Gajar Gobi Shalgum Achaar (pickled Cauliflower, Turnip and carrots)

11:27 AM

Before shifting to Delhi I had no idea about the following three things. that parathas could be made with whole wheat flour, pickles could be made with vegetables and Parathas could be eaten on its own. I vividly remember the first time I was served paratha without any sabzi (curry). For me it was unfathomable. How could one eat a dry parathas without some wet curries!!! Back home our triangular paratha breakfast would always always be accompanied with some alur dom and I expected the same when after a hectic day of factory visit ordered some paratha for dinner.

I was residing in a hostel then, a hostel which was built on a facility started by an Ex Army Colonel, who totally wanted the building look like an Army barack with concrete bunk beds and no hot water  even in Delhi's peak colder months. The appointed Ladies hostel warden served his mentality who we used to call Lady Hitler. She would not fumble a bit to fire an MBA student if we even went to our next room after the class. The facility of the ladies hostel, the behavious of the stuff and the food was pathetic to say the least but we tried to cope and devised some tricks to make our life easier. One of them was to get food delivered by the boys living in the adjacent building. There was a twi story hige brick wall that separated the two building. But there was a secret hole in that wall, a lose brick which only the student knew.

the story goes like that a pair of lovebirds living in these two hostels heavily bribed the mason to keep one brick loose so that they can talk for hours and exchange gifts through it. I am really not sure about it's authenticity but in those years we have blessed those should with out whole heart. We used this to get food delivered from our classmates on the other sides. They had no rules in their hostel and the food was fab, prepared by the team headed by an associate of a very renowned chef.

The boys took pity on us and whenever required they brought us food from a vendor selling paratha and omelette after 9 in the night. But she also would not cook eggs on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. So most days it was only parathas, very greasy and thick ones. But as they say beggars are no choosers so we had to survive on that on most days.

That night when I first ordered the paratha was on some no egg day so after receiving my newspaper wrapped pack of parathas I inquired the boy about the curry. I was just one month in that hostel and had no idea how things work around there. He was totally clueless and mumbled the whole story how they make omelettes but today there was none etc etc and even offered to share some achaar from his stash. I was famished and fuming after a very hectic day with almost no lunch. I came back to the room and unwrapped the parathas. my roommate also got some through another classmate and she and her friends were having it just from that newspaper with some bhujiya. I served the parathas myself on a plate and was wondering at the huge size of it. The parathas were as bad in taste as it was in looks but the saving grace was the pickle. A gajar gobi Shalgum pickle with loads of whole garlic and bits of Lemon. I still kick myself for not having asked him or rather his mother for the recipe. But it was delicious beyond measure. I only know how many times I have got a share of this pickle from him.

So finally when I got married and started cooking on a daily basis I felt the need of developing the recipe. The usual Punjabi style gajar gobi pickle with gur/jaggery is not the same this one has no sweetness rather a sharp tang from the vinegar marinated veggies and lemons. Hope you would love them as much as my immediate and extended family love this one.

Gajar Gobi Shalgam ka Achaar

Red Carrot: 2 medium ones
Shalgum: 2 small ones
Cauliflower: half of a medium one
Green chillies: 12-14
Lemon: 2
Fresh peas: handful
Garlic: 2 heads (use the indigenous variety with small cloves)
Garlic paste: 2 tsp (freshly made)
Ginger Paste: 2 tsp Freshly made
Split Rai or mustrad: 1 tbsp
Split fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp
Chili powder: 1/2 tsp
Vinegar: 3/4 cup
Salt: as per taste
Turmeirc powder: 1/2 tsp
Mustard Oil: 1 cup
sugar: 1/2 tsp

Clean and chop the chillies in small pieces and place in that bowl. Wash, dry and cut the lemon in small pieces (1 lemon in 20 cubes or so) and place in that bowl along with the fresh peas. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 cup vinegar. Keep this covered overnight.
In another non reactive bowl soak the garlics in 1/4 cup vinegar, chili powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Keep overnight.

Cut the cauliflower, carrots, shalgum in thick batons. Bring a big potful of water to boil with some salt and blanch the veggies for a minute and place them on a kitchen towel. Dry them over night.

Next day heat the oil to smoking and then put the flame on low. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook with some salt till the raw smell is gone (5 mins). Now add the garlic, chili powder and vinegar and cook for 2 minutes. Add the dried veggies and the vinegar marinated chili and lemon. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes. Adjust the salt and if you like spicy then add more green chilies or chili powder.

Finally add the split mustard, split fenugreek and mix. Cook for 1 more minute and then switch off the flame. Let it stand till it comes to room temperature. Cover with a paper, not with a lid.

Store in clean sterilized glass jars.
I prefer to keep the pickle 3 days in the sun, the taste matures with time.

A Homemaker's Notes:
Water ruins pickles, make sure all your utensils, cutting devices, jars are clean and dry.

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