Stealing happiness!

Suddenly reminded of one long ago summer, when my grandmother had made a large amount of tamarind pickle(tnetuler achar) with jaggery. We usually descended on that peaceful rural home like a bunch of tail-less monkeys and filled the afternoons with laughter and chatter. Someone, I cannot remember who it was, found the jars on the top roof, gently and sedately sunbaking like a group of matryoshkas. Needless to say, the contents of one jar were immediately examined and pronounced ready-ish! We finished that jar over the next month. We would all sit on the steps after getting a handful of pickle and lick it with great relish. There was a window that faced the stairs and we took great pride in spitting the seeds out between the bars. After we left, considerably pleased at being undetected, the rains came in July. Within a week, all over the garden, were popping up little greeny fernleaved seedlings, with the first cotyledons held high like fussy prima donnas at a buffet. My grandmother was furious when she realised what had happened, but she started laughing when she attempted to lecture us on the evils of greed and theft!

Her recipe written down as per her dictation:

100 gms of ripe tamarind seeds and all
200 gm jaggery/gur
Teaspoon of chilli powder and panchphoran toasted
100 ml of mustard oil
salt to taste

mix all, put in a clean glass jar, leave in hot sun for a month, watch that there are no grandchildren around. Voila! ready to eat!


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