Blueberries

Yesterday, we all went blueberry picking. Wonderful, blue-purple, ripe fresh berries that taste superb just warm off the bush. We ended up with 2 gallons of berries. So, of course, once we got back home, I had about 40 minutes of work to rinse, pick out leaves and stems and sort out the unripe ones. I ended up with a cupful of unripe ones (I am sure there were more, but I decided to let them stay with the sweet ones). The question was, what was to be done with these reddish, whitish berries that are too tart to pop into your mouth? I decided to Indianize them and made blueberry pickle (the first time I have ever tried to make this!).

Here’s how I made it.

Indian pickle from blueberries

Indian pickle from blueberries

I heated about 30 mls of cooking oil in an iron wok, popped a 1/4 tsp of black mustard seeds, added the scant cup of berries with a pinch of turmeric and 1 tsp of sea salt. Stirred them on medium-low for about 9-10 minutes and once they started to stick to the bottom of the wok, I added a teaspoonful of red chilli powder (the super hot variety from the Indian grocers). Voila!

Notes: Tastes quite nice though you can’t really tell it what the fruit is (that’s what comes of spicing them up!). Great for a sandwich. And, yes, there was too much oil, so the next time I will try it with 20 mls.

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Mixed Veg Pickle

Had some at a party earlier this month and wanted to recreate it. Wasn’t quite the same to look at nor did it taste the same. Still needs to be tweaked some, but here is the recipe:

  • Peel and cut into 2″ lengths and about as thin as a pencil or so, one or more of carrots, radish, turnip and cauliflower to total 500 gms. Keep cauliflower separate from other vegs.
  • Toss in upto 50 gms of green chillies, a few cloves of garlic (cut if too large), lotus root etc.or leave this section of ingredients out if you don’t want them
  • 25 gms jaggery chopped fine
  • 50 gms coarsely ground mustard seed (brown is better than black, but either is fine)
  • 10-15 gms red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste (about 4 heaping teaspoons)
  • 30 mls oil (I used canola, but you can use mustard as well)
  • a dash each of asafoetida and fenugreek powders
  • about 30-40 mls of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar

Bring to boil about 500 mls of water with a tsp of turmeric and 2 tsps of salt.

Add the sticks of carrot, turnip and/or radish. Cook on a simmer for 2 minutes. Drain the vegs and lay on towels (or in the sun) to dry while getting the rest ready. They need to be crisp but tender.

Put cauliflower, chillies, garlic and lotus stem (whichever of these you use) into the same boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and lay out to dry.

Heat oil, adding more if you prefer. Add the coarsely ground mustard when hot, stir to mix and toss in all the vegetables. Cook a minute or so while stirring often. Add the jaggery, salt, chilli powder, asafoetida and fenugreek. Stir for a few minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Let cool in the cooking utensil. Pour into clean jars, let cool completely, and refrigerate.

I assume it will last for 2-4 weeks. If it doesn’t, then next time, I will double the oil and add a bit more salt to it.

Somehow, the one purchased from the restaurant was red in gravy. Mine has more of a brownish tint to it, which makes me wonder if they add anything to enhance the color!

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