Backyard to Table – Making Jams and Pickles The Grandma Way

Backyard to Table – Making Jams and Pickles The Grandma Way

Recently, I heard Rujuta Diwekar speaking about food confusion. She speaks about food many times and reiterates stuff like ” Eat local and seasonal food”. What she tells is nothing different that why my Aaji, Aaji in law and my mom practiced. It is just that we stopped listening to them as we grew up. Anything homemade has a charm of its own. I loved the way the whole family got engaged while aaji made papad and pickles. She also used to make Sandge ( grated mixed veggies dried in the hot summer sun) or vaththals as we call them in Tamil, on the side. The dried variety includes Moong Vadi, Carrot and other vegetable sandge, Layvadya ( Made out of leftover jowar porridge), Mor Mozhaga or Dahi Mirchi ( These were staples). Maybe in my next post, I will elaborate on each of them and write about the papad variety. But today I am going to share the mango jam recipe and pickle recipe which many of you asked.

My mom used to make amazing pickles all through the year. She believed in the goodness of pickles prepared in a specific season. In Summer, she used to make mango pickle which we used to call Big Pickle. Apart from the big pickle, there used to be one “Chalu Lonche” which can be eaten as it is made. The term Chalu means something which is in practice. So this pickle we could eat till the Big Pickle soaks in all the ingredients and gets ready for consuming. Apart from Big Pickle and Chalu Pickle, she used to make “Takku”. “Takku” is a spicy mix of grated raw mangoes, red chili powder and tampering with mustard oil. Takku stays around for 1 month and is a go-to accompaniment for hot chapati or poori. These were savory varieties of year-long mango treasure. Among the sweet varieties, she used to make mango jam ( Mango chunks and grated mangoes)  and aam panna ( sharbat). As the true Annapoorna that she was, in winters, people used to swear by the delicious vegetable pickle that she used to make. The taste of Amla Pickle still lingers in my mouth. Have you heard about curd pickle made with Amla, she had named it as “Raveni”.

This year 23 kgs of mangoes were harvested from the backyard and I did not waste a single mango. Used all of it to make these amazing varieties of real, homemade condiments.

Last year, while I went for cutting mangoes for pickle, there came a lady. She asked me, do you know how to make pickle? I said “ yes”. She said will you help me make it. I said I am not a “pro” but I can make it.

Since 2016, we have been making pickles with my sister’s mil “Ganga Narayanan”. Ganga Mami is Annapoorna herself and every pickle that she makes is tasty, stays well for years together. This time I wanted to try it out and give her some of it. Thank you Ganga Mami for making me adept with pickle making process. Can’t thank you enough.

As I posted it on my WhatsApp status and FB status, many people have asked about the recipe for homemade jam or Sakharamba/ Gulamba.

Mango Jam Or Sakharamba

  • Once you get the mangoes from the market or from the backyard, see that you soak them in water for at least an hour. After an hour take them out and let them get dried for further process.
  • As they look fresh without any oil on them, start peeling them and cutting them into small/ medium pieces. You can keep bigger chunks for the jam. You can even grate the mango for getting an exact jam-like texture.
  • Get a big kadhai or pan, and add 8-10 teaspoons of ghee. I used homemade cow ghee, but you can use any brand.
  • Add mango chunks. Keep it simmering till all the chunks become golden brown. Once the chunks are golden brown you can add the sugar/palm jaggery/jaggery to it. I eyeballed the quantity of sugar ( Approx 2 kgs for 4 kg of mangoes) as per the taste.
  • Mix the sugar and add water till it covers ¾ th of the mango chunks. Keep stirring. You can off the gas stove when you see that the water and sugar have combined really well, soaking in the mango chunks. Leave the sugar syrup little lose because after cooling down it hardens giving it a jam-like consistency.
  • Once the Jam or Gulamba has cooled down, transfer it in a bigger airtight jar.
  • Instead of opening a store bought mixed fruit jam or store-bought gulamba, this is a simple method to enjoy the goodness of homegrown mangoes in the summer.

How to make Mango Pickle

Mango pickle is the trickiest of them all. The reason behind it is that you have to look after the pickle like a baby. As you make it, you have to transfer it into airtight glass jars or the china clay pots which are specially made for pickles, cover the lid with a small muslin cloth. Keep mixing the pickle very 30 days once. I eyeballed all the quantities so this recipe wouldn’t be elaborating on the exact quantities but will give you a basic idea.

  • For 5-6 kgs of mangoes I used, 2kgs of Sesame Oil, 2 kgs of Salt, 1 kg of Chily Powder, 500 gms of mustard seeds ( Which were crushed into powder), Fenugreek powder ( very little)

Okay, enough of disclaimers. Here is a recipe

  • Mangoes need to be soaked in water and dried thoroughly
  • Once they are dried, cut them with Amba Fodni ( Mango Cutter ) or get it cut from the market
  • If you are getting the mangoes cut from the market see that you wipe off each and every piece
  • Soak the mango pieces in salt, keep it for 30 mins or so, then add Chily powder and mix well. Once it is mixed, add mustard powder, fenugreek powder. Keep it aside.
  • Take a big kadai, make it hot on the stove pour the oil and off the gas.
  • The oil needs to be warm while adding not hot.
  • Once you add the oil, mix it thoroughly.
  • As you transfer it in an airtight jar, first add a layer of salt to the jar and then fill in the pickle.
  • Keep the jars in a place where they get indirect sunlight.
  • In 4-5 days the Pickle will be ready to eat.

While I did the cooking part, I felt I have revived the trend of bringing in the whole family together for this culinary experiment of mine. My FIL got the mangoes from the backyard, my dad helped me peel it, cut and grate it. My husband helped to cut mangoes for the big pickle, my daughter was a witness to all the work that was going in. I hope she learned a thing or two. This is the way we can propagate the idea of sustainability to our next generation.

This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest hosted by FashionableFoodz in association with Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest, FashionableFoodz or Godrej is not responsible for any infringement caused. #GodrejFoodTrends2018Contest  #GFTR2018

A Beginner’s Guide To Indoor Plants

I am having indoor plants for a year or so now. Initially, I was a bit scared because I do not have a green thumb. As we shifted to a new place, which had a lot of places to keep these indoor plants I decided to have some of them. But going to any nursery and getting them was a tough task.

One day I visited the CP Ramaswamy Art Gallery in Alwarpet and found that there were some good plants kept in the exhibition. The one which struck the chord was the bamboo plant standing tall. I quickly got it along with a money plant and an Aloe Vera sapling. I was scared because this was the first time I had indoor plants. It has been a year that we have the bamboo and I have propagated money plant very well in four to five small saplings.

Aloe Vera has already delivered so many small saplings…

I got the plants from the exhibition and a stall of The Artium by Rajalakshmi. Rajalakshmi has a studio in Kottivakkam. I have not visited her studio but she has a lot of nicely potted indoor plants. You might ask, one can get indoor plants from any nursery why such a reservation about getting plants from The Artium. My only way of answering to this is that the plants which I got from other nurseries in the past could not survive.

There may be a fault in my ways to look after the plant but the Bamboo has survived for a year and a half, lit up the corner of our home. please visit The Artium by Rajalakshmi to get wonderful plants which survive. 🙂

indoor plants

Here are some points that are important while getting your indoor plants

The Direction of the House:

My home faces south and there is not much light inside the house during the day. There are very few corners which are lit up in the house. So this was a primary concern while getting the indoor plants. I kept Bamboo plant in such a way that it gets indirect sunlight from the entrance door. I guess that was enough for it. Bamboo is also a water plant, so I keep changing the water in around 15 days. The same row where we get ample indirect sunlight has four indoor plants, Philodendron, Money Plant, Bamboo and Snake Plant. Philodendron is a relatively new plant, not sure how would it behave but so far going well.

Soil or Water

My attempt at growing a money plant inside the house in soil was totally spoilt. For a brief period, I kept it outside. Aloe Vera and Money plant were growing together. But then, I tried taking out the growing nodes from money plant and kept them to grow in water inside the house. To my surprise, It was growing very very well. So, if any of the indoor plants are not doing well inside, please give it a chance to survive outdoors where you do not get direct sunlight. The sapling might bloom.

General Care

If you are planning to have a money plant in water, please change the water often. For Bamboo, it is okay to refill every fifteen days. But while doing so, wash the roots properly so that the infections if any get washed away.

For plants which are potted in soil, I feel a strict vigil on the water content of that soil and watering it when needed would help.  

Mobile phones, chargers, laptop chargers and other gadgetry should be avoided where the plants are kept.

The pots you use

I have used glass vase, a bottle, a mason jar, a tea kettle and repurposed wine bottles for growing my money plant and aloe vera. You can try your unused crockery for the same. Check out the type of plant you are potting and give it a try. It is all try-worthy.

Let me know if you have any existing indoor plants. Would love to know how do you care for them.

 

Every Summer Has a Story

Every Summer Has a Story

As much as people disgrace summer for the heat, children

love to spend their time without any timetable, books, teachers and school 🙂 Each one of us have been through this wonderful phase of our lives “ Childhood”. Summer is the time to relive these memories time and again. While I face the scorching heat while on roads, these beautiful memories make me nostalgic.

Here are some of my very special summer memories:

  • Waking up to the cuckoo’s coo, a typical morning alarm in India during summers
  • The opening of the carton of Alphonso mangoes specially brought from Nagpur
  • The breakfast of Aamras and roti. Topping aamras with ghee every single time before binging.
  • Indoor games with cousines like carrom, rummy, chess and now pallanguzhi
  • Filling water in cooler making it ready for hot and scorching summer afternoons.
  • Making of pickles, aam panna, appalam and papads
  • Relaxing on the lazy evening sipping on aam panna
  • Playing with water for hours together, to beat the heat
  • Reading champak, chanda mama, tinkle, chacha choudhary and saboo’s shenanigans.
  • The red hot petals of Gulmohar and Blushing Bahava or Yellow Bells
  • Evenings on the beach, eating candy floss

 

These are just some of them, I am sure you may be having many to add.

 

Let us know what are your favorite summer memories? Comment below.

 

 

Mono-Travelogues – 1

Mono-Travelogues – 1

An early morning packup
A vacation after a long
Srirangam Bodi and nearby
Arun planned it all.

Happy,excited and nerve wrecking
The roadtrip that it was
Arun was the driver
And he drove it all along.

Srirangam Trichy –
Beautiful calm place
The old trees and the new
The coconut tall and the bougainvillea bloom
The small town made the memories loom

The grace of Lord spread all over
the sunshine on the rooftops
The Gopuram shines bright
At the dusk and at the dawn

Takes us back to the old days
Of Rajas and Maharajas
Grandeur! Is its name?

Stand in the queue
Look at the Lord
A moment of Darshan
Of the resting God

Of several sannidhis
And great architecture
Hide and seek of the moon
The devotees and the devotion

Sing a Bhajan or join both hands
Blessed are those who come here to this great Land……