They say that the Bengalis have a chutney for every season. But for the post monsoon season, when the mangoes have faded away, raw papaya shines in the chutney section of the Bengali meal. Crisp raw papaya is cooked till it becomes transparent – and some call it the “Plastic Chutney” for just this reason. We prefer to call it the Pepe Chutney. “Pepe” is Bengali for papaya.
The unpretentious Plastic Chutney was elevated to a royal level when a prominent hospitality chain started serving it in their opulent Indian restaurant. We’ve taken that recipe, added our own saffron-flavored twist to it, and come up with a deliciously luxuriant version that no one will believe is made from the humble papaya.
When Ammiji tasted this chutney (yes, the recipe is not hers but she will vet anything that goes out in her name) she closed her eyes and then opened them hurriedly before we caught her at it. Of course, we didn’t miss the expression of satisfaction on her face but declined to comment on it. “Is it good?” we asked. She pretended to think for a bit. We waited on feigned tenterhooks. “Theek hai,” she finally said, which in her language meant that it was wholeheartedly approved. She kept the jar in her kitchen, pretending that it was an ordinary thing to do. We knew then that what we had in this chutney was pure love.
This sweet chutney is flavored strongly with nigella seeds and saffron, and it has added raisins for texture play. It goes well with all your meals – with paranthas, with dal chawal, even atop crackers with feta cheese! (The aforementioned restaurant served it with rich Awadhi biryanis and curries!)
We bet you – one spoonful of this chutney will definitely not be enough.
Ingredients: Raw Papaya, Raisins, Sugar, Himalayan pink salt, Lemon Juice, Red chilli, Cumin, Nigella seeds, Aniseed, Saffron
Weight: 150 gms
Good for: 3 months when refrigerated
Usage: Store in Refrigerator.
Kashmir – chinar trees, undulating hills and meadows and the fragrance of saunth and hing. Kashmiri cuisine is about delicate flavours and minimal ingredients – and that is what we have tried to capture in this pickle.
The humble but exotic Kohlrabi or Gaanth Gobhi is presented to perfection in Kashmir’s Monji Haaq, and this pickle tries to replicate that. Kohlrabi is high in nutrition and low on calories – it is a powerhouse of antioxidants and Vitamin C and is often referred to as a superfood. It is available only during a short, limited season – so we decided to make the most of it!
This pickle goes especially well with rice and curries.
Ingredients: Kohlrabi, Garlic, Salt, Black Salt, Red Chilli, Ginger Powder, Mustard Seeds, Mustard Oil.
Good for 3 months.
Refrigerate after opening.
Weight: 200 gm
You walk into any village home in Punjab in early December and you’ll see garlands of cauliflower and turnip drying in the sun. Gajar Gobhi Shalgam Achaar is that essential condiment on the Punjabi table at all meals throughout the winter. Aloo paranthas for breakfast – bring on the achaar! Makki ki roti and sarson ka saag for lunch – where’s the achaar? Dal chawal for dinner – mix in some achaar. It’s everywhere – in different versions. Though perhaps this sweet and spicy version made with jaggery is the most popular.
Ammiji, of course, has 3 different recipes for 3 different types of Gajar Gobhi Shalgam pickle. This season, we took our favorite one of the lot and with her guidance, brought it out for your dining pleasure. It’s khatta meetha and pure deliciousness!
This pickle will go well with anything and everything – we like to eat it plain with ajwain paranthas too!
Ammiji’s Gajar Gobhi Shalgam Achaar is no run-of-the-mill vegetable pickle. It’s subtly spiced with premium spices which gives it an unmistakable fragrance and a complex, rich taste.
Ingredients: Cauliflower, Carrot, Turnip, Garlic, Ginger, Salt, Red Chilli, Jaggery, Mustard seeds, Cumin, Cinnamon, Clove, Black Cardamom, Star Anise, Mace, Mustard Oil.
Weight: 300 gm
Best before 6 months.
Refrigerate after opening for longer shelf life.