The Chronicles of Indian Berry (Ber | Koli | Kuler) and Indian Berry Pickle (Koli Achara| Kuler Achar| Ber Ka Achar)



This post is dedicated to all my Odia and Bengali friends and to the Special Lady – The Ber Wali (Lady who sells the Indian Berry) at the gate of Pench Tiger Reserve in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh because of whom this post could not have been possible . She sells her product with a slogan –“ Jo Khae Ber, Use Dikhe Sher” .  (It means, if you eat her berries, you will see Tiger :D )

Now that I am a big foodie is not unknown to you. Food keeps me cheerful. Good Food keeps my spirit high and Simple Healthy Food is the fuel on which my Passion and Food Blog has been running since more than 5 years now.

Let me start with some background. This fruit “Ber” (in double quotes) which belongs to the berry family is undoubtedly the king of all Berries for people in Odisha, West Bengal , Madhya Pradesh and Assam. Popular as Koli in Odisha , Kuler in West Bengal, Ber in Hindi and Bogoree in Assam is scientifally known as Ziziphus jujuba . We do get this fruit in other parts on the country. However, this special variety grows in certain parts of the country only because of the specific weather condition required. We call it the Desi Variety.

Born in Rourkela, The steel city of Odisha, where you can find a “ Beri Ka Ped” in every home, we are very much familiar to the fruit and the tree.. You eat the fruit and throw the seed and a new plant will grow in a new spot. That is how accustomed we are to it.

When I think of Ber, I automatically travel through the time to the days I used to return from school and pick up the ber which had fallen on the ground. Would wash them immediately and have a few even before I changed or had my lunch. Those were the days when I used guard the tree the entire afternoon and get very possessive about the ber from being given to anybody else. The tree belonged to me and the fruits belonged to me. I watered it , though, I doubt how it affected its growth and played under it. I use to throw the stones and try to target the ber I wanted to eat and sometimes take a long stick and give a quick shiver to the branches so some of the ripe ones would fall off. I would then collect it and enjoy with salt and red chili. Then when most of the ber would ripen, I used to collect them all and give it to my mother to make pickle for us so we can consume it throughout the year. There are numerous precious memories attached to it and I am pretty sure one who is familiar with the fruit has a separate but similar story to narrate.

Now, it had been really years since I shifted to Pune and My Parents changed place, We didn’t get that good variety of Desi Ber and My Mother stopped making pickle anymore. We don’t get this variety in Pune as well. Therefore, every time I saw those Chinese Ber at super market, I used to travel down the memory lane I just narrated above and craved for the real ones. It had been almost a decade and I had almost lost hope and given up that I would ever taste Ber or Ber ka achar again in life. But like they say, if you like or want something deeply from heart, the entire universe helps you to achieve it, a miracle happened in my life as well. Recently, during one of my Wildlife expedition, I was standing at the gate of Pench Tiger Reserve just before the afternoon safari when a lady from the nearby village carrying a basket full of treated ber passed by. She was selling her product with a slogan –“ Jo Khae Shabri ke Ber, Use Dikhe Sher”. At first, I found it very hilarious. I was skeptical to buy road side Ber from her. But they were too tempting for me to stop Myself. I went near her and bought one. I tasted. They were really really awesome. She had boiled them with Jaggery and little tamarind and sprinkled salt just before serving. Next day, I had two. I was on cloud nine because I was having the same ber after almost 10 years and it tasted exactly like how my mom prepared without the pickling spices.





I came back to Pune. Still I had the craving.I regretted for having so less and thought I should have really over eaten.It was then I realized why didn’t I buy some and get it home. I knew I was travelling again after couple of months. This time I had to be prepared. I asked our Gypsy Driver if she would still be selling it. Since, the answer was positive, I carried a big empty jar with me and this time I asked her to fill the entire box with her delicious berry. After returning back to Pune, I was all set to make my favourite Ber Ka Achara or Indian Berry Pickle.

Happy Me after buying Ber

Super Excited


I called my mother and got the recipe quickly from her. The Ber lady had already done the hard part for me of breaking the ber, drying in sun and cooking in jaggery and tamaring water.
Hence, I just had to make the pickle powder and temper it little smoked mustard oil and tada…my berry pickle was ready to be eaten for the rest of the year. Don’t get jealous friends. I was really really craving for it and I feel hallowed to have a pickle sitting on my kitchen counter today of which I am extremely proud.

If you want to have it, you are most welcome to my home.  I have never written so much for any blog spot. So you can imagine my level of enthusiasm and how excited I am to share with you all the recipe for the same.

Now for the Recipe of The Koli Achara or Kuler Achar or Ber Ka Achar

1 jar full of Indian Berry, break them slightly and sun dry them.
Take handful of jaggery and tamarind and little water. Boil the dried up Indian Berry for 5 to 6 minutes.
Let it cool down completely. This is how it will look and this is what I purchased from Seoni for Rs 100 only.


Now take fennel seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chili powder and Cumin seeds. Dry roast and powder them.



Add it to the cooked Indian Berry, salt to taste and mix every thing well. A little salt to would . Don’t add too much.


Now take 4 to 5 tsp of mustard oil and heat it till smoking point. Add a tea spoon of hing and let it cool down. When the oil is still luke warm, add it to the pickles berry and mix well.


Your Pickle is ready to be consumed. Store in sterilized glass jar and enjoy your Summer Afternoon Meal with Rice and Dal.





6 comments:

  1. Yummmmmmmmmmmm you took me down memory lane with tales of ber and rourkela!

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    1. Thank you Amrita for dropping by and leaving a comment

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  2. Your post brings back a lot of emotions..especially related to my childhood...Thanks for this awesome share

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Alka for dropping by and leaving a comment

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  3. luved the way u described the ber and the berwali :-)

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