Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Moar Canerik Oorugai - Canerik Fruit Pickle

By the beginning of this year, Aparna initiated the 52 WEEKS OF FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 2018 group on Facebook to have interactive discussions on food photography. Members of the group post pictures under a given theme every week and share it on their social media networking spaces, blog, Instagram and such. I joined the group sometime later and keep sharing my pictures too for weekly themes. One such theme was SEASONAL FRUIT/VEGETABLE. It was around the beginning of summer season, so we had a variety of spring - summer produce to photograph.
On one of my weekly runs to the supermarket here, I found on their refrigerated vegetable aisle, small boxes of a very green fruit. The label read JANEREK. I did not know what the fruit was and quickly clicked a picture of the fruit and label with the phone to look it up later at home. I found that they were Canerik fruits, particularly short seasonal fruits. There was an informative blog post about the fruit that tempted me to purchase a box from the market.

It was very interesting to know that they were a special kind of plum, green in colour and is a native of Asia Minor region. My friend Niv found that they are also called greengage plums. They had a tart taste and were consumed dipping the erik in salt in Turkey, very similar to the Indian gooseberry. They had a firm texture and a brighter green colour, with a plum like seed within. The taste was so similar to the gooseberry and left a cool after feel when you drank some water soon after eating the fruit.
Having bought the fruit that was so sharp in taste that you felt a shock running along the upper jaw right up to your ears, I was left to look for ways to use them. I was discussing this with my mother and she suggested that I could make canerik rice, just like amla rice or lemon rice. That gave me the idea of  making a pickle with the fruit.
When it comes to pickles, my selection is very limited and one of the pickles I really enjoy is the nellikkai oorugai, the Indian gooseberry pickle. One particular way of pickling is to cook the gooseberry to just about soft and add it to curds with other condiments. This way the pickle needs just a day or two for curing. It does not have a long shelf life and has to be finished quickly. So it is always made in small batches unlike the whole amla in brine and the thokku.
I made the rice as suggested by my mother and made this pickle too. I went back to purchase another lot just to make yet another batch soon after I had finished, lest the fruit goes off season.

Moar Canerik Oorugai - you will wonder if it is thayir nellikkai oorugai :)

(Makes a small batch about 150 grams pickle)
15 Canerik fruits
1/2 cup curd whisked well
3 green chillis
2 tablespoons gingelly oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Salt to taste (I use coarse Himalayan pink salt)

Wash the canerik fruits well and pat them dry. Let them dry on a spread cloth for a few minutes.
Chop each fruit roughly, leaving the seeds attached to some of the pieces.
Wash, dry and chop the green chillis.
Whisk the curd well and smooth. Keep aside.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the green chillis and saute them for a while.
Add the salt and the cut fruit pieces. Cook until the fruit is just about soft. When you try to press hard between your fingers, you should feel some resistance before the fruit breaks. Do not cook it to a mush.
Allow this to cool well.
Add the whisked curds to the cooled fruit and chilli mixture and mix well.
Transfer to a clean glass or ceramic bowl or bottle.
Allow a day for the flavours to blend and the pickle is ready.

This pairs well with curd rice.
Try to consume the pickle within a week or can go up to another two days. If the curd gets consumed, you can top it with some more whisked curds to the pickle.

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