Thursday, October 30, 2008

Raisin Pickle aka Unakka Munthiri Achaar

Munthiri Pickle” sounds familiar?

No ???

How about “Appachan’s Munthiri Pickle” ?

Aahhhh….now I see a large chunk of Keralites staying abroad nodding their heads with a playful smile :)

For those who are wondering if I have gone nuts, here is the background; this is from a popular Malayalam sitcom, Akkarakazchakal that is catching up like wildfire among the Malayalees staying abroad as well as the YouTube fans. Presented in a truly realistic backdrop, with an undertone of sarcasm paired beautifully with plain humour, it revolves around the life of a middle class Malayalee family, settled in US of A and people associated with them. A particular episode paints how Appachan, a typical “Naattinpurathukaaran”, an old man from a rural town in Kerala, visiting his son and family, tries to spend his spare time by digging up their backyard and creating a small vegetable patch along with some grapevines. Our beloved Appachan has been dreaming of making wine with these grapes but when it starts falling off, the old man resorts to making some pickles with it. As it turns out, the pickled grapes becomes a major hit among their friends and eventually they start selling the pickled grapes, under the brand name, “Appachan’s Munthiri Pickle” in line with the famous brand, “Grandma’s Pickle” !!

Well, when they repeated this humble culinary invention from Appachan, in a couple of episodes, it slowly started tickling my ever-active 24/7 craving department. I seriously pondered over the idea of someone from the production crew, “Infamous Coconut Production” sharing the recipe for Appachan’s Munthiri Pickle!!!! Yeah…I know….I am that desperate and stupid at times!

Lazy me, didn’t even bother to experiment pickling a batch of grapes and life moved on…… few weeks later, while searching for some xyz thing, I stumbled upon Sarah’s blog with a recipe for raisin pickle! Though it was not a one with fresh grapes, somehow the recipe sounded charming and interesting, especially with my weakness for sweet-savoury dishes. And then I threw the idea at CJJ who is generally not fond of any sweet-savoury combo but surprisingly he showed interest saying that it might taste like his favourite date pickle. As I got the green signal, I made a batch of that raisin pickle and voila, we were floored!!! It IS addictive. If you are feeling blue that festival of lights and crackers is over, you should try this condiment which is literally a burst of contrasting flavours that complement well with each other. Imagine the sweet raisins soaked and drenched in the sharpness of vinegar , spiced up with hot chilly powder and flavored with pungent ginger and garlic, dancing on your palate……give it a try, it goes well with spicy curried meat or vegetable and Biryani , in particular.

I followed Sarah’s recipe and methods closely except in the proportion of ginger, garlic and green chillies. I took a tablespoon each of these three ingredients for a tightly packed cup of sun-dried raisins. The only thing I would do differently next time is to reduce the amount of vinegar a little bit or use a less stronger one.

Thank you, Sarah for sharing this wonderful recipe …we enjoy it thoroughly :)

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