Guest Post: Strawberry Chutney

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With the end semester examinations knocking at the door steps, and also because I got a bit lazy I was unable to post for quite a long time now. Due to the Municipal elections in my state end of this month, my exams have been postponed and I’m back to blogging.

A few days back WaterBearer (as she likes to call her) sent me a mail with a wonderful yet simple recipe of strawberry chutney. As she writes in her mail, she learnt this preparation from her mother-in-law. If you are not Pepper Potts from Iron Man reading this post, I’m sure you love strawberries. You had posted another guest post from Soma, to read about that click here.

Here’s some facts about strawberries I didn’t know before I wrote this post:

  • Strawberries are very rich in Vitamin C and a cup of these red juicy berries provide more than a day’s requirement of ascorbic acid.
  • They are low in calories and so for the health conscious people indulge without that sinful brain
  • It’s very good for expecting mothers as 8 strawberries contain 20% of the folic acid required in your daily nutrition
  • Strawberries are said to reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases

Now, am sure I would eat more strawberries than ever before. J


  • Strawberries: 6 pieces, chopped
  • White oil (Sada tel): ¼ spoon
  • Sugar (Chini): 2-3 tablespoons
  • Green chili (Kancha lanka): 1/ 2, chopped [optional]
  • Mustard seeds (Sarse dana): 10-12
  • Salt a pinch full


Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seed

  • Throw in the chopped strawberries. Cover the pan till the strawberries soften. Stir gently from time to time
  • Add the sugar, green chili and salt
  • Stir till it becomes a thick jelly like substance. Remove from flame.
  • Serve it on the side with rotis / parathas as a tangy chutney

As with most chutneys this one too can be stored in the refrigerator, so you can enjoy this rich and tangy preparation anytime you wish to.

If you like to send any recipes, please forward it to benaglicuisine[at]gmail[dot]com, preferably with one or more photos of the preparation. We would love to hear your suggestions and comments.

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Ful Kopir Achar – Cauliflower Pickle

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Grandma’s Secret

Winter has left Kolkata, fans are on all day long. But, there are some left out winter vegetables in the market, being sold at quite a low price. My Didu (maternal grandmother) used to buy a good number of cauliflowers from the market during this time of the year, cut those into small florets, treated with salt and some other spices (which I can’t remember now) and dry them up in the sun.

These cauliflowers remained intact for more than 3-4months, retaining the same color and texture. Those days have gone passed a long time back; you can get any kind of vegetable at any time of the year. Though my mom insists that seasonal vegetables should be had at that particular season, leaving out the good exception of potato, though harvested in winter its eaten all year round. [Potatoes and Bengali cuisine are closely related; there are so many authentic bengali recipes that feature potato that it seems there had been a marriage between these two].

Steal the Pickle (Achar churi)

Remember the jars of pickles lined up on the roof, a little hands approaching to steal a handful? And there came the bigger hand in between the little hand and the jar of tangy pickle. The fear coated adventure of stealing pickle in the summer afternoon is one of the best memories I have of my childhood. Mom never allowed to have pickles and so stealing and having pickles had an extra feeling of happiness, if not I got caught.

Love thy Neighbor

Coming back to cauliflowers, my neighbor knocked the door this morning with a plate full of lovely looking cauliflowers. When asked she said that it’s the cauliflower pickle she made. It looked so lovely and I just couldn’t resist but pick up a small floret and put it straight into my mouth. I have never tasted such an awesome pickle.

I asked for the recipe and she was kind enough to share the recipe of Cauliflower Pickle (Gobi Achar, in Hindi). And, I thought of sharing this bengali pickle recipe with you. Prepare it and let me know how you fared.

Ingredients of Cauliflower Pickle:

  • Cauliflower (Ful kopi): 1 big size, cut into small florets
  • Potato (Alu); 2 medium size, cut into small pieces to complement the cauliflower florets
  • Green peas (Mator shuti): ½ cup
  • Green chili (Kancha lanka): 8-10
  • Raw tamarind pulp (Kancha tetul bata): 2 tablespoon
  • Mustard paste (Sarse bata): ½ cup
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): ½ cup
  • Asafoetida (Hing): ½ teaspoon
  • Salt to taste

How to prepare Cauliflower Pickle:

  • Steam the cauliflower florets, potatoes and green peas together, and drain out any excess water
  • Bring the steamed vegetables to normal temperature
  • Mix all the ingredients to the vegetables and pour in the oil
  • Store in glass container and keep under sun for 2-3 days before the first use

The cauliflower pickle tastes good with warm rice.

Hot Tips – Always use a dry spoon to take out pickle from the jar. The cauliflower pickle can be stored for more than a month.

Further Reading – Andhra Style Cauliflower Pickle, Cauliflower Pickle with onion

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Mango Marmalade

I love mangoes in any shape, any color, and any style. Mango marmalade, mango chutney, mango in dal, mango puree, mango shake, mango kulfi – you just name it and I know it’s my favorite. Start March every year, the markets are filled with the green raw mangoes. My mom prepares various types of mango dishes, and I devour them with pleasure. Mango marmalade is similar to all fruit marmalades, but it’s the best. In Bengal we have a saying; Mango is the king of all fruits; if you ask anybody to justify this they will give you a hundred and one reasons.


Raw Mango (Kancha Aam): 2

Sugar (Chini): ½ cup

Red Chili (Sukhno Lanka): 3 – 4

Fennel (Mouri): 2 teaspoons

Sunflower or Vegetable oil (Sada tel): 1 tablespoon

Salt (Laban): 1 teaspoon


  • Peel off and cut the mangoes into 3 inches longitudinal pieces
  • Mix the mangoes with the salt and keep aside for half-an-hour, pat dry the mango pieces
  • Heat oil in a wok, add the dry chilies, throw in the mangoes as the chilies start changing color
  • Sauté the mangoes till the upper layer is partially hardened
  • In another vessel pour in the sugar with 2 tablespoon of water and heat over low flame
  • Add the fried mangoes to the sugar syrup and cook over low flame till the mangoes are soft and the syrup is almost dry
  • Roast the fennel seeds and pour over the cooked mangoes
  • Keep in an air tight dry container

Mango marmalade can be kept without refrigeration for almost a month, and if you keep it in the refrigerator till will stay longer.

Mango Marmalade (Aamer Morobba)

Tips: Never use a wet spoon to take out the marmalade and always keep in air tight container

Enjoy the mango marmalade throughout the summer, it’s good for keeping yourself cool and is a good accompaniment at the breakfast table. Look for more updates on this blog, till then Happy Cooking and Happy Eating .

Sending this post to Srivalli’s Mango Mela ending July 10th, 2009.

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Tomato Chatni

It seems as if without a bowl of chatni Bengali platter is never complete. The little bowl of chatni at the end of any meal brings a fulfillment to the meal. Chatni, for those who are not so aware of this word, is a sweet serving prepared of tomato, ripe mango, pineapple, or for that matter any sour fruits and even dry fruits. Chatni is prepared in various styles in all Bengali households. The preparation also depends on the season; tomato for winter, ripe mango for the summers, or any seasonal fruits during its time. The main ingredient though a fruit it is often accompanied with sugar or jaggery for enhancing the sweetness of the dish.
The last time when I went home, mom gave me a whole jar of jaggery. I had completely forgotten about it, last night I was cleaning up the kitchen when I found this jar, and the first thing that came to mind was having it with milk and rice. I was thinking of what else to do with that, when I saw the tomatoes. The answer to my question was instantaneous; chatni is the best option.
I prepared it this way; you can prepare it in any way possible. I will try to post some other types of chatni on my following posts. The combination of jaggery and dry chili helps in increasing its shelf life to almost two days without refrigeration.
For this chatni the only spice used is panch phoron. Panch phoron, as the name suggests is a combination of five different spices; “panch”, meaning five and “phoron” is spice. Nigella, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, and mustard mixed in same proportions are used for preparing panch phoron. This combination of spices is an earmark of Bengali cuisine. It is  used in preparations like Khichudi and vegetarian dishes .


Serves 4


Tomato: 6 medium sizes
Palm Jaggery (Taler gur): 2 tablespoon
Bay leaf (Tej pata): 2
Dried chili (Sukhno Lanka): 2
Cashew nuts (Kaju): 5 or 6, cut into small pieces
Mustard Oil (Sarser Tel): 1 teaspoon
Panch Phoron: ½ teaspoon


  • Cut the tomatoes into quarters
  • Heat oil in a wok, as it gets heated throw in the panch phoron and bay leaves
  • When the panch phoron starts popping put in the tomatoes and red chilies along with the jaggery
  • Add little salt and stir the tomatoes well, partly mashing them
  • Let the tomatoes be cooked in low flame
  • As the tomatoes softens pour in the cashew nuts and take out of flame


Tips: Do not add water for the tomatoes to cook, this will make the chatni taste watery, and that doesn’t feel good.

Check for more updates from my kitchen, till then Happy Cooking and Happy Eating

Sending this to SWC-Meals on Wheels hosted by Lakshmi.


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