Since I started writing My Jhola in 2008, it went through several avatars, progressing in appearance, content (intent, even) through the years. Early this year, I thought it was time to take the next step and find a place that I can call my own. It was a little like taking the big decision of moving from one house to another—I hated the thought of leaving my comfort zone behind but it seemed like a good decision to move into a bigger space that allowed me to do more.

A special word of thanks to rtCamp and to the team who worked on this project–Nitun, Sneha, and Prasad–I have gnawed at their brains with random technical questions of a very basic nature and yet they have been very accommodating and patient with my lack of technical knowledge and have helped me make my dream into a reality. Thanks, guys–I had entrusted a part of me to you and I must admit, you took excellent care of it. A small thank you is on its way to you!

There’s some new stuff around here—feel free to browse around and discover it! I hope you like the new avatar of My Jhola, and I hope you’ll continue to drop by and spread the word. I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions on improving the experience—I am still learning and could do with all the help I can get. If you find some technical issues or something that you don’t quite like, please report it to me and I will make sure it’s taken care of.  And keep coming back—I’m going to be adding more fun stuff in the coming weeks!

Methamba—the lowliest of pickles

Until then, here’s one of my favorite summer recipes—Methamba. It’s something between a chutney and relish, and literally translated, means “Fenugreek mango” (methi is fenugreek; aamba is mango) But don’t get put off by the fenugreek—we’re using the seeds in this, not the leaves; and it is the seeds that give the Methamba its characteristic earthy (as opposed to bitter) punctuation.  Methamba is sweet, sour and hot at the same time and it goes very well with traditional Indian breads such as chapatis and with hot, soft cooked rice and ghee (slurp) but I have also used it with crackers or as a side with roast chicken and it has worked fabulously.

Traditionally, Methamba is made from the trimmings of raw mango leftover from making pickles and preserves for the year—huge chunks for the fiery red chili and mustard pickle, small cubes for  a jam, grated mango for another kind of relish—once all the mango is cut up, there’s still some precious raw mango flesh stuck to the stone. This is then scraped off the stone to make the Methamba—the lowliest of the pickles. I, however, give it much respect by buying kairis (raw mangoes) just for this. If you like a good mango relish or chutney, I know you will, too. Especially because it gets made in a such a jiffy, it is the ideal option for people (like me) who can’t wait for the season’s pickles to get ready!

Methaamba—A Maharashtrian-style Mango Relish/Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1 raw mango
  • 3-4 dried red chilies, torn
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • ½ tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp. fenugreek seeds
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • ½ cup jaggery or brown sugar (more or less, depending on the sourness of the mango and how sweet/sour you like the relish)
  • ½ tsp. red chili powder
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, dried red chilies, asafetida and turmeric powder in quick succession and sauté briefly until fragrant.
  3. Tip in the chopped mango and salt. Stir until combined. Cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until soft.
  4. When tender and yielding, add the jaggery/brown sugar and the chili powder.
  5. Stir to combine and allow to reduce. In about 5-8 minutes, the sugars will have caramelized and the relish will have come together.
  6. Cool completely and transfer to bowls or jars.
  7. Keeps well for 4-5 weeks (seldom lasts that long), refrigerated.