Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gobi Shalgam Gajar Achaar and School Days

I remember my school days with a lot of fondness. I am sure it is exactly like that for most if you out there. The fun times, the innocence, the principals office. Everyone has their most favourite memory of school. The times you got into trouble. The times when you were commended. Appreciated for work well done or punished for a lack of application. And the friends. Chatting away during class times. We always had something to chat about. Always. The assembly. The excitement of getting to read the news or thought for the day. Even writing something on the notice board was something we looked forward to. Hating the times when teachers punished us by making us sit with the boys. 
I studied in a small town so there was not much life beyond school. All friends outside of school hours were only school friends. Everyone knew everyone else. We were neighbours, friends and schoolmates. 

But I think there was a very close bond we girls from the same class shared. Much closer than with the others in the school. And I think this has continued over the years. I find that we can pick up exactly where we left off even though there may have been thirty years in between.

But one of my most favourite memories of school days was sharing of food. different tastes from different homes all brought and shared during the lunch hour. We were exposed to many foods from all parts of the country. But of all those memories the one that stands out is the packing of a little pickle in a piece of torn out notebook sheet. Furtively opening it in class and each one putting their finger in to get a taste. It used to be so exciting. Someone would bring a Punjabi mango pickle, while someone else would bring a sweet pickle. Gleefully tasting each one. I really don't know what draws girls to pickle but at least in our school it was something we all looked forward to.

Anyway to come to the recipe of gobi shalgam achar, it is from the north of India. It is essentially a winter pickle and has very lovely sweet, tangy spicy taste. Goes very well with rotis and parathas but tastes simply wonderful all on its own too. I got this recipe from here. And I am reproducing it exactly like in her blog.


1 kg each of Turnips, Carrots, and Cauliflower
400 ml White Vinegar
1 kg Jaggery
200 grams Garlic
200 grams Ginger
500 ml Mustard Oil
200 grams Salt
50 grams Red Chilli Powder
10 grams Cardamom
5 grams Cinnamon
5  grams Cloves

Trim cauliflower into florets. 
Cut carrots into thick 2″ long batons. 
Trim and slice turnips into thick quarters. 
Bring 3 litres of water to boil. Blanch the prepared vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes. 
Drain, spread on absorbent cloth and dry in shade for a day.
Boil vinegar and jaggery together into a syrup.  
Pound ginger and garlic coarsely and fry in oil over medium heat. Take off heat. 
Pound the whole spices coarsely. 
Into the oil mix in all the spices and the vinegar syrup. 
Add salt and the prepared vegetables. 
Mix well and transfer to clean dry stoneware or glass jars.
Leave in the sun for a couple of days for all the flavours to get absorbed.

The vegetables cut and drying:

The vinegar and jaggery boiling:

Adding in the vegetables: