Recipe contributed by Parinaz Marolia, author of A Dollop of That
Perhaps the oldest form of fusion cuisine, Parsi cooking derives its influence and inspiration from British, Portuguese, French, Gujarati and ofcourse Iranian cuisine. As Parsis arrived on the shores of Gujarat to take refuge, we assimilated in the best possible way, by way of food!.
Ambakalyo is one such amazing assimilation. Ambakalyo derives its base from the famous Gujarati Gor Keri nu Athanu (Jaggery & Raw Mango pickle), found in almost all Gujarati homes, an essential accompaniment to their theplas and parathas. This pickle is made by combining spices with molasses, the use of sugar helps in preserving the pickle with uncooked fruit.
Ambakalyo is a sweet and tangy chutney made by the Parsis and is quite similar in concept to the Gor Keri pickle, however it is predominantly made with ripe mangoes and uses very little to no oil in its making. Spice powders used by the Gujaratis are replaced with whole fragrant spices, but the sweetness comes from the same source i.e Gor or Jaggery.
Made exclusively during the mango bearing summer months, this particular relish is a staple at Khushali na Gambhars along with masala dal, brown rice, kevab (meatballs), kachumbar and papeta ma gos (meat with potatoes). Gambhars for the uninitiated is a time for gathering of both food and people. Fasting has no place in Zarathusti tenets and scholars believe that our prophet laid an obligation on his followers to celebrate all seasons in remembrance of our creator.
It is believed that the aroma of good food attracts spiritual beings and that during the high feats or Gambhars, both spiritual and physical beings together partake the spread laid out.
Without further banter then, a recipe for Ambakaliyo is as follows.
- 200 gram semi ripe mangoes (any variety but with less juice)
- 100 gram jaggery crumbled
- 0.5 cup shallots
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 3 cloves
- 1 green cardamom
- 1 bay leaf
- 0.5 stick of cinnamon
- 6 black peppercorns
- 0.5 cup water
- Sugar if required
- Grate or cut the mangoes into bite sized pieces and keep aside. Traditionally, the Ambakalyo is made with big slices of mango cheeks but I prefer it grated
- Start by melting the jaggery along with the water in a heavy bottomed vessel. Once all the jaggery has melted add in the grated mangoes along with all the whole spices and pearl onions
- Allow the mangoes to cook through and soften, stirring occasionally over a low flame
- Once the mixture gets sticky and coagulates, taste for salt and sugar and add in accordingly
- Turn off the flame and allow to cool completely before transferring into an airtight container
- Refrigerate and consume within two weeks
This post is part of my ongoing series on the blog, the A to Z of Parsi Food which has been curated in collaboration with Parsi food enthusiasts globally. For more interesting recipes follow the hashtag #AtoZChallenge mentioned below.