Monday, October 29, 2012

A Loss And A Hiatus

I have been on a hiatus from everything except reading. I was going through a rough patch and I simply couldn’t bring myself to write or let alone spend some time by myself without feeling numb. I lost my grandmother (If you know the Ammoomma who features very lavishly in my posts) to cancer and old age. A relief from sufferings for her and a void that will never be filled for me. It is easy to preach about how death is part of human life until it happens to you. Some losses are irreplaceable .You will learn to live without the person but you will always miss their presence always.

I miss Ammoomma greatly. She was someone who intuitively knew my state of mind even when we are miles apart. My sorrow, my pains, my little joys – she knew all of them. She had no expectations out of me. All she had was pure unconditional love for her grandchild.

I am starting my first job in Australia tomorrow. Today is my last day of freedom. Today also happens to be the day I finished my reading challenge 2012.So I decided to celebrate both by doing some pickling. Ammoomma would’ve been proud of me.

She was a pickling expert. Except for the most recent Kadumanga pickle, Amma always made pickles under Ammoomma’s guidance. She would look at the tender mangoes, poke them around and announce the amount of spices required. Experience is something that comes with age and actually dishing it out in the kitchen. Aged I have, but experience? Well, I am working on the building blocks of making pickles, jams, sweets – A La Kerala Style.

Now, instant mango pickle is something I love. I don’t have to wait for ages for Amma’s consent to open the bottles of pickle left for ageing. The best part is we are done in 15 minutes flat with only one wok and ladle for cleaning up afterwards. I am the laziest cook on earth and would not give you a recipe that is difficult. Would I?

(I managed to find frozen sliced raw mangoes in one of Indian stores last week. I am scourging Chinese stores this week for fresh mangoes.I did see raw bananas and couldn't wait to make upperi’s out of them :D)


  1. Raw Mangoes (to be cut into small pieces)– 2 medium size
  2. Salt         -1-2 tbsp
  3. Chilly Powder- 2-3 tbsp
  4. Turmeric Powder –1 tsp
  5. Fenugreek – 1 tbsp
  6. Mustard Seeds – 1 tbsp
  7. Asafoetida   - ½ -1 tsp
  8. Oil  -2tbsp +2tbsp
  9. Pepper powder– ½ tsp
  10. Boiled Water – ¼ cup
  11. Secret Ingredient (Ohh!!!)

Cooking Procedure:

  1. Cut the mangoes into small pieces.
  2. In a wok heat 2tbsp oil and splutter mustard seeds. Add Fenugreek. Wait until Fenugreek turns brown.(Not too brown, mind it!)
  3. Add Fenugreek powder, Chilly Powder, Turmeric Powder, and Asafoetida.Throw in the curry leaves.
  4. Add boiled water and wait for the mixture to thicken
  5. Add the cut mangoes and salt.
  6. Once the mixture boils switch off the gas and leave the pickle to thicken in the heat of the wok.
  7. Transfer the pickle to an air tight container when sufficiently cool
  8. Heat 2tbsp oil and pour into the container. Secure the lid tightly and keep aside for 2-3 days for the spices to develop their flavor.

Cheat Code:

If you get bored after all the cutting and slicing.Do not worry. Transfer the salted mangoes in to an airtight container and keep it aside. When you feel like it continue with rest of the steps.

Oh! The secret ingredient! Mine is jaggery. A tiny piece added at Step 5.It gives a sweet edge to the pickle and is bound to tease the taste buds.

About the job. It is nothing fancy; just a nine to five contract job with Curtin University as an associate in their in-house IT department. Well, the salary would pay for my shopping binges whilst leaving some positive balance in my bank account much to Amma’s relief. After all I am the wife, I am not expected to be the breadwinner. My earnings are only to treat myself to the spa, watches, bags and books. I shouldn’t worry my pretty head about climbing the corporate ladder. My worry should not be delivering project within the deadline but delivering a baby before I turn thirty. Did that sound like a rant pregnant with sarcasm? Oh! Well then it is another commentary delivered successfully. Beep Beep Pun Alert!