Goan Ambadyachi Karam (in Konkani) or Hogplum Chutney is one of the popular condiments that you always find on festive Hindu menus in Goa, whether it is Ganesh Chaturthi or Diwali. It brings together the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and tangy flavors everyone loves through a traditional recipe handed down from elders in the family.
The best part of week is the time spent at the local market picking the veggies to cook with. Like these delicious tender hogplums (ambade in Konkani)- a sour fruit with a dense net-like centre that you eat the flesh off after peeling the green skin. The seed is always discarded. We use it a lot in Goa – in curries & chutneys paired with some heat and sweetness. The mature fruit has a leathery skin and a thin layer of pulp and is very popular in India and tropical Asia. Every time I have family visiting from Goa a bagful of these come to me, luckily they freeze well so I can use them for a while. They are also added to prawn curries ( similar to this one – just replace the radish with the hog plums).
Every Hindu family in Goa will make versions of this Ambadyachi Karam (hog plum chutney) on key festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali. This versatile condiment (along with other spicier pickles) completes festive meals. It is so important to have some of these traditions (in the form of handed down recipes) maintained and cherished.
The process to make it is rather simple. You need to peel the green outer skin of the hog plums. While you can use the peeled fruits directly in curries, you can also take it a step further and crush them lightly with a pestle so that the spices are absorbed well when cooked. This helps add more of a sour taste through the curry that is absolutely lip smacking. The combination of small drey red chillies and the Kashmiri variety helps bring both color and heat to the dish. That vibrant orange color is essential to the true success of creating this recipe successfully. Once the plums are cooked in the jaggery they develop a lovely jammy consistency thats truly unique.
Through all the times I have spent away from home, whether it is just every day life or special festive occasions, I have found that being able to recreate traditional recipes like this one goes a long way in making you stay connected to life back home. Even if you have absolutely no connection to Goa, this still is a lovely condiment to add to your cooking repertoire. If for some reason you aren’t able to find hog plums in your local Asian store (which I really hope you do), the closest results you could achieve would be to replace the hog plums with raw mango. Savour it with rotis or steamed rice and you’ll find the sweet, spicy and sour flavors rather memorable.
- 10 pcs Hogplums
- 1 cup grated coconut fresh
- 3/4 cup grated jaggery
- 2 pcs dry red chillies small
- 2 pcs Kashmiri dry red chillies long
- 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1.5 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 pinch asafetida heeng
- 5 black peppercorns crushed
- 1/4-1/2 cup hot water
Peel the hog plums and crush lightly with a pestle so that the spices are absorbed well when cooked.
Grind the fresh grated coconut coarsely with the red chilies, turmeric powder and the water.
In a pan, temper together the mustard seeds, asafoetida, crushed peppercorns. Add the hog plums and let them lightly change color (for about 30 seconds)
Add the ground coconut paste, salt and the jaggery. Cover and cook together until the hog plums are tender. Most of the excess water will evaporate leaving you with a thick chutney like consistency.