This is something my grandmother used to have on her table, every winter – with big chunks of garlic and green chillies. This tart, sour mix tastes absolutely amazing with Indian meals. Try it with khichadi, roti, rice and dal, anything.
I made something completely off beat with it though. This is how it happened – I had guests coming over for dinner, I had fresh goat’s cheese on hand, and I love goat’s cheese, – And – I was bored of serving the same old goat’s cheese with the quintessential caramelised onions, or roasted veggies. So I looked in the fridge and saw my freshly made amba haldi.
I ran the tastes of both goat’s cheese and amba haldi in my mind, and thought it was worth taking the risk. I served it with great trepidation and waited with baited breath for feed back (no I had no time to taste it before serving it! – in any case I had already liked the pairing in my head!)
Everyone liked it. They loved the taste. And thank God, because it was very offbeat and very risky to serve something so bizarre!
Amba Haldi, is basically fresh white turmeric or mango turmeric. This is the yellow slices you see. The orange one is new turmeric. Ordinarily these two go together in this very traditional Indian pickle, optionally along with garlic and green chillies. It’s available in the onset of winter, and makes for a good healthy pickle which also works to build your immunity.
Amba haldi, tastes sour and tart. A lot like raw mango; even without the lemon juice decoction. Turmeric – well most of us have turmeric as a spice in our food. It really has no taste, but the raw turmeric does. It has an odd piquant taste, not very strong. Not something you need to get used to like truffles. It’s just a very different taste. I cannot liken it to any other flavour I have had.
Scrape the skin with a sharp knife, as the peeler will take away too much of the flesh. The skin is so thin and new that scraping with a sharp knife is good enough. Be careful as the turmeric will colour your hands yellow. It needs a load of lemon juice. Adding garlic and chillies is completely your call, as is adding salt. We Indians, any case eat a lot of salt in our diet, so I skipped it in my amba haldi pickle.
It hits the market as soon as the weather starts getting pleasant and the skin feels a bit dry! Also, try and get the fresh green peppers. I will give you the recipe for that real soon.
Enjoy and do send me feedback about this very off the beaten track combination.
- 250 gm amba haldi fresh
- 250 gm fresh hadli (turmeric)
- 30 large lemons squeeze out the juice
- 8 green chilles split length wise (optional)
- 8 pods garlic sliced (optional)
- 2 tspns rock salt optional
- 200 gms fresh goat's cheese
- 1 loaf french baguette sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 large glass jar with an air tight cover
- Scrape the amba haldi and fresh turmeric and dip in cold water to clean remnants of peels
- Slice into long thin slices (juliennes)
- Put the juliennes and the optional green chillies, garlic, salt in the glass jar.
- Top with lemon juice
- Keep in sun for 2 days (optional). You can also just leave it outside at room tempreture
- Use after two days.
- Can be served as a pickle with meals. Referigerate.
- Slightly toast the baguette slices
- Add a good thick layer of goat's cheese (appx 2 tbspn) and spread it.
- Add juliennes of amba haldi on it. Do this just before serving, as the goat's cheese will get stained yellow. Add as many juliennes as you would like.
- Some people will not be able to have too many at a go, while some might like a load of it. You could leave it for your guest to add at their discretion. Though I wouldn't do that. Forcing them to try atleast a slice, with a few pieces would be ideal.
- You could leave some of the amba haldi in a bowl for people to add more if they so desire.
To keep your amba haldi fresh and uncomtaminated till it's over, always use a fresh clean and dry spoon to take it out of the jar. If you need to take out some more after the first round, use another spoon. We normally keep our spoons on the counter, where it either mixes with something else, or gets contaminated via the surrounding air and its bacteria.
Remember - each time a new spoon. And don't leave the spoon inside the jar.