Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mewa nu Achar

I wanted to make something for the AFAM event: dry fruits hosted by Yum blog. I didn't want to make cake or cookies. No, it's not that I am not making these. But off late, I have been cooking just too much. It's the time, we just give up our resolve of eating healthy. This is the time, we dig in the most. I am embarrassed to admit that I have been deep-frying, baking, and cooking like there is no tomorrow. But the guests are arriving and there will be many kids. I have to make cookies for them and of course for Santa. There is just too much of excitement. Anyway, new year will be here soon, and I guess, I have to deal with the extra pounds that I would gain in just last 2 weeks of the year. But then, I have to keep something for the new year resolutions, correct?

Anyways, back to the dry fruits, so I wanted to make this amazing pickle which is a Parsi delicacy. It was on my "to-do" list for a long time. and there are too many opportunities at the same time. Dry fruit event and guests are coming - how else would I get the scapegoats to taste it?:-) Actually, I was almost tempted to submit my "Soul Kadhi" for the dry fruit event, since Kokum is also a dried fruit. But then I changed my mind thinking, when you say "dry fruit", you think more of dried figs, raisins, and dates rather than my dear kokum. So here it goes!

The recipe is adapted from Dr. Katy Dalal's book "Jamva Chalo ji". If you love Parsi food or if you are interested in cooking Parsi food then Dr. Katy Dalal's this book which comes in two parts, is a good addition to your kitchen library. I have changed the recipe quite a bit to have more dryfruits.Also, Dr. Dalal says that this pickle should be more on sweeter side, but I didn't put as much sugar as she had recommended. and last but not least, it doesn't have oil. (well, all that baking and cooking takes care of it!) :-)

I am planning to give this "Mawa nu achar" with a label "Dry fruit Chutney" to my colleagues. Hopefully they will enjoy it.

Mewa Nu Achar
Dry fruit Pickle
Ingredients
1 tbsp dried mango
1 tbsp dried cherries
1 tbsp dried papaya
1 tbsp dried pineapple
1 tbsp dried prunes
1 tbsp dried dates
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp dried blueberries
1 tbsp dried figs
1 tbsp dried raisins

1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup + 1 tbsp white vinegar

salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp paprika
A generous pinch of cardamom powder
A generous pinch of nutmeg powder
3-4 strands of saffron
Method
1. Cut all the dry fruits in a bite sized pieces. Add more or less so that the entire dry fruit collection measures up to 1 heaped cup.
2. Soak them in about 1 cup white vinegar overnight.
3. Heat grated carrots along with 1 tbsp vinegar, sugar and garlic. 4. As the carrots soften, add soaked dryfruits along with the vinegar.
5. Add salt, paprika, turmeric powder, mughlai garam masala, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and saffron.
6. Stir till all the liquid evaporates and a thick gravy is formed.
7. Cool completely. Store in an airtight jar. Refrigerate.

Note -
1. I have significantly reduced the sugar. But you can add more if you like.
2. The original recipe does not have so many dryfruits. I must admit, I got a little carried away! :-)
3. The original recipe calls for sugarcane vinegar. I had no idea what it is or where to get it. I just happily used my usual white distilled vinegar! :-) But then my new blog buddy, Shweta (of fresh flavors) commented that sugarcane vinegar is available in India and is used by her mom in making Punjabi pickles with turnips and carrots. It is red/brown in color and has a flavor different than white vinegar. Thanks, Shweta for all this information. I think, the sugarcane vinegar will taste better than the white distilled vinegar.
4. When soaking dry fruits in vinegar, do not use any metal container. Instead, use a glass or ceramic container. I couldn't find any proof for this, but my grandma always said not to keep any sour fruits like tamarind/kokum in steel containers. They need to be stored in a ceramic one. So following that age-old wisdom, I soaked the dryfruits with vinegar in a glass bowl.

Credits
1. Recipe adapted from "Jamva Chalo ji - Part 1" by Dr. Katy Dalal.

This post is my contribution to AMFM:Dry Fruits hosted by Yum Blog.

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