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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Topa Kuler Tak-Mishti Achar( Sweet n Sour Sour Berry Pickle)

    Topa Kul or Sour berry is a fruit available around January till March in India. It's sour in taste and round in shape, it's quite soft in texture. In Bengal, we make a sweet n sour pickle with this fruit. It is usually consumed as a side with main dishes in lunch or dinner. It refreshes your tastebud and gives your mouth a fresh feeling. It's a tradition in Bengal that we only eat Kul or Ber(in hindi) or Sour berry only after Saraswati Puja. As a kid, even today I just look forward to this puja just to have this berry. People also consume it just raw with little salt and red chilli powder added.

    Every year, my mother makes a huge batch of this pickle for her, for me and for other relatives. This year, I thought to give it a try to make for myself and my mom. And it was a huge success. I'm little late for posting this recipe but if you can get hold of this berry in the market, grab a kilo of it and make it at home.

You Need :
Topa Kul/ber/sour berry : 1 kg.
Akher Gur/Suagr cane jaggery : approx. 400 gms.
**Panch Phoron : 1 tsp.(to temper) + 1 tsp.( to roast and grind into powder)
Oil (mustard oil preferably or white oil) : 1 tblsp.
Salt : a pinch
Turmeric Powder : a pinch

** Panch Phoron : Mix mustard seed, cumin seed, black cumin seed/kalonji, fenugreek seed and fennel seed - in equal quantity and use.

 How To :
  • Clean these berries thoroughly under running tap, then spread them on a paper towel or on a Newspaper or on a flat round plate. To increase its shelf life, we need to keep them under proper sunlight for at least 3 days as long as you can. As a result, its skin can crinkle a little, but that doesn't matter. 
  • After sun-drying, wash them again thoroughly, check for the good ones and discard the rotten ones from the lot. 
  • Now to make the pickle, heat oil on a big wide wok, temper with panch phoron. When seeds turn slightly brown and start to crackle, add the berries. Add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder. Saute for a minute or two. 
  • Grate the jaggery and add little by little in the pan. Cover the pan and let it cook in medium flame. Berries will leave some water. If needed, add 1/2 cup of water, just to cook the berries. Cook for at least 8-10 minutes or till berries are soft. With the back of the ladle, break some of the berries.  
  • Taste and check the sweet and sourness according to your taste. Adjust by adding jaggery if needed. When berries are cooked and a little gravy is coated the berries, remove from heat. lastly add the grounded Panch Phoron powder in the pickle and sweet n Sour Berry pickle is ready to consume.
  • When cooled, keep in air-tight glass jars only to keep it fresh for longer time. And don't forget to put the pickle jars under bright sun everyday. If you put the jar everyday under Sun, then the pickle will stay fresh for at least a month or more.

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