May 27, 2008

VCC 384 - Chundo

Here is another traditional recipe kindly contributed by Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal to the group cookbook project 'You Can Cook' for Feed a Hungry Child campaign.

In Rushina's own words, "Chundo is a grated Mango pickle that is sweet and hot. When made right it has the consistency of a marmalade but with lots of grated slivers of mango in it. It spreads easily onto anything and can be used as a relish. The simple ingredients also make it ideal in the hotter Summer months."

3 Rajapuri mangoes peeled grated and weighed.
Sugar 1.5 times the volume of mango
Salt, a little less than half a cup
Turmeric - 1 tbsp
Cumin seed 1 tbsp ground
Chilli powder 2 tbsp

Method: Peel and grate mangoes, mix with the salt and Turmeric and leave for about half an hour. Now with clean hands take handfuls of the grated mango pulp and squeezing gently put the dried pulp into a clean steel vessel. Add the Sugar to the squeezed mango and mix well. Tie a piece of muslin over the mouth of the vessel and place in the sun. Now, if you want to do it right and have the patience, then my nani leaves her Chunda in the sun for a full 21 days. This means that it goes out every morning (after a stir) and comes in every night. You will know your pickle is done when the sugar has melted to a syrup and reaches a 1.5 - 2 string consistency. (to test, take a smidgen of syrup between your thumb and forefinger. When you pull them apart, they should form 1.5 to 2 threads). When done, add the chilli powder. Crush the Cumin coarsely and add to pickle. Be careful not to touch a wet spoon to the pickle.

For those of you not wanting to wait for the pickle to cook in the sun there is an easier option, but be warned it will not taste the same. (It is almost like the flavour of sunlight is captured in this pickle!) Place a heavy bottomed pan on the fire and put mango-sugar mixture in it. Cook till all the water has evaporated, stirring to avoid sticking until it reaches 1.5 to 2 thread consistency. Add chilli powder while still hot.

Optional - this is something I like to do - up the chilli quotient and add raisins.

There are a couple of variables you need to watch out for,

1. MANGOES - Rajapuri mangoes is what the recipe calls for, these are large mangoes and are used raw and firm. The idea being that the pickle on being done should hold the form of the slivers it has been grated into. I do not know what mangoes you have available but between us Nani and I have come up with a volume based recipe to help you start with smaller quantities the first time.

Over ripe mangoes if your mangoes are not firm i.e. have begun to ripen, they would not do for Chunda according to Nani, however I think you should give it a shot. At most you will end up with a Chutney that will need to be consumed quickly! A couple of things you can try are. Otherwise opt for a "Katki Kairi Pickle" (a variation of the Chunda) Chop the mangoes into tiny dice, instead of grating them and then cook them on the gas like the gas cooked chunda. If you still want to go the grated way maybe you can cut back the sugar to equal volume instead of 1.5 since if your mangoes are ripening they will be getting a little sweeter as well.

2 THE SUN - The Sun is the other variable Remember the sun is very hot in India averaging 38-40 degree Celsius so vary the amount of days accordingly, if its really hot where you are then 3-4 days will suffice, but if the intensity is lower then the number of days will vary between 4-8 days.

3. Crytalisation - If you notice that there is crystalisation happening, then the sugar ratio is too high, you need to grate and salt some more mango and add it in so keeping one mango spare might be a good idea for the duration, (if you dont use it in the chutney then refer to the bottom of the post for another recipe you can use) it up in!

4. Ants – Chunda is an Ant Magnet! The muslin cloth is to keep them and other stuff that might get in out, so if ants are a problem where you live take the extra precaution of placing in a bath of water. (Don't let water get into the pickle however).

VCC: VCC Q4-2006: FAHC: FAHC-campaign

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