This year just after Saraswati Pujo I got the kul/berries that I was looking for. It is taken for granted…should I say we were told as children by elders…”Soroswoti Pujor aage kul khabe na, Ma Soroswoti raak korbe (don’t eat berries before Saraswati Puja for God will be annoyed)”. We always stuck to it and felt guilty even by chance we got a bite of it before the puja day.
Childhood memories linger in the mind, come back to bring a smile and bring back days which we cannot return to.
Having got the kul/ber/berries, first was to wash them. Then spread them out on a flat vessel to dry in the sun.
Dry them out is the sun in the morning and get them indoors before sunset. O God! I continued with this effort for 5 long days. And indoors at night there was the spread of the smell of these berries…creating a crave to taste one or two. But children pick up some and eat with enthusiasm…Enthusiasm? Am I wrong in the use of the word? Actually the Kul-fervour had caught them.
Kul-fervour, new word added and also new to me too! That’s the fun of writing on your own and not infringing others Intellectual Property (IP). I’m writing about IP because I have been a victim…no no, I’m not the stealer, but some other person has been doing this act. Yes I have so much to write on IP, not now, sometime later.
Once the Kul is dry and the skin starts shrinking like an Old Haggard with sagging skin, then preparation-time starts the knock-knock on the door.
Now with the help of the tips of the thumb and first finger of both hands, it is necessary to crack the kul/berry, a small crack to look in and find that it is not diseased by insects. Throw away those that have been infected and again start with the drying up in the sun process.
One more day under the sun and it is ready to be pickled.
All that is needed:
Kul/Ber/Berries: 1 Kg
Gur/Jaggery: 750 gms
Bhaja mosla powder/Fried masala powder: Dry roast 2 tsp. each of jeera, methi dana, panmauri/saunf and 2-3 whole dry red chillies. Grind into a rough powder.
Red chilli powder: ½ tsp.
Salt to taste
Making of the Achaar:
Grate the gur/jaggery before putting it into the cooking vessel. That makes it easier for the gur/jiggery to melt quickly.
Add ¼ cup of water and let the gur/jaggery cook over high flame.
Cook till the first thread of the gur/jiggery begins to come.
Now add the dried kul/berries to the cooking vessel and cook for 2-3 minutes on high flame.
In the meantime add the chilli powder, salt (about 1 tsp.) and the bhaja masala and give a stir before switching off the flame.
Ready to be cooled and stored in glass jars.
The work doesn’t stop there. Place the filled jars under the sun for an hour or so for about a week.
Taste and enjoy the achaar which will go on reducing in quantity with every single helping you take from it.
That’s the fun of making something at home where the taste and smell lingers for a long time in the taste buds and also in the home.
© gouri guha 2014