Thursday, December 31, 2009

Star Fruit Pickle (Karambala Nonchey/ Karamali Loncha)

Nupur's Recipe Marathon - Day 7

Star Fruits are in season now. I made this simple pickle to stock up for summer use and rainy days. In Konkani, Star Fruit is known as Karambola/ Karambal. I made Star Fruit pickle or Karambalaa Nonchey on the last day of New Year. In Konkani, Nonchey stands for pickle, especially the ones made with spice powders dunked in vegetables of choice. A perfect way to end the year on a spicy note.

This recipe is pretty easy. But since water is added as a broth, the pickle needs to be refrigerated. The Star Fruit oozes out tangy and sour liquor in few days, so this makes the pickle very tasty. Give the pickle a good stir once in a week to ensure the juices mix and blend in. Mom's pickle especially the Star Fruit one is the best and I know I am being biased here, but rightly so. Mine came no where close to her, but its a humble trial. I was delighted to see the Star Fruit's at the local grocery; Bought back memories of childhood when Granny used to pack the huge pickle jars known as Bharanee and send batches of freshly made pickles to all her daughters.

Starfruit (chopped) - 5
Lime Rind - 1 whole Lime (chopped)
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tablespoon
Red Chillies - 15
Mustard seeds - 2 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Asfoetida powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1-2 tablespoon
Water - For pickle liquor

Chop the Starfruit into pieces, de-seed them to ensure seed free pickle. Chop Lime rind into small pieces. I added them because I had them handy. Take your pick accoridngly. Roast on low flame with (1 teaspoon oil) or without oil. This ensures there is no moisture and also improves the absorption capacity of the pieces. Take the fruits off the stove, cut them into quarters and add salt. Give a good stir and keep aside in a mixing bowl covered for 1-4 hours. Give a gentle stir to allow the juices to seep in the fruit.

Get the masalas ready. Dry roast each of the items - Red Chillies, Mustard, Fenugreek seeds. Be careful not to over roast them as this would render a bitter taste and ruin the taste of the pickle. Mix the powder with fruits and stir well. Add enough water to get a good consistency for the pickle. The oil used for frying the spices can be poured on top of the pickle jar once stuffed completely with pickle. This prevents the pickle from any potential bacterial hazards and spoliage.

Store pickle in a moisture free jar and preferably store in a refrigerator. Owing to water which serves as liquor for the pickle, there are chances that it could get spoilt or the fruits/vegetables spoil at room temperature.

Suggestion: 1. Star Fruit has a tendency to ripen and yellow faster than other fruits. The unripe ones are green. Those are ideal for pickling. The yellow ones are ripe and could turn soggy easily so avoid them for pickle. Based on the temperature around, salt the fruit pieces and keep them aside. If its a cold day, maximum keep them salted for 4 hours and add spice powder and refrigerate. Else, if its a hot day wherein the fruits can easily spoil at room temperatue, its best to salt them for 1-2 hours, add spice powder and refrigerate immediately. 2. De-seeding the fruit is required else your pickle will be full of fruits with seeds. 3. I noticed the South American Fruits lack the tang unlike Indian ones which are tangy. So if you are pickling it ourely for tangy-ness in pickle, it will not serve the purpose.


  1. I can just smell your grandmother's kitchen through that photograph ... not to forget that my mouth is totally full of saliva, the kind you get right before tasting something sour and delicious!! I have a question ... after salting the star fruit, do I need to keep it in the fridge? Or will it stay just fine outside for a week?

  2. Sheetal - Thanks for your comment. The pickle turned pretty well and is adorning a quite corner of my fridge shelf. I can very well get then tangy flavours you are talking about.

    Thanks for bringing up your question, I have modified the original recipe given by Mom. I had salted the fruits, kept them for 2 hours and added the spice powder immdtly. Star Fruits ripen faster at room temperature, so best is to add salt, wait for couple of hours and add spice powder and store in fridge.

  3. U kno my mouth is literally watering..... I love sour pickles like ambuli nonche, limbiya ninche n all..... Loved it nd i neva get star fruit here :(

  4. looooooooooooooks tooooooooooo tempting. star fruit perfect for pickle.

  5. @ Aps - I love pickles,the more salty and spicy the better. Surprisingly the star fruit I got here are not tangy at all.:(

    @ Pavithra - Thanks. They are indeed tempting.

  6. It is called the Irimbipuli/Irumbumpuli in Kerala.. we make a quick pickle in brine with this fruit. Ferments quickly! Good recipe!

  7. @ (?)

    Thanks. Yeah guess thats the beauty of Star Fruit. It gels well with the pickle broth.

  8. do u get Star Fruit in USA? I love Karambala thoro (dry pickle of the star fruit) ...i had it years ago, and i am craving for it everytime i hear Karambal

  9. @ Roopa -
    Yes, we do get Star Fruit in US during winter time. I prefer making a batch of pickle during winter. By summer, the pickle is all ready and done.


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