Marmalade

by Shivani Khanna

Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water. It can be produced from kumquats, lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins, sweet oranges, bergamots and other citrus fruits, or any combination thereof. Marmalade is generally distinguished from jam by its fruit peel. ~ Wikipedia

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The benchmark citrus fruit for marmalade production in Britain is the Spanish Seville orange, prized for its high pectin content, which gives a good set. The peel has a distinctive bitter taste which it imparts to the marmalade.

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The Narangi or the Round Kumquat closely resembles the orange but is much smaller in size.  The peel of the Indian Narangi is bitter in flavour and the fruit has a sour taste. The fruit is too sour to eat raw and is mainly used to make marmalades, jellies and pickles. The bitterness of the peel, makes the marmalade made from Narangi taste similar to marmalade made from Seville oranges. The fruits of the Narangi tree ripen in the month of February and March in North India.

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At once bitter, sweet, chunky-textured and semi-liquid, orange marmalade is more than a breakfast spread. It embodies a tradition that has lasted some 250 years and which extends to nearly every nation that was colonized by the English. A necessity, an identifier and a constant reminder of home, marmalade is part of the British psyche. ~ Elizabeth Field

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Ripe, juicy, orange narangis are best for making marmalade. The seeds contain pectin and help in setting the marmalade, so are used in the first boil. The water helps to melt the sugar. Removing of the scum is necessary. If not removed it crystallizes the jam when the marmalade is kept in the refrigerator. It is also important to cook it on a rolling boil or the peel will over cook. The marmalade thickens on cooling.

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Marmalade

Ingredients ~

1/2 kg ripe narangi/round kumquat
1 kg sugar
1 cup water

Method ~

1. Cut the narangis into halves around the centre.
2. Remove the seeds and tie them in a muslin cloth to form a small muslin bag of seeds.
3. Further cut the narangi halves into thin strips, including the skin and the flesh.
4. In a pressure cooker add the narangi bits, 1 cup water, the muslin bag of seeds and 1/2 kg of sugar.
5. Bring the pressure cooker to one whistle and switch off the heat.
6. Once the steam has settled, open the pressure cooker and remove the muslin bag of seeds.
7. Add the remaining 1/2 kg of sugar and cook the mixture on high flame.
8. With a wide spoon, remove the scum that boils up to the surface.
9. Place a small plate in the freezer.
10. When the marmalade starts coating the spoon, drop a spoonful on the cold plate and if it does not flow, its ready. It will thicken on cooling.
11. Take off the heat and let it cool uncovered.
12. Once cool, fill in clean bottles and keep in the fridge.

 

Meetha Narangi ka Achar

by Nirupama Khunnah

The Narangi or the Round Kumquat is an evergreen tree, producing edible golden-yellow fruit. The edible fruit closely resembles the orange but  is much smaller, being approximately the size and shape of a large olive. The fruit is small and usually round but can be oval shaped. The peel has a sweet flavour but the fruit has a sour centre. The fruit can be eaten cooked but is mainly used to make marmalades and jellies.

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The plant is native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. The earliest historical reference to kumquats appears in literature of China in the 12th century. They have long been cultivated in India, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia. It is grown as an ornamental plant and can be used in bonsai. The plant symbolizes good luck in China and other Asian countries, where it is kept as a houseplant and given as a gift during the Lunar New Year. Round kumquats are more commonly cultivated than other species due to their cold tolerance. ~ Wikipedia

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‘Narangi’ refers to the colour orange in the Hindi language. The round kumquat is called ‘Narangi’ in India because of its orange colour peel and its close resemblance to an orange.

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Nirupama Khunnah is proud of her skill in making pickles. For her, pickle making is a round the year activity. In India we have a large number of seasonal fruits and vegetables which every household converts into pickles to spice up  meals and snacks. She is passionate about the pickle recipes she has inherited from her mother and aunts. Her pickle recipe book is a treasured item, which she will bequeath to the person she thinks worthy of it.

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Here she shares with us a recipe for a Meetha Narangi ka Achar, which she spices with chilli powder. This is an original recipe her aunt shared with her. For convenience sake and due to bad weather in the winter months in recent times, she warms the pickle on the stove every morning to hasten the cooking process. She says that while making her morning tea, she warms the pickle to body temperature and gives it a good stir. She then tries to keep it in a well-lit or sunny area for the rest of the day.

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Meetha Narangi ka Achar

Ingredients ~

½ kg narangi/round kumquat
½ kg sugar
65 gms salt
1/4  tsp hing/ asafoetida
1 tbsp red chilli powder

Method ~

1. Cut the narangi into halves around the centre and take out the seeds.
2. In a steel vessel, add the sugar, salt and hing to the cut narangi pieces.
3. Cover the vessel with muslin cloth and place in a sunny corner. Take care that it is in a covered area so that no frost can fall through the cloth.
4. When the juice turns syrupy and thick, add the chilli powder. This will take about 1 ½ -2 weeks.
5. Place in a glass bottle and keep in a dark place.

Punjabi Cauliflower, Carrot & Turnip Pickle

by Sharda Kapur

Winters in North India see the abundance of seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, red carrots and turnips. This abundance has encouraged people to make use of these vegetables in a variety of dishes whether sweet or savory. They are cooked on their own in a number of ways, added on to meat dishes, used raw in salads, stuffed into rotis and converted into a number of pullaos. The Punjabis use these vegetables to make delicious pickles, some sweet, some sweet and sour, some with just a hint of spice. Each household has its own special recipe.

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Sharda Kapur shares with us her recipe of a Punjabi Cauliflower, Carrot & Turnip Pickle or as it’s popularly called ‘Gajjar, gobi, shalgam ka aachaar‘. She uses onions, garlic, ginger, jaggery and vinegar in the right balance to impart a sweet and sour flavour to the pickle. While the vegetables are in season do try this recipe and enjoy the pickle with family and friends.

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Born in Amritsar, Sharda Kapur, was a sportsperson throughout her growing years. In college she represented Punjab University in Badminton and was a State level Table Tennis player. Her interest in food started only after her marriage into a large family in Mumbai. On her insistence that her mother make her pickles, she was told to learn to make them herself. She started collecting recipes and trying her hand in making seasonal pickles. The recipe for the Punjabi Cauliflower, Carrot & Turnip Pickle has been shared with her by her sister-in-law Promilla Khanna, renowned for her culinary skills, with many Cook books to her name.

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Though the procedure of the pickle seems a little daunting, it is easier to follow the recipe step by step and once you’ve got that in place, all the ingredients simply need to be mixed together.

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An important tip is to coarsely grate the onion, garlic and ginger. This way they add bulk to the masalas, yet don’t over power the main vegetables. As Sharda does not get too much sun in her apartment in Mumbai, after the boiling the vegetables, she places them under a fan to speed up the process of drying.

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Punjabi Cauliflower, Carrot & Turnip Pickle

Ingredients ~

1kg combined cauliflower florets, carrot batons, turnip slices
60 gms red onions, coarsely grated
30 gms ginger, coarsely grated
30 gms garlic, coarsely grated
60 gms red mustard/rai, ground
60 gms salt
60 gms Kashmiri red chilies, ground
1 tbsp garam masala, ground
150 gms jaggery
100 ml malt vinegar
250 ml mustard oil

Method ~

1. Cut the cauliflower into medium size florets, peel the carrots and cut into 11/2 inch long batons, peel the turnips and cut into half moon slices.
2. Boil water and add the vegetables. Take off the fire and leave for 5 minutes. Strain and discard the water.
3. Spread the vegetables on a clean kitchen towel and leave to dry on the kitchen counter over night.
4. Combine the jaggery and the malt vinegar in a pan and heat to mix. Leave to cool.
5. Heat the mustard oil to smoking point. Take off the stove and leave to cool.
6. Grate the onion, ginger and the garlic coarsely. Keep them separate.
7. Fry the onion in the mustard oil till golden, remove with a slotted spoon.
8. Similarly fry the garlic and the ginger.
9. Combine all the ingredients in a steel vessel. The blanched vegetables, the spices, the sautéed onion, garlic and ginger, the malt vinegar and jaggery mixture and the remaining oil.
10. Transfer to a glass bottle, shut tightly and place in the sun.
11. The pickle should be ready in about 5 days.
12. Serve with rotis and pullaos.

 

Sweet & Sour Chili Pickle

by Urmila Kapoor

The chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum. In Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and other Asian countries, the word “pepper” is usually omitted.

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The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids.

Chili peppers originated in the Americas and were introduced to Europe by Christofer Columbus. Cultivation of chili pepper spread across the world and was used in both food and medicine. Chilies were brought to Asia by Portuguese navigators during the 16th century. ~ Wikipedia

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South Asian pickles or Indian subcontinent pickles are made from certain varieties of vegetables and fruits that are finely chopped and marinated in brine or edible oils along with various Indian spices. Some varieties of fruits and vegetables are small enough to be used whole. Some regions also specialize in pickling meats and fish.

The most common South Asian-style pickles are made from mango and lime. Others include cauliflower, carrot, radish, tomato, onion, pumpkin, palm heart, lotus stem, rose petals, ginger, Amla, garlic, green or red chili peppers, kohlrabi, cordia, kerda, purple yam, karonda, bitter gourd, jackfruit, mushroom, eggplant, cucumber, turnip and lapsi.

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A wide variety of spices may be used during the pickling process such as asafoetida, red chili powder, turmeric, fenugreek. Salt is generally used both for taste and for its preservative properties.

Homemade pickles are prepared through the year and kept in the sun while stored in porcelain or glass jars with airtight lids. The high concentrations of salt, oil, and spices act as preservatives. Many commercially produced pickles use preservatives like citric acid and sodium benzoate. ~Wikipedia

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Urmila Kapoor or Ammi as she is fondly called by all who know her is an expert cook. Her innate sense of taste has made her cooking legendary among family and friends. Her recipes are much sought after. Seasonal pickles are a gift much looked forward to by her appreciative family. She makes two kinds of Chili Pickle, a Stuffed Red Chili Pickle and the Sweet and Sour Chili Pickle whose recipe she is sharing here.

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As Ammi says, since I was 11-12 years old, I started having a sore throat. So, I was not allowed to have anything sour much to my dismay, as I loved the pickles made by my mother. My mother would prepare mango pickles at home but I was not allowed to have any. Time went by and I got married. My mother-in-law used to prepare home made pickles for the family and friends but when she was no more with us, I thought that I should learn the art of making tasty traditional food including pickles that the elderly women of our times were good at.

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The recipe I am presenting here has been taken from an old lady who was very good at preparing different kinds of foods and pickles. I have made a small change to her original recipe. Her recipe originally used Green chillies for the pickle, but when I saw beautiful red chillies in the market I preferred them to the green ones. I felt they gave the pickle a beautiful colour and made the pickle more appealing. The family and visiting guests love this pickle with savory matthis.

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Sweet & Sour Chili Pickle

Ingredients ~

1 1/2 kg  Red chilies cut in rounds
125 gms Salt
400 gms Tamarind
160 gms Ginger, grated
125 gms Garlic, grated
40 gms Jeera/Cumin, coarsely ground
130 gms Rai/Red Mustard Seeds, coarsely ground
300gms sugar
500 ml vinegar
400 ml mustard oil

 

Method ~

1. Wash, dry and cut the red chilies.
2. Weigh them when cleaned to get 1 ½ kg.
3. Soak tamarind in vinegar for two hours, mash the pulp and strain it.
4. Heat the oil to smoking point. Remove from fire. When it cools down, fry the grated garlic and ginger till golden brown.
5. Add tamarind pulp, salt, jeera/cumin and sugar. Cook for about a minute.
6. Add red chilies and rai/red mustard seeds. Fry for about 10-15 minutes or till the gravy becomes a little thick. Then cool and place in a jar.
7. Put it in the sun for 2-3 days.
8. Serve with savory mattis, hot parathas.