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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  1. Seriously? Raisins? Never even dared to make that... is this like a sweet and sour taste thing?
    Looks tempting!

  2. Hi Mish
    As usual great presentation, mouth watering pictures. ..Really great work...
    I became ur fan nw ..usha onnum alla kettoo ..veena fan ...!!!:)

    I made date-lemon pickle few days back ..Will post it in my blog soon


  3. Hi Shn,
    Absolutely love your blog. Have been coming here for over 2 years now! I grew up here in US but my husband is from Kerala and he just drops his jaw (and then drools) whenever I mention some recipe you put up. Are you by any chance from Changnacherry??

    Keep up the fabulous work!!

  4. wow..that looks yummy..kothi varunnu!!

  5. am a kind of a person who cannot imagine anything sweet for a pickle..;-D

    I am not a fan of pine apple pickle and actually find it weird when it is used in a Biriyani..hehehe..

    I think with the Popularity of akkarakazchakkal raisin pickle must be selling like hot cakes...aah what a irony this usage..;-P

  6. Nice jar....i donnt like sweet pickle except the north indian sweet pickle...i am a regular viewer of akkarakazchakkal ..apachan making the pickle episode was just hilarious...


  7. Have not tried this pickle. so new for me. Nice pics.

  8. I hv had mango sweet pickle, period. This is new to me, n what a torture to read the looooovely description, Shn! Especially when one is craving for home food! :)

  9. Hello Shn, ( Not sure how to address you perhaps I should call you Ms MishMash ;-))

    I was referred to your blog & MAn I have to say I am AMAZED!!! Not only are your recipies tantalising the tastebuds but love your creative writing & presentation style- Really Keep Up the EXCELLENT passion you have!

    Also must mention that your photography skills are commnedable as well. :-)

    Have a great weekend.

    God Bless & Keep Smiling,
    Sajeena (South Africa)

  10. Hello Shn (Not sure how I should address you, perhaps I should call you Ms MishMash);-)

    I was referred to your blog by a friend and I am AMAZED!! Not only are your recipies tantalising the tastebuds but I am serioulsy captured by your creative style of writing & presentation!Keep the passion alive & the spirit going.

    Must also say your food photography skills are rather commendable :-)

    Have a good weekend.

    God Bless & Keep Smiling,
    Sajeena (South Africa)

  11. am doing too..thanx to dad n mom and the genes..nothing has turned into disaster..thanx to recipes from u and lotsa others..:)
    after dat episode of akkarakazchakal i always wondered wats this muntiri achar..thanx for puttin it up...will try it...

  12. Raisin pickle sounds exotic, Shn!

  13. Mish,
    I didn't think of unakkamunthiri achar until I see this.. ! but we make achar with ripe grapes.. :)

  14. Looks very tempting. I'm a big fan of unconventional pickles. Sure will try this some day.

    Keep up the good work.

    Have a nice day.

  15. Munthiri Achar. This has me interested. This one I have to try.

  16. Anudivya. it isn't's like any other spicy pickle, but has a mild sweetness when u bite on to the raisins....

    Veena, LOL @ Usha fan....i remember that Usha ad ...especially how they used to end the jingle with Uuuuushhaaaa ...!! :) I havent tasted the combo of date and lemon..will wait for the recipe :) Thank you!

    BG, Thanks a lot....great to know that someone has been following my blog for so long....nope, i am not from changanassery..! Thanks again:)

    Divz, :)

    Mathew, I my father belongs to your group , he just cannot understand why a sweet fruit has to be added to a curried dish :) but pineaplle pickle, really..?? btw, did u watch the latest... "trikotrii"?? !!! i kept laughing each time they said that...wonder who comes up such things!!:))

    Ras, thank it loooong back from a supermarket :)

    rashmi, hope u watched the latest and found that even more hilarious :) btw, it is not as sweet as u imagine...very mild sweetness when u chew the raisins...chilli powder and vingear kind of dominates...

    Pravs, danks :)

    Purnima, but i dint write anything about home food..did I? :)

    Sajeena, That was a very sweet comment...thanks a lot for your generous words....did lift my spirits up: ) but i must also note that if you roam around a bit on this blog world, you will see other great blogs 100 times better than me....;) Thanks a lot...I hope you continue enjoy the future posts too :)

    Jina, wow...that sure shows your kaipunyam and natural instincts for cooking....enjoy the sweetest days with all the great food....:)

    Vani, yeah even i felt that way...thats how I ended up making it :)

    Seena, reallyyyyy????? seriously??? You should post that soon....i really want to how it is made and tastes like...i was so amazed when i read ur comment and had a wide smile after that as tho I hit the jackpot :)))

    Simi, thank you...hope you try and let me know!

    Aparna, :) do let me know your feedback !


  17. thanks mish..i tried this one today....its really tasty..;-)

  18. Thanks Archana for your feedback...hope you let Sarah know as well :)

  19. Shn, the pickle looks so the jar too :-)

  20. really raisins pickle! Love the idea of it.. will have to try this. And shn, that bottle is so cute!

  21. oh..yes had a time laughing at the trikotrii joke...akkarakazchakkal is the best thing that has happened to malayalam television in more than a decade..absolutely love it!!;-D

  22. slurp... adding this to my long waited pickle project :)

  23. Never tried a sweet pickle...but I will try it because it looks really good...I think everyone is hooked by Akkarakazhchakal episodes...Only thing I have to ask you is ... Thrikothri ??? ( Its a one liner from latest akkarakazhakal episode...)

  24. Very intriguing raisins in a pickle...this I have to try...looks delicious :-)

  25. A raisin pickle is novel.. till now only neembu ka achar could be sweet :))
    Lovely pics too .

  26. Did u ask me to leave a comment or write a whole blog abt mishaps. But to be honest it has been a while since i have done it. I had my share in first year of marraige. SO much that i feel i have met my Quota. Why not raisin pickle when u have raisin chutney. How have u been?

  27. never knew that pickle are made out of raisins too .. looks delicious

  28. Sunita, Mandira, Thanks :)

    Mathew, oh yes...espl'y after that melodramatic soaps! :)

    Sia, :)

    Confucius, heheh...come next year :D btw, what a catchy profile name , read ur hunter series and liked it too...couldnt drop a message for u .

    Usha, tastes delicious too :)

    Swati, haven't u tasted dates pickle?

    Pooja, LOL...i wish i knew what my quota was too!!! i havent tasted raiain chutmey...u better gimme the recipe :)

    Deesha, thanks ...give it a try :)


  29. Hi Shn

    Made your date pickle yesterday. Mine did not have a lot of gravy, yours looks like there is plenty of "char". Also do you add oil on top of the pickle. I only added 3Tbsp of rice vinegar.
    Your blog is simply amazing, i have tried out most of your stuff and they were you have the recipe for date pickle ?


  30. Maya, I guess what u tried is raisin pickle as I have nt posted date pickle..well, the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup vinegar for which you have used only 3 tbsp vinegar which is deft'ly NOT sufficient :) When i said i might reduce the vinegar amount next time, i was considering somewhere b'wn 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup ....3 tbsp is not enough for sure.

  31. I would like to try this, would be great with kurmas!


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