The summer bounty of produce from the garden that can be made into chutneys, pickles, and jams has started. The first to arrive are the fallen mangoes that I usually make into a quick-pickle or a sweet mango chutney. But, this year, owing to Mum’s house crawling with workers (we are renovating) there weren’t many left for us. In fact, most of the low-hanging fruit disappeared from the trees while still quite green.
The army of kids of the caretaker in the neighbour’s house have also been very kind to pluck a good portion of the higher-up fruits off the tree that abuts the common wall. I will likely have fewer mangoes that will need to be processed into jam. They have also had a free run of the carondas from the bush that is planted in the front yard. Limes have started ripening; I plucked a few from my tree this morning.
My dad remembers his ‘foraging’ days in Kashmir and lets the children be. The caronda shrub is heavily laden and has yielded enough for them and us. I shared some with friends and neighbours as well. There should be an even bigger crop around September, after the rains. That is when I will make Caronde ki Chutney to keep till next year. To start the season off I made this simple caronde-mirch ki sabzi, more a pickle than a sabzi really, that takes all of ten minutes to put together. It makes a great accompaniment to North Indian food and is just the kind of side to perk up those taste buds overwhelmed by this muggy weather.
Caronde Hari Mirch ki Sabzi
Natal Plums with Green Chillis
100gms caronde, halved
50gms hot green chillies, slit into two
1/4 C oil (peanut or mustard oil)
a pinch of strong hing
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/4 t methi (fenugreek) seeds, coarsely pounded
a pinch of turmeric
1 t coriander powder
1/4 t garam masala
Heat oil in a karahi. Add hing, cumin and methi seeds. As they turn fragrant add the remaining spices and give it a stir. Add caronde, chillies, and salt and stir to mix everything together. Cover for 2-3 minutes. Remove cover and stir. Let cook another 2 minutes, stirring once in between.
Cool and refrigerate. Consume within a week. Serve in place of a pickle or relish with any North Indian meal.
I seem to have added a lot more chillies last year!