In Season: Glorious Winter Carrots

Carrot

Eating seasonal is a special joy. Every summer we wait for the greens, yellows and oranges of mangoes. In the monsoons, fresh roasted corn and sweet potatoes fill our senses at thelas around street corners. And every winter is a celebration of bright red strawberries, masses of orange green santra and kinnu, and the glorious deep burnished red of winter carrots.

These carrots, that we can enjoy for about 3 months of the year, are sweet and fresh flavoured and they come just in time for making delicious winter favourites such as Gajar ka Halwa and this fantastic pickle that combines Carrots, Radishes and Radish Pods.

This recipe for Quick Gajar Mooli Achaar is a highly requested recipe that nobody makes better than my mother’s sister, my masi, Shobha Anchalia. Shoba Masi is an amazing powerhouse of energy and creativity and a storehouse of knowledge. The most efficient lady I know, she is advisor to half the city of Jodhpur on matters ranging from birth to death and every major milestone in between. Her and her husband together have advised and in fact handled, nearly a 100 weddings for so many families around the city, and all this in their spare time, just because they like to help.

She is a brilliant cook but her skills in the kitchen are only a very small part of her talents. However, in honour of her formidable skills in the kitchen, here’s a recipe for a delicious winter vegetable pickle that doesn’t need curing and maturing. Ready in a few hours, this pickle can be eaten on the same day and in fact will probably be devoured in a day or two. We’ve eaten it along with rice or chapati as a sabzi replacement and wait every winter for a fresh batch. Try it yourself!

Shobha Masi’s Quick Gajar Mooli AchaarCarrot

Ingredients

3 big Carrots
2 Radishes (Mooli)
100g Radish Pods (mogri)
30g Chili powder
5-8 heaped tsp Mustard Seed, crushed
6-8 heaped tsp Fennel seeds (Saunf), ground
1/2 heaped tsp Turmeric powder
50g Amchur
50g Salt or 5-6 tsp or to taste
3 big pinch Nigella seeds (kalonji)
Oil, enough just to cover the pickle mix, about 1/2 cup
2 Cloves
1/2 inch piece of Cinnamon

Directions
Chop carrots and radishes into batons, thick sticks about the length of matchsticks. Mix all the ingredients together and set aside for 2 hours.
Heat oil till smoking and pop in the cloves and the tiny piece of cinnamon. Let the oil cool down a little and when just warm, pour the warm oil over the vegetables and set aside for 1/2 and hour or so. Transfer to a large jar or multiple small jars and seal tight.
This pickle is ready to eat straight away and since it’s a fresh pickle, ideally consumed within a few days.
Note: Adding 1 tsp vinegar will make the pickle last 15 days or 1 month, refrigerated. (Longer if you’re lucky and the weather conditions are just right)

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