Spicy Keerlu ~ Ambade Kochla Nonche / Bamboo Shoots ~ Hogplum Finely Chopped Pickle ....... A dish that goes well with Dosa, Idly, Oondi, Dal-Chawal and many more dishes .......
Pickle needs no introduction. A little bit of pickle served during lunch time turns a simple dish into a yummy and scrumptious one. There are many types of pickles prepared all round the world. But most of them always use oil for preservation. We Amchies / GSB Konkani Saraswat's always prepared instant one's without oil which remains for a few days at room temperature, but can be stored in fridge for quite some time. Come mansoon and its that time when you get fresh Keerlu / bamboo shoots and Ambado / Hogplums in plenty. Both are seasonal and are available around the month of July to September. Bamboo shoots once bought should be used as fast as possible or they should be brined to avoid them getting spoilt. Hogplum remain well in fridge for more than a week or so. Pickle is just one item that is prepared from fresh bamboo shoots and ambado together.
Though traditionally a little bit bigger pieces where added for the pickle here I prepared them in kochla nonche / finely chopped style pickle coz. that’s the way its loved in my home. Recipe is the same as the one’s we GSB Konkani Saraswat’s prepare ie. without addition of oil. So this pickle remains good for a few days at room temperature but is not recommended for more days. But if you keep them in fridge they will last you for at least 2 months without any problem. I always prepare pickle and store the bottle of about ½ kg. in the fridge and remove a little bit in a smaller bottle which is also kept in the fridge but for daily use. This helps in preserving the bulk pickle well without disturbance everyday. If bamboo shoots and hogplums are available in your vicinity do try out the same. Just remember they should both be very tender so that you can easily chop them.
For Preparing and chopping of Ambado / Hogplums : Wash and wipe dry about ½ kg of Ambado / Hogplum. Slice of the stem side and cut them into small pieces. The hogplums should be very tender and also be sour in taste.
For Peparing and chopping of Keerlu / Bamboo Shoots : The outer peel which is thorny and stiff comes off easily and is not edible. It has to be discarded. Remove the outer covers till you reach the edible soft center part of keerlu / bamboo shoots.
The top edge conical part is called neeli which is also edible. Now chop the edible portions into small pieces / kocholu. In all you should have about 4-5 cups of the chopped pieces.
For Preparation of Salt Water : Fill a large steel vessel with 2 litres of water and keep it to boil, when half hot add in 2 cups of salt (I always use crystal sea salt for making of pickle). Bring the water to a boil. When the salt has dissolved / mixed well, remove from fire. Let cool completely. Sometimes there are dust particles in this salt, so once the salt water has cooled completely sieve it in cotton cloth. Always use clean muslin cotton cloth for sieving to remove the dirt particles as sieving it in steel sieve will not serve the purpose.
Add the chopped keerlu / bamboo shoots and the chopped Ambado / hogplum pieces into a large sterilized glass bottle, of appropriate size. Add the cooled salt water into the sterilized glass bottle upto the brim level.
Cover with the lid tightly and keep aside overnight or for 8-12 hours. Sieve out the salt water from the bottle and keep aside. The salt water will be used for grinding the pickle and adding to the masala later if necessary.
For the Pickle Paste : Grind about 50-60 red kashmiri chilly with the required amount of salt water coarsely. Do not add more salt water. Add in a small marble sized piece of hing, which has been fried in a teaspoon of oil until it melts or add 2 tablespoon of hing powder fried in a tblsp of oil and also add about 3-4 teaspoon of mustard seeds to the grinding mixture.
Continue to grind all of the ingredients for another minute till the masala is well blended. Do not grind for too long as the mustard seeds will then impart bitterness to the masala also we do not want a fine paste. Pickle masala is ground a bit coarsely.
Now add sufficient masala to the bamboo~hogplum pieces in the sterilized glass bottle. Mix well. There should be enough masala to bind all the pieces well. Add in some salt water also to the jar and mix well to get a thick masala pickle. Do not make the pickle too thin by adding more of salt water. You can always add in boiled and cooled water later on if you find the masala in the pickle getting drier.
Mix the pickle well, put on the lid tightly and leave it out for a day outside in a cool place. Then keep the bottle / container in fridge and remove as and when necessary to be served. Always use a clean and dry spoon when removing the bottled pickle or else the pickle may get spoilt. I always store the bottle taking care to see that it is well and tightly closed. I remove some pickle in a smaller bottle for daily use, so that I do not keep opening the whole lot every time I want to serve pickle. Smaller bottle is handier, though this bottle also is stored in the fridge. Also use dry spoon when removing pickle from the bottle and always check to see if you have closed the lid properly.
** For detailed usage of Bamboo Shoots, I have enclosed the link of the Article on Bamboo Shoots, please to check on the same to get a correct picture of the same.