Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Shob Phaler Achaar -- Mixed Fresh Fruit Chutney

Phaler Achaar -- Mixed Fresh Fruit Chutney
Shob Phaler Achaar -- Mixed Fresh Fruit Chutney
I have been away from the blog for a long while and believe me I missed it so much. I wanted to sit down and type something out every day and I had this kind of lurch in the pit of my stomach because I was procrastinating.And then again there was so much going on that it seemed sheer crazy to sit at the computer while life passed me by.

It has been a "happening August" here in the BongMom household with the girls' paternal grandparents visiting from India and then their aunt(pishi) and cousin joining in for a couple of weeks. The best part was that darling aunt had scheduled her holiday to coincide with LS's birthday which meant that birthday fun just doubled and tripled.

LittleSis turned 6 this year and I had not really planned for a birthday party beyond a small family affair. For one, she wanted to invite her school friends and I am a lazy Mom who thought it was too much work to track down and invite school classmates during summer vacation. I mean it was doable but too much work.So a small homely birthday was the call of this year.

Now over the summer both the girls have acquired young friends in the neighborhood. And that has turned summer afternoons into those similar to my childhood in India. Where there are kids playing on the driveway and sidewalk, spilling from one home to the other, late until dusk sets in and the street lights flicker to a warm orange glow. In this scenario it was only natural that the neighborhood friends were invited to a "birthday party" by LS, a birthday party which I, the ignorant Mother, had imagined to be a small family affair.

Eventually the birthday which was on a weekday turned into a fat, colorful party on the day itself. Those who could come, came. In throes of panic I got a bounce house which the kids enjoyed a lot. BigSis took over as the games organizer and made the group of kids, who were in a varying age range, play games. Her games were quite interesting and included a game called sardines(take on the age old hide n seek), treasure hunt and balloon popping.Food was outsourced and there was shingara, vegetable chop, chana chaat, pasta and Chettinad biriyani. Kids cried, laughed, fought and enough chaos happened. And like every year, I sweared swore to not throw any more birthday party until LS turns 12.

A quick recuperation from the birthday was followed with visits to the beach and park with cousin who is the same age as LS and therefore great pals. During the weekday I managed to sneak out with sis-in-law for sushi, a movie (The Hundred Foot Journey), dinner at a Portuguese place and of course Thai. And then a two day trip to a kids' amusement park was thrown into the medley.

I am very glad that BS and LS get time to spend with both sides of the family almost every year.  These childhood days are precious and the memories they make with family will go a long way.

School starts tomorrow and summer is over. A year worth of new stuff is waiting for both the girls. I should be excited but honestly, I am not.

To start off the blog after this long break, I will share a chutney, something we call a pickle in Bengali, a achaar. It is not really a pickle, but a Bengali ascribes a chaatni as something that cannot be preserved and needs to be served to finish off a meal, while pickle or achaar is something that has a long life. This particular chutney or achaar has vinegar which means it stays well for a month or two. It is made up of a mix of different kinds of fruits, sweet and sour and is a delicious accompaniment to crackers, paratha or roti.

This recipe was something my mother-in-law learned from mys sis-in-law's neighbor!!! It is sweet, spicy, sour and has a definite kick. If I think of it, it is like a family.

Shob Pholer Achaar -- Mixed Fresh Fruit Chutney

What you need for this Fresh Fruit Chutney is lots of different kind of fruits and vegetables to begin with. Fruits with a balance of sweet and tart.

I had 1 green mango, 2 plum, 1 apricot, 1 apple, 1 carrot, and about  6 sweet peppers. Chop all of these fruits in small pieces.

Now slice about 6-7 pods of garlic in thin slices. If you want it hot slit 4-5 green chillies.

Heat about 5 Mustard Oil in a wide Kadhai or saucepan, which will give you enough surface to cook.

Temper the oil with 3/4th tbsp of PaanchPhoron and 3-4 dried red chilli.

When the spices sizzle and sputter, add the garlic slices. Saute for a few seconds, do not let the garlic brown.Now add the fruits and green chilli. Stir the fruits around and let them soften a bit. With the kind of fruits I mentioned here, it did not take long for them to soften.

Now add about 1/2-3/4th  Cup Vinegar and 1/3rd cup of sugar. Add sugar according to your taste and the sweetness of the fruits. If you think that the fruits are sweet enough add little sugar. If they are tart, add more. Add salt to taste.

Now the fruits will release water. Let them simmer and thicken. Taste and adjust for the thickness of the chutney. Take a spoonful out and put on a plate to check that the consistency is thick and not runny. In this case, it was done in about 20 minutes or so.

Once the chutney cools, put in a jar and refrigerate. It stays well for a month or two.

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  1. Belated happy birthday to LS. The recipe is different than the kind of chutneys we are used to. Nevertheless sounds interesting.

  2. *swore, not sweared. And happy birthday to LS!

    1. Thanks :-) Apparently *sweared* is a non-standard past tense of swear but then I didn't know that and mine was a slip.

  3. I tried this recipe out, but of course, with a few modifications. Firstly, I added a little bit of turmeric powder, our very own haldi, to bring in a little bit of colour. You know the typical Indian mentality. Secondly, instead of tempering it with dry red chillies, I sprinkled red chilli powder. However, I couldn't preserve it for a month because when I came back this evening from office the kadhai was half empty. Thanks Sandeepa for this lovely recipe :)

    1. It is good na ? We are miserly using the jar that my MIL had made. Haldi is a great idea, even raw haldi should be wonderful

  4. Well that's an idea! Raw haldi, though I have never used it but anything new displayed by the veg seller and I itch to experiment with it. Give some idea how to use it. And yes, my sweetness quantum was more than what you prescribed coz family enjoys massive sweet tooth :)


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