 gms cloves
Trim cauliflower into florets. Cut carrots into thick 2″ long batons. Trim and dice turnips thick. Bring around 3 litres of water to boil. Blanch the prepared vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, spread on absorbent cloth and dry in shade for a day.
Boil vinegar and jaggery together into a syrup. Boiling vinegar smells awful but persevere. Pound ginger and garlic coarsely and fry in oil over medium heat. Take off heat. Pound the whole spices coarsely. Into the oil mix in all the spices and the vinegar syrup. Add salt and the prepared vegetables. Mix well and transfer to clean dry stoneware or glass jars.
Keep the jars in the sun during the day for a few days (longer if inside) to cook the pickle. The sweet and sour pickle makes an excellent accompaniment to a North Indian meal. The pickle will easily keep for a year but is best eaten within 2-3 months when the vegetables still retain a lovely crunch, by when it be time to move on to freshly prepared mango pickles!