7 September, 2014
Aamrar tawk (Hog Plum Chutney)
The weather outside is definitely not the same as it was couple weeks ago. The leaves are changing colour. There is a chill in the air. We just finished harvesting the vegetables from our our garden. Beets, lettuce, carrots are exchanging hands in the office. Reminiscing the summer is our favourite past time now. ‘This was one of the hottest summer in a long time’. ‘I grew cucumbers and melons which hardly do well in the Prairie summer’. ‘I even have a tan like you’, boasted my caucasian friends. We all agreed time has come to say good bye to summer.
I came across these ” Aamras “, in an Indian grocery store last time I was in the city. Known as Hog plum in English, the fancy Botanical name being Spondias mombin. Many many summers ago in India I distinctly remember how excited we were to see Baba emptying Aamras from his grocery bag. Those were the days before plastic bags were in vogue. We had separate fabric bags for vegetables and fish. Smooth green on the outside resembling a guava or even a green plum it had a tough inside. We knew Ma would cook a delicious chutney with the Aamras. A bit sweet , a bit tart, just like chutneys are supposed to be. The teeth were put to good use those long summer afternoons relishing the fibrous interior.
Aamra cut in small cubes Four fruits
Coconut grated Three Tbsp
Jaggery ( ground ) One cup
Sugar One and a half cup
Red chillies ( dried ) A couple broken into pieces.
Poppy seeds or Khus Khus Two Tbsps.
Grated ginger One tsp.
Mustard seeds One tsp
Canola Oil Half Tbsp
Wash the Aamra pieces.
In a pan take half a Tbsp of Canola oil on high heat. Add a couple of dried red chillies and a tsp of mustard seeds. Wait till the seeds splutter, then add the cut pieces of Aamra, and turn the gas down to medium. Saute for about three to four minutes. Add two cups of water. Cover and let it come to a boil.
Put the poppy seeds in a grinder and make a smooth paste. I usually dry grind it then add water to make a thick paste. Keep aside.
Add salt, sugar and jaggery now. Next throw in the ground poppy seeds paste . You will find it thickening fast. Add the ginger paste and more water only to make it to your desired consistency. Put the gas off. Garnish with grated coconut.
Enjoy it with rice or as a dip, slather it on bread to get an exotic taste.
Store in a glass jar. Keep in the fridge. Stays well for a week.
Baba is the Bengali word for Dad.
Poppy seeds or KhusKhus is available in Indian Grocery stores. Also known as Posto in Bengali.
The measurements are to my taste. It is alright to tweak it to yours.