Topa Kuler Tok-Mishti Aachar (Sweet-n-Sour Pickle of Indian Berries)

5

This year just before Saraswati Pujo I got the topa kul/berries that I was looking for. It was instructed by elders not to eat ‘Kul’ before Saraswati Puja as Goddess Saraswati will get annoyed. Before preparing the ‘Aachar’ there is some preparation. First you have to wash the berries very carefully and then dry them under Sun for atleast 4 to 5 days. When the shin shrinks then you have to press the berries between your fingers to check inside whether there is any insect or not!

Why I’m sharing this recipe now? It’s an obvious question. It is neither the season of ‘Kul’ nor Saraswati Puja. It is the same old story …. My lethargy that I could not share the recipe …. Ha ha ha … Here goes my Mom’s way of making ‘Topa Kuler Tok-Mishti Aachar’!

Ingredients:

  • Kul/Ber/Berries – 1 Kg
  • Gur/Jaggery – 700 gms
  • Sugar – 100 gms
  • Panch Phoran (Bengali Five Spices) – 1 tsp
  • Jeera (Cumin Seeds) – ½ tsp
  • Dry Whole Red Chillie – 1 no
  • Salt – to taste

Steps:

  1. Grate the gur/jaggery before putting it into the cooking vessel. That makes it easier for the gur/jiggery to melt quickly.
  2. Add ¼ cup of water and let the gur/jaggery cook over high flame.
  3. Cook till the first thread of the gur/jiggery begins to come.
  4. In a separate pan dry roast panch foran and dry red chilli. Grind the spices in a grinder and keep aside.
  5. Now add the dried kul/berries to the melted jaggery and cook for 4-5 minutes on high flame till it starts boiling.
  6. In the meantime add salt (about 1 tsp) and stir continuously in low flame for atleast 15-20 minutes or till it changes colour into dark brown and thicken a little.
  7. Sprinkle the dry roasted masala powder. Let it cool completely.
  8. After cooling off the pickle store in a jar (preferably glass jar).
  9. The work doesn’t stop there. Place the filled jars under the sun for an hour or so for about a week.
  10. Taste and enjoy the ‘topa kuler tok-mishti achaar’.
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