Ambeda Sakkara ( Indian Plums in a Coconut Tamarind gravy )

The Mondays of the holy 'Kartika' month in Odisha are never complete without a good quality 'khatta' or sweet and tangy gravy. The somewhat astringent taste of the Habisa dalma definitely needs to be delicately balanced by the presence of this tang/sweetness on the side. And after getting bored with 'Aau' and 'Ambeda' khatta, I wanted a 'Sakkara' with my next Monday meal. Unlike the 'khatta' that does not rely on a external souring agent and depends primarily on the natural tang of the vegetable being cooked, the tamarind is an integral part of the Sakkara.

With good quality ash gourd (pani kakharu) not being easy to find in the markets, I decided to go ahead and experiment with some Ambeda that I got from the HAL market . Since the ambeda is not very sour, adding a tiny bit of tamarind and some extra jaggery to balance it out seemed the obvious choice. Left out the boiled Bengal gram and added loads of freshly grated coconut instead. Turned out to be nice and tangy.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 250 gm Ambada/Ambeda/Indian Olives
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 dry red chili
  • 1/4 tsp pancha phutana
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 pinch asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly grated coconut for garnishing

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

Dilute the tamarind paste in 1/5 cup of hot water.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the pancha phutana and broken red chilis. 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, tamarind juice and boil some more till it reaches the desired consistency. Sprinkle the grated coconut just before removing from the flame. 



[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 arwa bhata and dalma !


















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

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