We did not indulge in a lavish Onam Sadya spread this year since I was caught up in Client meetings at work. Fortunately I had picked up a few essentials to come up with a few Sadya favorites-avial, thoran, parippu, sambhar, kitchedi and payasam. R's brother from Texas and his family joined us for dinner since they are still in the process of setting up home in DC once again. His wife was generous enough to bring over the pappadam and Okra kitchedi to help me out, very very nice of her. THe Sadya went real well, but a simple lemon pickle grabbed my attention so I'll share the recipe with you. This pickle is usually situated to the extreme left corner of the traditional plantain leaf in every sadya.
My post today is a tribute to yet another recipe from my mother's wonderful array of pickles. Traveling down memory lane I remember the "Vella Naranga Achar" as it is commonly known, made from steamed lemons. I don't know why the aroma of this pickle always reminds me of the preserved lemons so common to Middle Eastern cuisine. Perhaps it has a distinctive simplicity that catches my attention when I steam the lemons. I'm sure everyone is aware of the amazing healing power of lemons with their high Vitamin C content and strong digestive properties- even the juice, pith and zest are good as a liver detoxifier and enhance metabolism. So it is not surprising that this healing pickle comes to our rescue on days when we enjoy a delicious Onam feast.
Happy Onam Amma!and my heartfelt Onam Wishes to all Malayalees.
My "Nishagandhi" flowered last week. This queen of the dark flower has a beautiful aroma and will only bloom at night. It lasts for about 6-8 hours before wilting. I have a large plant on my deck right now and here's one that I caught when it was ready to bloom.
1 inch piece Ginger
5 Green Chillies
1 pinch Asafoetida
1/2 tspn sesame oil
1/2 tspn mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1-2 split red chillies
How to make this tart citrus relish:
1. At first, steam the three lemons after slicing half-way into quarters. About 5 -10 mins.
2. They should not be completely cooked but just turn soft. Add salt to the center of each lemon
and preserve overnight to allow the lemons to absorb the salt.
3. Next day, using a cutting board chop the ginger and green chillies to your desired size(as small as possible)
4. Cut the lemons into small pieces by draining the liquid. Do not toss the liquid.
5. Place the liquid back into a prepared canning jar and add asafoetida, a little more salt,
ginger, chillies and mix well.
6. Heat oil and add mustard, red chillies and curry leaves.When the mustard seeds stop crackling,
turn off the stove and add the liquid. Add the lemons and stir well.
7. When the pickle is cool enough, store in the canning jar and allow to sit for a day or two