I grew up eating this kalakkai as my school time snack with salt and red chilli powder. Even now, the thought about itself, salivates me.
It has got a kind of very sour taste which looks green in colour when it is not ripe and reddish black in colour when it is ripe. It can be simply eaten with salt and red chilli or you can make other recipes like pickle, Dal and chutney. It has small seeds in it. The seeds can be removed or we can use it without removing the seeds for preparing this pickle. But for cooking other recipes, the seeds have to be removed. I used it without removing the seeds as it helps to maintain the composure of this fruit. The procedure for making the pickle is same for both the cases.
Generally it is available from August to October every year in Tamil Nadu. In and around the surrounding villages of my native, it is also used as as a guard or fence in the farms to protect other plants, vegetables and crops from cows and goats from being grazed.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time:15 minutes
Makes: 1 cup
Kalakkai / Karonda / Bengal Currant / Christ’s Thorn Fruit – 1 cup
Dry Red chilli – 10 to 15, based on the spice level
Fenugreek – 1/4 tsp
Gingelly Oil – 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tablespoon
Curry leaves – 1 spring
Asafoetida – a big pinch
Salt – to taste
1) Wash the Kalakkai well and remove the stem if any.
2) Wipe it using the kitchen towel.
3) Take a thick bottom kadai and dry roast the fenugreek and dry red chillies one by one. Make sure not to burn any.
4) Cool the roasted ingredients to room temperature and make a fine powder using a dry mixer. Keep it aside.
5) To the same kadai, add gingelly oil. When it is hot and not smoking, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
6) Add curry leaves and let it become crisp.
7) Add the kalakkai to the kadai and mix it well. Let it cook in the medium flame.
8) Once it becomes soft, add the powdered masala, salt and asafoetida. Mix well.
9) In a very low flame, continue mixing the pickle for few minutes and turn off the flame.
10) Cool down to room temperature before storing in air tight container.
1) If you are using it with seed, discard the seeds while eating it.
2) The colour of pickle depends on the dry red chilli you use.
3) Instead of freshly grinding the spices, you can also use ready made red chilli powder and fenugreek seeds powder.