mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

Caronde Hari Mirch ki Sabzi

In From the Garden, Fruit, on the side, Pickles, Under 30 min!, Uttar Pradesh, Vegetarian on June 21, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Caronde 02

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Apple Soup

In Fruit, Low Fat, Soup, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on January 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm

applesoup 01

It got nippy and there it stayed, just nippy. Kashmiri people divide winter into three sub-seasons associated with the intensity of the cold. Right now, we are in the middle of the 40-day period of Chillai Kalan, the harshest part of winter that starts on the night of the winter solstice. It is followed by a 20-day long Chillai Khurd, and then it peters out into a brief 10-day Chillai Baccha, before the herald of Spring in March. Many of our festivals and rituals, as seen in our winter celebrations, are closely tied to a shared history with Persian Zoroastrian traditions.

In Punjab Lohri celebrations, with the ceremonial communal bonfire, mark the coldest night of Winter. Lohri, which was two days ago, on the 13th, came and went with nary a shiver. We were still walking around in the lightest of sweaters here in Delhi. It was far from the coldest night of the winter it is expected to be.

But, the morning after, the clouds rolled in. It hasn’t rained but the Western Disturbances, as they are called, have brought in some chill and the resultant cheer, to Delhi-winters. There should be snow in the mountains too!

Chilli

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Toasting a Half Century

In Drinks, From the Garden, Fruit, Preserves, Road Trip, Travel, Under 30 min! on August 5, 2015 at 4:49 pm
Road Tripping!

Road Tripping!

I’ve been away a while. Well, we were planning this vacation-of-a-lifetime, a six-week holiday in another part of the world! How many people can manage that today! The preceding month was crazy at work; the blog had to take the backseat again. Vijay was at his desk till an hour before we were to leave for the airport. We didn’t even get the time to dig out winter woollies from the big trunk in the storeroom. I was going to arrive in the US with no fashionable warm clothes. The taxi arrived and V was still to shower and eat. Eventually, we did manage to zip-up the cases and leave for the airport in time. As long as we had money and passports, we didn’t need to worry.

The following six weeks turned out to be a vacation to remember. Friends and family shared generously their time and their homes and we got another peek at the amazing country that is the USA. How much of it I will be able to recount here I don’t know – it took me over a month and five posts to cover our 10 days in Ladakh last year! But I love to go back and re-read all the travel posts here. It is surprising how much we forget as time passes. The brain stores but foggy memories and none of the detail. I do want to remember this trip. I turned 50 last month and this vacation turned out to be quite the celebration! It wasn’t planned with that in mind though.

raising a toast

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Pickled Grapes

In Birds and Bees, From the Garden, Fruit, Low Fat, on the side, Pickles, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on June 10, 2014 at 8:16 pm

grapes BW

Hot, hot. It’s a dry sauna in here! You could actually fry an egg on the sidewalk. And yet some things, native plants and creatures, thrive in this heat. At the moment, I am functioning with hardly any house-help. Kumari is away (for more than a month now) to her village in Bihar; Babloo, the presswala (for those who may not know, the chap who wields the “press” or iron, to iron our clothes!), also from Bihar, went away for a few weeks to make the most of his children’s summer vacations (he got back this morning!). He was also filling in for Chandu, who comes weekday mornings to wipe down the cars. So, I have had my hands more than full. The gardener, though in town, was a bit down in spirits, and there I was, watering the plants every other scorching evening. Yes, it doesn’t cool down even in the evenings. It become less hot, but never cool, till the monsoons arrive. No wonder we make so much song and dance about the Monsoon Season; yes, it is its own season – Saavan – in these parts, and much celebrated in Indian literature, paintings, and music.

On that first evening when I picked up the hose, I also decided to turn the pots to get even light on the less exposed sides. And, there was this tiny nest in the Ficus in the corner! The mystery of the chirpy sunbirds tailorbirds every morning explained! I rotated the plant back, so that the nest continued to stay hidden. A few days later, I became the anxious “carer” not having spotted the parents birds all afternoon and believing the nest to have been abandoned. I took a peek, and there they were, four tiny hatchlings in the nest! Google came to the rescue as always and I researched on how many hours hatchlings can survive without parent attention. I learned, with a heavy heart, that it is best to leave them alone and not care for them even if they have been abandoned. Ah, but come evening, there she was, the mother tailorbird! All was well after all. I resolved to take no more peeks lest I scare the parents to abandon their babies.

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Bumtchoonth Wangun: Walking down memory lane…

In Fruit, Kashmiri, on the side, Preserves, This and That, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on November 1, 2009 at 1:02 am

Quince

Bumtchoonth (quince)

If you take a good look, you will find that the majority of the posts on this blog are around memories. Mostly memories about food. Yet, from the moment Manisha announced her IFR: Memories I seem to have been at a loss for words! Her deadline, extended, is looming and I can feel the pressure as she churns out post after daily post on IFR.

Many of my vivid memories are around food, which must be true for a lot of you. Despite nostalgia rendering most things pink, resurrecting food of our memories usually turns out well. Unless you are attempting to recreate your mother’s cooking. That one is hard to get spot on. Few can rival a mother’s prowess. Hopefully, our children will look at our cooking the same way, and we will have our spot in the limelight.

This summer, for example, before setting off for college faraway, the son finally awarded me a 10-on-10 for my rogan josh. He also added that not only had I cooked a swell rogan josh, I now had my own secret ingredient for it! Which was true – I had tweaked my mother’s recipe a tad – I added a teeny weeny bit of ground mace. What was I to do – after trying in vain to match her rogan josh for ten years, I rebelled and made it better :). Well, not really. By that time I had likely put in my time – the minimum requisite to get certification – behind cooking rogan josh to have finally got the art down. Yes, recipes evolve…in an effort to better your mom’s cooking when you can’t make it just like her’s. I bet my son’s food memories are starting to stack up. Read the rest of this entry »

Caronde he Caronde

In Bread, Chutneys, From the Garden, Fruit, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 19, 2008 at 12:25 am

caronde ki chutney

Please don’t mention Caronda* for some time…it is in every jar I had spare!  There is no room for any more pickles or preserves…As I mentioned last time, I made some caronda chutney a week ago, to use up part of my Dad’d harvest from a bush I planted about ten years ago in the front yard of their house.  I used the idea of a sweet-tangy Indian chutney such as saunth (sweet and sour tamarind chutney) or a mango chutney made with unripe mangoes.  The effort was much appreciated. Since it was a trial batch I got just enough to fill two tiny jars that I sent off to my mum and sister.  The next batch was a repeat of the recipe and this time the effort yielded a big jar – plenty, I thought.

There were still some carondas left which then went into a pickle, pits and all, along with some unripe mango, lotus root, and green chillies. I keep that stoneware jar in the sun, what little there is of it at this time, bring it in every evening, and give it a good stir.  It is looking good.

So far so good.  My mum liked the relish a lot.  She doesn’t eat too much pickle because of the high salt content.  I told her that pitting the fruit was a pain in the rear.  She pitted about a kilo with the help of her maid and presented it to me.  I had thought more like: ok, here’s a recipe you might like to try… But I came home and made my third batch of caronda chutney.  This batch had fewer ingredients – I had already used up my dates; no gur – I couldn’t be bothered; less sugar – I had used up a lot of sugar in the past couple of weeks between the caronda relish and the mango jam, and was making statements with big exclamatory marks regarding the sugar content of the chutney.  The fruit for this batch had ripened further on the plant, was a deeper pink, and there was a subtle change in texture too.  What a pretty pink it turned in the pan!  And the texture – why, it reminded me of sour cherries in syrup!  The slight crispness as you bite into one was so similar!  That made me Google for recipes using sour cherries and I found a bunch that hold promise for next year!  I make no promises…but there might even be Caronda Liqueur on these pages one day!

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Express Wholegrain Pancakes

In Bread, Fruit, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on July 10, 2008 at 12:30 am

terrace in the rain
I think I have hibernated long enough.  And it is not even the season.  ‘Tis the season to be out and enjoy the rains – which, after it having rained most of May and all of June, have disappeared since we officially entered the monsoon season.  That’s the weather update for you.

A couple of weeks ago I was again confronted with two over-ripe bananas in the fridge – stored in the fridge so as to extend their pulpy lives further – and their demise looked nigh.  There were some other things in the pantry that needed to be used up before they turned bad.  Such as cornmeal from winter.  It will turn bitter unless I use it up soon. And we know how the Indian middle-class hates to throw out anything, especially food.

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Sunny Salubri-tea

In Drinks, From the Garden, Fruit, Low Fat, on the side, Tea Party on September 10, 2007 at 1:17 am

black tea leaves

The spirit was willing…but the flesh very weak. But here I am after a not-too-long hiatus from blogging. I guess, we all need a break now and then, to get the juices flowing again.

JFI:Rice came. And went. Nothing from the Kashmir stables after having admitted “there is much Kashmiris do with rice.” That too when I have, at the least, nine varieties of rice in my pantry! And I had so planned to cook ver, the Kashmiri rice gruel/konji/risotto named after the spice mix that goes into it, that is cooked to kick off all auspicious functions. It will have to wait for some time, though I do have just the rice for it.

Meanwhile, let me serve you something cool and refreshing, while there is still some heat in the sun and warmth in the weather. Just in time for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle: Liquid Dreams.

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Mango Jam

In Dips and Spreads, Fruit, Low Fat, Preserves on July 17, 2007 at 8:09 am

 mango jam
Nothing compares to the taste of organically grown fresh produce from your own garden. It is seasonal, it has ripened naturally, and made it to your table with the smallest ecological footprint possible.

But if the bounty is large you may be left with a lot even after you have shared it with friends, family, neighbours, and house help. That is when you fall back on the age old methods for preserving fresh produce. Sun-drying, and freezing are the easiest.

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When Life Gives You Limes…

In Drinks, Fruit, Low Fat, Tea Party on June 30, 2007 at 12:07 am

limes

When life gives you lemons…well, actually I got limes, Persian limes, to be precise…make limeade.  I have finally established that what we use in India are not lemons! The most common yellow nimboo (from Persian – limoo) that we use day in and day out, goes by the name Key Lime in the US. What my Dad has in his garden are two Persian Lime trees.

mangoes

The crop is in – I have 90 kilos of Amrapali mangoes, and 20 kilos of the most beautiful limes to deal with! Usually, I have to tackle just about a third of this, but with my parents away for the summer I have to consume/process the major part of this lot. A third has already been sent to my sister who lives in the neighbouring city of Gurgaon. She is going to have to make her own pickles and jams this year 🙂 – I have too much on my hands.

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