I made this ‘Amtekai Gojju’ a couple of weeks ago and ate it almost every single day for over a week. When it finally got over I started craving for it so badly that I decided to make another batch. That is when I thought I must blog the recipe.
‘Amtekai’ or ‘Ambate’ as we call it in Havyaka is one of the much-loved fruits from my childhood. Amtekai, known as ‘Hog Plum’ in English is a crisp, sour fruit. Throughout Coastal Karnataka people love this fruit for it’s tangy taste. It is used as a souring agent and much more in our cooking.
Amtekai or Indian Hog plums are part of the genus Spondias and are related to the family Anacardiaceae. This fruit is green and looks almost like a tiny little green mango. They have a slightly elongated shape with a large pit inside. The pit itself is soft and edible when the fruit is tender making it a delicious snack. When the fruit matures fully, the pit gets hard and fibrous and is no longer edible. They are sweet, slightly juicy but still pretty sour when they get soft and ripe. Hog Plums taste very different from mangoes and its unique taste will never be forgotten by anybody who tastes it once.
Most people from my region have a Hog Plum tree in their backyard. Our farm had a huge tree under which as kids we had spent several hot summer afternoons hunting for these tiny delights. We would take along a small pack of salt and chili powder and eat these tender crunchy hog plums right then and there. Finding the occasional ripe fruit was always celebrated. To this day it remains to be one of my favorite fruits. Tender hog plum pickle is very famous and during the pickling season of summer, you will find a lot of street carts and farmers markets selling them. It’s impossible to find the ripe ones in the market though.
Other than pickles, hog plums are traditionally used in a lot of recipes. They are used in coconut chutneys, cooked along with other vegetables in coconut and buttermilk based curries and made into ‘saaru’ or mild clear soup with herbs and spices. My mom always made this particular ‘Gojju’ with Hog Plums.
Gojju or Gojji is a traditional South Indian accompaniment, a relish served along with your main rice and curry meal. It’s often sweet and spicy, tangy and spicy or all of it together! Flavours in a Gojju are always pretty strong as just a spoonful of it is enough to perk up a really boring meal. It almost works like a pickle. It’s easy and simple to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for over a week. Mine never really lasts that long though.
Considering how much I enjoy this Gojju, I am very happy to know that it’s very healthy too. Hog Plums are very high in Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron! These are actually the main nutrients I need for my body during third trimester of my pregnancy! Isn’t that a win-win situation? That makes it the perfect reason for me to make some more Amtekai Gojju when I finish the current bottle.
If you can get your hands on Hog Plums, this is a must try recipe. You can make a similar gojju with green mangos too. This gojju is sure to tickle your taste buds!
- 250 grams of Hog Plums
- 3-4 tbsp jaggery powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 2-3 finely chopped green chilies
Clean the Hog Plums well. Place them in a pan with a cup of water and cook till soft. I used a pressure cooker to make this faster.
Let it cool completely after it’s cooked. Get all the pulp out of them by squeezing them with your fingers to leave just the pit behind.
Transfer the pulp into a bowl. Add salt and jaggery and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
For the tempering, heat the oil in a small pan. Add the finely chopped garlic and let it fry till it’s light golden brown. Now add the finely chopped green chilies and fry for a couple of seconds more. Pour the tempering over the Hog Plum pulp.
Serve immediately or store in a clean airtight jar and refrigerate for up to a week.