Mushy but Spicy: Strawberry Anchar


Made strawberry anchar, with leftover sugar syrup from store-bought gulab jamuns. Anchar is similar to chutney, only that it has a thicker and stickier consistency. I quartered the strawberries and then boiled them in the sugar syrup till it reached the desired consistency. Then I added few squirts of lemon juice. I dry roasted some cumin seeds, one whole dried red chili and paanch foron (a blend of five spices and adding this is totally optional) and used a coffee grinder to grind them. I added this to the thickened strawberry to give it a kick of spice.


Berried-mango kheer

I was introduced to aam-kheer by my mother-in-law. It’s a luscious concoction of whole milk reduced to a heavy cream-like consistency, which is called kheer in Bengalifresh mango (aam) pulp and sugar. The way she prepares it is a bit different though. Instead of adding mango pulp to the kheer, she garnishes it with bite-sized mango pieces. And that is how I have begun to love it.

During a phone conversation with her a couple of weeks back, she had mentioned that she was making aam-kheer. The thought of aam-kheer lingered on, even after the conversation had ended.

I had picked up some Haitian mangoes from the grocery store on Sunday and there was this long forgotten can of evaporated milk in the pantry. The ingredients were on hand; all I had to do was put them together, really. I did it, today. Just that I decided to go down the pulp-way this time around. And as long as I was doing something new, I decided it was okay to blend in three strawberries as well.

Reducing whole milk to kheer is a painstakingly long process but that’s how Bengali women have been doing it for generations. My ma does it that way, so does my mother-in-law. I on the other hand recourse to a can of evaporated milk. Just ten minutes of boiling and the kheer was ready. I stirred in the mixture of fresh mango and strawberry pulp once the kheer had completely cooled down.

The strawberries did to mango, what coffee does to chocolate — heightened its flavor.