UNRIPE mangoes have an irresistible allure in the summers. Be it aam ka panna, the traditional thirst-quencher or the chutney paired with mint and green coriander the aperitif and accompaniment are trustworthy aides commonly encountered to ward off dreaded heatstroke.
It is the main course prepared with ambiya that is an almost extinct recipe. We recall the flavourful aam ka kaliya we were served long ago in Lucknow and the slightly tangy kairi ki daal that our friend Muhammad Farouk cooked so well but we digress. Little did we know that in rural Rajasthan kairi ki sabzi is regularly cooked in summer. It's refreshing, quickly fixed and is recommended for its cooling properties. Do try it at least once as the mercury shoots up!
Kairi ki sabzi
Unripe mangoes 500 g
Garlic paste 1 tsp
Haldi powder ½ tsp
Dhaniya powder 1-1/2
Kalaunji seeds 1 tsp
Lal mirch powder (optional) ½ tsp
Gur 100 g
Oil 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Wash the mangoes well and cut in small pieces-smaller than you would for preparing pickle. Heat oil in a pan and when it reaches smoking point reduce flame to medium and put in the kalaunji seeds followed by the mango pieces after a few seconds. Now add the garlic paste — stir well and put in the powdered spices, along with the salt dissolved in half a cup of water. Grate or crumble the gur and sprinkle all over, stir to blend and cook till gurh melts to drape the mango pieces lightly in a sauce-like "gravy" and the mangoes are done but retain a bite. Kairi in this avatar is equally enjoyable hot or cold — we mean at room temperature with roti, parantha or steamed rice and maybe a bowl of dahi.
The dish has a strong visual resemblance with the Gujarati gur-kairi pickle but make no mistake belongs decidedly to the sabzi baradri.