May 23, 2012

Murrabo - Mango Marmalade

Its a sweltering hot day today in Houston. It brings back vivid memories of the summer back home in India. Every summer, my mom and Baa (grandma) would be super busy making 'Athaanu' or pickles of various kinds- some sweet like Khaman, Gor keri, Murrabo and many spicy ones like Marwari keri, Pachranga etc. 

Given the elaborate and time consuming process, almost the entire family was in-charge of some step. Baa would peel the raw mangoes, while Mom would cut the mangoes and slather salt-turmeric or other spices on the mango pieces. My sister and I were in-charge of the most mundane bit - placing each mango piece cut side up on large piece of cloth in the sun. Ofcourse, we placed a couple of pieces (or more!) into our mouths! As the sunlight moved through various parts of the house, the pickled mangoes followed. The entire house would smell of fragrant spices and mangoes. If it rained (as it often does in Kolkata, after a few hot-humid days), everyone would run helter-skelter, trying to save the pickled mangoes from the rain. Ah...wonderful days!

The same fragrant flavors filled my kitchen as I made 'keri no murrabo', or mango marmalade. It is a fairly simple recipe that is made on a stovetop, and not under the sun! Here it goes -

Raw mangoes - 2 medium sized
Sugar - about 2 cups
Kesar/ saffron - few strands.
Cardamom seeds - 10-12 seeds(2-3 pods)
Cinnamon - 2-4 pieces, 1" long
Cloves - 3-4

Mango pieces in simmering water
  • Peel mangoes, and cut flesh into 1 inch pieces. Discard the pits. Add to simmering water. Once mango pieces are transclucent, strain water. (You can reserve this water for refreshing mango panna.)
    Translucent mango pieces in a strainer
  • Chaashni/ Sugar syrup - Add sugar in a medium saucepan. Add water just enough to cover the sugar, less than a cup. Heat till sugar dissolves into syrup. Continue to cook on low heat till the syrup thickens. Check for two string consistency by taking a drop of syrup on your thumb (Carefully, the syrup will be hot), and pressing your forefinger on that drop. Once you move the forefinger away repeatedly, you'll see 'strings' form, as the syrup sticks to the thumb and forefinger. The syrup is done when you see two strings form.

Chaashni/ sugar syrup
  • Add the mango pieces into the chaashni. Continue to cook on low heat, stirring gently till the syrup thickens again to almost honey like consistency (~30-35 minutes).
Mango in sugar syrup
  • Turn off heat. Add saffron, cardamom, cinnamon sticks & cloves.
  • Let it stay in the sauce pan overnight - to cool completely. It will thicken further as it cools. The saffron turns the syrup into a lovely amber colour.
Murrabo/ mango marmalade
  • Pour in a medium sized sterilized glass jar. I used two smaller jars. Store in a cool dry place. There is no need for refrigeration, it has a long shelf life of about a year! Its so delicious, I bet it wont last that long. 
Keri no Murrabo
  • It is great with thepla, parathas or even on slice of toast! Enjoy!
Bon Apetit!
Hetal from Houston

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