Ambada/Ambeda Khatta ( Tangy Indian Olives Curry )

One of the most endearing and enduring memories of my childhood days have been those village feasts where everyone sat down on the floor to partake the meals. Served on disposable plates sewn out of dried Sal leaves (khali patra), even the simplest of meals acquired that 'wow' factor in my city bred conscience. Even as the piping hot rice was piled on the sal leaves, the aroma released by the heat was enough to set the salivary glands in a state of overdrive. A topping of dal and some random vegetable curry usually followed the rice.

However, all tongues were kept hanging in limbo for the arrival of the 'piece de resistance', if I may christen it so, of all odia feasts. The mutton curry was undoubtedly most sought after dish at these feasts. But any guesses what came a close second on my list? None other than the 'ambada khatta', a sweet and tangy relish made out of Indian olives. While, the coastal regions of Odisha swear by the 'Oau' or elephant apple, the 'ambada' is more prevalent in the Western parts of the state. Given that the mutton curry is quite spicy and laden with fat, the sweet sour nature of the 'khatta' acts as the perfect foil for it.

It had been ages since I got the chance to feast on some of this delicious stuff. Hence I was almost euphoric when I chanced upon a vendor selling them in Bengaluru. The young fruit is usually tender and one can easily split it into four halves. But the ones that I found were quite mature and hence I just ended up putting slits on their surface. They got nicely cooked in the gravy and lent their juices to it. However, the consistency was a little thinner than usual. One can mash them up a little to thicken the gravy. I was quite happy with the thin consistency so I just let it be.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 250 gm Ambada/Ambeda/Indian Olives
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard 
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 dry red chili
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp pancha phutana
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 pinch asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil

Preparation - Dry grind the red chili, mustard and cumin seeds. Once powdered, add the garlic and a little water. Grind into a fine paste and keep aside.

If the ambada is tender, cut each one into 4 halves. Else just put 3-4 slits on the surface.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the pancha phutana and let it splutter.

Add curry leaves and asfoetida. Fry for 30 seconds before throwing in the ambada.

The ambada need to be cooked/stir fried till it turns brown and the skin is almost ready to peel off.

Now add 2 1/2 cups water, salt and turmeric. Let it simmer for a while to let the juices seep into the gravy.

Then add sugar and boil some more till it reaches the desired consistency. 

[Mash them up a bit if you want a thicker curry. However, it will also increase the sour quotient of the gravy and hence you have end up putting more sugar to balance it out]

Serve with rice and mutton curry.


















Note - This can be preserved in the fridge for a couple of days. 

Comments

  1. Here we'll have to wait for another month or so in order to savour these! Looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete

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