Aamra (June plum or dondong) a local fruit you get almost everyday of the year but to get the best kind, look for it now. Sharaat gives you some of the best Bangladeshi fruits like peyara (guava), aamra and aata (custard apple). I have already made 60 jars of guava jam as a part of my preserving ritual. Now it is the turn for aamra. Aamra, a natural source of vitamin C. This is rich with antioxidant properties which help to prevent various types of cancer, improves digestion and immune system. Aamra makes excellent pickle. It has a tangy sweet spicy taste that goes brilliant with Kichuri or plain rice. I like to have spoon full of aamra pickle, just to pass time. I got some good quality aamra from Kushtia last week. They are not too sour, almost on the sweeter side, which makes great pickles.
Preparing the aamra is kind of tough. After you peel, you get the fruit and the inner skin is slippery. Thus cutting in small pieces is difficult. It takes time and patience to prepare aamra. Then, all the other ingredients need to be ready within reach. All the items are easily available in our kitchens. But make sure you have jaggery ready too. Many uses sugar, but that is a complete no-no for me when I make sweet and sour desi pickles. Mustard oil and jaggery are the main items that make the pickles finger licking good. Cane jaggery is available in all the super shops, so grab as much as you need before you plan to make the pickle. However I always keep jaggery in the fridge.
The entire process takes about 1 hour till you bottle it, thus keep pickle bottles handy as well. This recipe calls for two 500 gm jars. I like to have small square pieces of linen ready to cover the jars as you let it sun bath for at least 3 days. This is an important part, as you need to give time to the spices and the fruit to know each other well. After few days when the initial ice breaks, they will be friendlier and put up a great team work. No pickle tastes good right after making it, it needs resting time, to blend and mix properly.
So here you go the recipe in details:
You will need….
1 kg good quality aamra (not very sour)
250 gm jaggery
300 ml Mustard oil
1 heaped teaspoon each of ground red pepper, turmeric, desi 5 spice (paanch phoron), and mustard
200 gm garlic lightly pounded
1 tablespoon ginger paste
5 dry red pepper
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon vinegar
How to do it:
First heat the oil in a heavy base pan and throw in the pounded garlic. Fry the garlic until just brown. When it gives out the aroma but not yet brown, is the right time to put ground turmeric, pepper and salt. Mix for 2 minutes and give in the aamra. Mix all the ingredients well and cover for 10 minutes. The fruit will cook mostly at this phase. After 10 minutes give in, the rest of the ingredients, one by one. Then mix it for 2/3 minutes. Once the mixing is done again cover and cook for 15 minutes in medium heat. After 15 minutes you will see the fruit has thoroughly cooked and the oil came on the top. This is the time to give the vinegar and adjust salt. Cook for further 5 minutes in medium high heat.
Then let it rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the bottles. Put the pickle when it is still warm, but not hot. Don’t cover until it has totally cooled down. Cover the jar with a piece of cloth and tie it tightly and cover with lid. In the morning put it out in direct sunlight uncovering the lid only. Repeat for 3 days. Then open the cloth and tightly put the lid on. Have it with your weekend kichuri.