November 10, 2006
WHB-Karakka Achaar/ Carrot-Date Pickle
Before I started accepting dates as a fruit, I used to eat it with gusto in pickle form. My mom always kept a bottle of home made dates (Karakka) pickle. Karakka achaar is a staple in the Malabar households. No Biryani or Neichoru is complete without it. Either they make it at home or get it from the Bombay Hotel near the beach in Calicut. The Bombay hotel sells their delicious pickle which is more sweet than spicy which goes so well with their awesome Biryani. Now I am homesick!
The other pickle I was very fond of was made by my friend Ki while we were at college. A simple carrot pickle with garlic and green chilies and ginger all cut up into slivers. I wonder if that would count as our vegetable intake while surviving on the hostel food (cafeteria). She made it and got it after every trip back from home and it used to last for a week with all of us preying on it. Unlike all our mom based food memories while at college, this was my Ki-based memory. At that time, I was amazed that she could make a pickle while I didn't even know how to make a tea.
I tried a lot of times to recreate it but it didn’t have the same zing. And over time, my taste for the date pickle and carrot pickle got muddled up. So now when I got the recipe from her, it was amusing to see that she has also started adding dates also to it. Yippee! Thanks Ki! So here is her recipe for the carrot pickle to which I have added dates. You could make with the dates or without. If making without the dates, add one more carrot to offset the spice powders.
You will need:
Whole Carrots -2 or 3
Ginger -1" piece
Garlic - 6 or 7
Green chilies- 5 or6
Fresh Dates- about 7-10 (increase or decrease as per sweetness)
Red Chili Powder- 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder- 1tsp
Salt- 2 tbsp (Add after tasting)
Vinegar- 1 cup
Peel the skin from the carrot .Cut the carrots and ginger into even thin (about 1” long) pieces. Add some salt and turmeric to it and keep aside for 1/2 hour or so. Then gently squeeze out the excess moisture from the carrots by hand. Alternately, dry the cut vegetables in the sun for a couple of hours. This will get rid of the excess moisture which makes the pickle spoil fast.
Wash all the ingredients and dry very well. Remove the seeds from the dates and cut each date into 6-8 pieces lengthwise .Slice garlic and chilies also into thin long slivers. Mix them in a non reactive glass bowl and add vinegar and red chili powder. Add the carrots and check seasoning. Add more salt if needed. Keep refrigerated. The pickle is edible after 3-4 days but the dates start breaking down and sweetening it only after a week or so. The pickle gets better with age. You could add dried cranberries or raisins to it also.
This is a good spicy sweet relish to be enjoyed with any rice main course, naans and maybe even in other combinations. So I am sending some of this to my friend Meeta Of What's For Lunch,Honey? who is guest hosting this week's Weekend Herb Blogging. Weekend Herb Blogging was started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen to showcase recipes involving fruits or vegetables or herbs from different regions and now is hosted by enterprising bloggers each week.
Date Pickle,Carrot Pickle, Malabar Recipes,Weekend Herb Blogging