Monday, November 7, 2011

Indian Ber & Lemon Pickle (Tarne Bor Limbe Nonche)

The combination of Ber and Lemon is unorthodox but I combined both to mesh the textures of two different kind of fruits which hold well for any kind of pickling process. Ber (tender) has a Granny Smith Apple texture minus the sweetness and Lemon has a citrus aroma with a crunch hard to miss. The Lemon peel pickled well in the liquor. I used a process called Maceration where the fruit is soaked in liquor of choice for few days before finishing the dish. The tissue of the fruit gets broken down by the acidic agent and hence well absorbs the flavour. The flavour was similar to my Ma's Bilimbi Pickle.

Ber enabled me to reminisce childhood memories once again. My high school was perched at the foot of a tall, steep hill which had Hanuman temple atop. The school compound stretch was dotted with Ber (Bor) trees which were laden with beautiful round leaves and tons of thorns. During the season, which began during winter, the ripe fruits would ooze sweet scent and all kids would throng to pluck those within reach. We also had fruit vendors who would sell Ber in a paper cone. They were marble ball sized, juicy to the core, sweet and tangy. Ma often dissuaded us from eating the Ber that grew in our school campus and began buying them from local market since we liked it lot. The ripe ones need close examination as they are often infested with worms. I once encountered one with worms and that was the end of my Ber eating saga. As I grew up, I spotted larger version of Ber which were from hybrid versions but not as tasty as the ones I had when I was a kid.

The shelf like of this pickle is 2 weeks maximum, so making a small batch seems best.

~ Ber Lemon Pickle ~
Preparation time: 5 days (including the maceration time)

Processing time: 20 minutes

Indian Ber [tender] (chopped into tiny cubes) - 5
Lemon Peel (chopped into tiny cubes) - 2

For Maceration -
Lemon juice - juice of 2 Lemon's
Red Chilli powder (hot variety) - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - Just a pinch

For Seasoning -
Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp approx.
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp

Wash and air dry the vegetables to dry off any moisture. Extract the juice of Lemon's and chop the peel and Ber into tiny cubes discarding the core (seed). Macerate with lime juice, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Store in a cool dry place and stir once every day for a week. End of the week, heat oil in a deep frying pan and once the oil is hot enough, season with mustard seeds. Once the seeds begin to pop, turn off the flame and allow to cool completely. Pour the seasoning on the macerated fruits and mix well.

Note - Do not pour the seasoning immediately on the macerated fruits as they could begin cooking owing to the heat of the oil. Store in refrigerator if dwelling in hot terrains.

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