Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Savoury Cherry Berry Chase

Over a month ago, I posed a question about an ingredient in this post. One of you got it right. Those berries were karondas, as they are known in Hindi, or vakkaya (Telugu). I will not add the names of it in other languages, especially English - there seems to be enough confusion as it is, but they go by the name of some plum or the other.

I'm calling it a berry.

I haven't seen them in ages so when I saw them at the store, I picked up a packet and used them indiscriminately - i.e.- all of them without regard for the proportions vis-a-vis rice and other ingredients. I watched this video and didn't refer to it again because I believed that the only thing that differentiated it from lime rice, which is a breeze to make, was the berry, so I went ahead and did whatever I wanted.

Deseeding the berries is a boring job but we did it - they are terribly sour.

I was left with about a cup of berry after the process. I sauteed it in some oil with some mustard seed, three green and three red chillies, and a little bit of channa dal/Bengal gram.

To this, I added about 1 cup of cooked and cooled rice and mixed it well so that the sourness of the berry adhered to it.

I could have used a little less berry but I was making this for the first time and I didn't want any leftovers as I had no more ideas for them except dal and I didn't want to make dal. But I have eaten the dal my grandmother made with this berry and it was really nice. I don't know when I can make this next because I hadn't seen these berries for years till now and don't know when I will see them next again. Probably during the Vinayaka Chaturthi festival some year, because they are often used to decorate Vinayaka's puja. At least that's when they made their appearance here this year.

Apparently, this berry helps treat anaemia, and traditionally has been used to treat anorexia and insanity. There's more information here.

More interestingly, did you know this is what passed for cherries in most Indian bakeries of a certain time? In fact, it was these that the average Indian knew as cherries before the real tinned cherries became widely available - and those are expensive. These 'karonda cherries' still make an appearance in cakes from smaller bakeries and are used to top Indian sweets too!

I'm sending this off to Terry at Crumpets & co. who's hosting WHB this week, created by Kalyn and now run by Haalo.

My Legume Love Affair - 52 is hosted here this month. Do send in those entries!


  1. rice with karondas is a great idea. My makes pickles with them and check Anita's space for an awesome relish recipe. I cant get enough of that.

  2. wow! i didnt know that i was the one to guess it correctly! i have a stash of them frozen. i use it for dal (best with moong, great in coconut and peanut chutneys... never tried the rice!

  3. You are right it appears around Vinayaka chathurthi and it is a tradition in our home to buy this one for Ganesha! Usually we buy them from small vendors (those who sell Greens) . I remember eating this "Kalaka" with salt and chilli powder (like raw mango), good for pickling. Been more than 15 years I have tasted this one! The rice idea sounds good!

  4. I haven't seen a karonda since I was probably 20 and that was a looong time ago. My grandmother's(and also ours) home had karonda growing in the fag end of the garden. Pickles were made of it or chutneys. We called it "karamcha"

  5. Nice idea.A new recipe for me to try.

    Last post:Jilipi or Jalebi

  6. I haven't come across these at all. The rice looks a lot like puliyodharai. With the sourness from the berries, does it taste like that too?

  7. Thank you very much Sra for your entry! i loved to read your post and discover these new berries... i wonder if i will ever have the chance to try them... anyway thanks and compliments for you dish! :) see you tomorrow for the recap! :)

  8. I have never had these or known aobut these berries, and I love the way you have prepared.


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