Is this snow in the box? Sea salt to make the brine.
Updated 16th July 07
Shilpa of Aayi's recipes and Mamta are the winners of this guess. It is Ambada in Marathi, ambado in Konkani and amtekayi in kannada. Thank you all for your responses. Hope you enjoyed it!
Ambada is a fruit with a hard skin and fibrous inside. It is very sour when raw and cannot be bit into dirrectly. If one does try the sensitivity of the teeth is lost temporarily. This is however a good fruit to pickle just like raw mango. The most favorite way to preserve it though is with plain sea salt. After a week you get shrivelled ambada in brine. This preserved ambada is then used as an accompaniment with meals like a pickle.
In its raw form it is used as a souring agent like Shilpa mentioned in dals and curries. It livens up even the most mundane curries and takes them to new heights. If eaten too much it induces sleep.
When I saw these Ambada in a heap in the market I had to buy them. It reminded me of Thal where they are just dumped into huge earthen pots called Ranjun (remember Alladin and the forty theives) filled with salt and allowed to hibernate there all the year long till they are removed for eating. In Thal every household has a story of the kids trying to steal the Ambada in brine and in the attempt falling into the Ranjun.
1/4 kg ambada
1/2 cup salt
Just mix together and fill into a jar. Through the week just shake up a bit to make sure the fruit does not spoil. Once the brine is formed it will preserve well. When the fruit is shrivelled and discolored to a pale green it is ready to eat.
Serve as a pickle Or use to make your curries tangy like Mamta mentioned. The taste is its own and not to compare with mango. It will hook up all ladies especially the ones with a good news ;). Right now I am surrounded by three such ladies who keep asking for tangy things!