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008 Dadi and Gunde ka Achar (Pickle Series # 1)

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Delicious plump berries. As a child, I absolutely loved my dadi’s Gunde ka Achaar. Unlike most grandmothers of her generation, her culinary prowess was highly questionable, but every summer, she would religiously make the most delicious Gunde ka Achaar. The berries would be steeped in oil and masala and stored in large ceramic containers that would last the family the entire year.

On the dining table in Sujata a glass bottle held a smaller quantity of the achaar to be consumed with family meals. My dadi would carefully remove one berry with a special small spoon that had long holes (for the oil to seep through), and place it on her steel thali. There it would wait next to the kakkadi (cucumbers) coated with freshly ground and roasted jeera and salt.

I would beg my dadi and my father for the berries. Then I would do the most sacrilegious thing with this achaar - I would wash the berry under the tap before eating it!

As a child, I hated anything spicy. My attraction to the gunda was its texture and inherent sourness. The berry had a stiff cap similar to a construction workers’ hard hat. I would first remove this cap, and then slowly bite into its luscious plump skin. The treasure for me was the velvety pit, the size of a cherry seed inside, that was covered in a off-white jelly like substance. I would keep this pit in my mouth for many minutes at a time, slowly relishing its soft furry texture, and the remnants of oil, laal mirchi powder, and salt.

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