The Chalta came to my house as a gift from a friend. Chalta is not commonly found and is rare. I had seen a Chalta tree in one of my Uncle’s house. That was the first and last I have seen a Chalta tree. The tree bears lots of fruit at one time and this is seasonal sour fruit cooked to make tak/anbol/chutney.
Chalta is known as Elephant Apple in English.
When I got the Chalta/Elephant Apple, I was very happy as I was thinking about it few days back. I knew I had to spend some time dressing the Chalta before cooking it.
The Chalta has many layers of flesh and it is hard on the outside. First cut this fruit into half. Then remove the inner portion. Separate the layers and cut then into thin long pieces. Always better to remove the skin of the outer layer. The inner portions are slimy, carefully cut it.
|Bonthi/Traditional Indian vegetable cutting knife|
I have used my Bonthi to cut this as the knife was not easy to handle for me. Chalta/Elephant Apple cooks and tastes best when it is not ripe or not too young. Never seen Chalta ripen and come to the market to be sold. But you should have the eye to select the Chalta that has matured and not the young ones for they will taste bitter.
Having gone through the process of cleaning and cutting, time to keep the ingredients close at hand before cooking.
Chalta/Elephant apple: 1 cut into longish strips. Wash and keep it aside.
Gur/Jaggery: about 150 gms (also depends on the sweet & sour taste you want)
Dry Red chilli: 2
Cooking oil: 1 tsp.
Haldi powder: ½ tsp.
Red chilli powder: ½ tsp.
Salt to taste
Put the Chalta/Elephant Apple pieces in the pressure cooker and add some water. Cook for 2 whistles. Cool, open the cooker and drain the water. Keep the pieces aside in a bowl and also mash them a little.
Place the kadhai/wok on the gas stove.
Add the oil.
Break the whole dry red chillies into half and throw them into the hot oil.
Now add the boiled and partly mashed Chalta/Elephant Apple into the kadhai.
Stir for a couple of minutes.
To this add the haldi powder and salt and stir for another couple of minutes.
Now add some water and let it come to a boil.
Time to add the gur/jaggery.
Let it cook for some time and watch out for the consistency of the gravy you want.
Now add the red chilli powder, more for colour but also adds a special taste to the tang.
Chaltar tak/ambol is ready.
Relish with bhat, dal, and bhaja during lunch.
Keep the rest of it in the fridge for the next day as this chutney will taste better after having sat for a long time with all the juices coming together.
© gouri guha 2013