What’s a Punjabi without paranthas? There are paranthas made of leftover dal for breakfast, aloo paranthas made for lunch and plain paranthas made to go with the masala mutton at night. And what stays constant in all these paranthas are the spices used.
Ammiji makes her own special blend of parantha masala. Having a masala ready saves times when you’re mixing the stuffing for paranthas and perks up plain namak-ajwain paranthas too. That’s what Ammiji says and we take her word as gospel.
The spices and herbs for this special masala are individually sun-dried and then ground coarsely. The end result is fragrant and will elevate your paranthas to that irresistible level.
How to Use: Add to the stuffing for stuffed paranthas. Knead into dough for dal or methi paranthas. Sprinkle while folding plain paranthas. Top tandoori rotis with this masala too!
Ingredients: Coriander, Cumin, Caraway, Fenugreek, Black Pepper, Red Chilli, Dry Mango, Dry Ginger, Pomegranate seeds, Clove, Mace, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Salt.
Contains no onion or garlic. This masala is ground at home, using premium spices. Contains salt, so check before adding more.
Weight: 175 gms
Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
Good for: 6 months.
They say that the Bengalis have a chutney for every season. But for the post monsoon season, when the mangoes have faded away, raw papaya shines in the chutney section of the Bengali meal. Crisp raw papaya is cooked till it becomes transparent – and some call it the “Plastic Chutney” for just this reason. We prefer to call it the Pepe Chutney. “Pepe” is Bengali for papaya.
The unpretentious Plastic Chutney was elevated to a royal level when a prominent hospitality chain started serving it in their opulent Indian restaurant. We’ve taken that recipe, added our own saffron-flavored twist to it, and come up with a deliciously luxuriant version that no one will believe is made from the humble papaya.
When Ammiji tasted this chutney (yes, the recipe is not hers but she will vet anything that goes out in her name) she closed her eyes and then opened them hurriedly before we caught her at it. Of course, we didn’t miss the expression of satisfaction on her face but declined to comment on it. “Is it good?” we asked. She pretended to think for a bit. We waited on feigned tenterhooks. “Theek hai,” she finally said, which in her language meant that it was wholeheartedly approved. She kept the jar in her kitchen, pretending that it was an ordinary thing to do. We knew then that what we had in this chutney was pure love.
This sweet chutney is flavored strongly with nigella seeds and saffron, and it has added raisins for texture play. It goes well with all your meals – with paranthas, with dal chawal, even atop crackers with feta cheese! (The aforementioned restaurant served it with rich Awadhi biryanis and curries!)
We bet you – one spoonful of this chutney will definitely not be enough.
Ingredients: Raw Papaya, Raisins, Sugar, Himalayan pink salt, Lemon Juice, Red chilli, Cumin, Nigella seeds, Aniseed, Saffron
Weight: 150 gms
Good for: 3 months when refrigerated
Usage: Store in Refrigerator.
When you think about ‘sherbets’, we bet your childhood comes to mind – long, sultry summer afternoons where the only way to beat the incessant heat was by drinking a tall glass of an iced, homemade drink made by a mother or a grandmother. Whether it smelled of roses or was tangy with the zing of citrus, if something could be turned into a cooler, our families invariably did it during the unbearable Indian summer. Long before there were colas in the market, there were sherbets at home.
For a month or so, every summer, before the pre-monsoon hits North India, the early morning calm is eerily shattered by sharp calls of “Kaaley kaaley phaalsey! Khattey meethey phaalsey!” We rush to our balconies and haggle over the seemingly astronomical price of these tiny bombs of tangy flavor. And then we get the small paper bag of berries, add in some rock salt and proceed to demolish the entire hoard in one sitting – that’s how addictive their taste is. The salt complements the intriguing taste of the berries – and that’s exactly what we’ve replicated in this khatta-meetha Phaalsa Sherbet from Ammiji’s.
Cooked over slow flame for a minimum of 10 hours, this sherbet has the distinctive taste of phaalsa, sweetened with sugar and then amplified by the addition of black salt, ginger and cumin. All you have to do is to pour out a generous amount in a glass, add cold water and ice, and drink up and taste the summer.
This sherbet contains no preservatives and no additives. It is available for a limited time only.
Every year, when the month of April commenced, Ammiji would get a determined gleam in her eye. The entire family knew what it meant – some of them groaned aloud at it, others smacked their lips at it. We all knew that there would be raw mangoes piled up on Ammiji’s verandah soon, and all of us would be roped in to perform some task or the other. Ammiji would, for a short time, turn into an army general, throwing out terse commands, shooting dirty glares, flitting about from one corner of the verandah to the other, ensuring everything was going smoothly. The air would fill with the smell of raw, unripe mangoes, mustard oil and myriad spices. The air would also fill with gossip, laughter, teasing and chatter. It was the time for mango pickling, and joy was thrown up into the air, caught in a jar, and then sunned till it spilled out – sour, spicy, deliciously delightful.
We’ve all had mothers, grandmothers or aunts who’ve made exceptional mango pickle. We’ve been spoiled by the mango pickle accompanying us to school and picnics, wrapped lovingly in paranthas. So now, plain ol’ commercialized mango pickle just doesn’t match up to the taste of our childhood. But Ammiji’s mango pickle, or Amb da Achaar as she calls it, promises to bring those halcyon days back!
Ammiji’s amb da achaar is a typically classic Punjabi recipe. But because of its simplicity, it’s a pickle that you can eat the year around. This is the same recipe that the dhaba waalas used in the Amritsar of yore, and the same one that was made in every home, every summer. This pickle tastes like summer, and like Indian highways, and like tiffin at school.
Go on – bring back your childhood.
Ingredients: Mango, Salt, Turmeric, Red Chilli, Fenugreek seeds, Fennel seeds, Nigella seeds, Asafoetida, Mustard Oil.
Weight: 265 gm
The king of all pickles, they say. We agree. Or at least, the non-vegetarian in us agrees! Boneless chicken chunks and mince, pickled with the choicest spices.
A couple of us - Ammiji’s grandchildren - were in boarding school. When we returned home in the long winter break, it was as skinny, malnutritioned shadows of our robust Punjabi selves. Ammiji did her best to fatten us up during the vacations – paranthas laden with butter, lassi, halwas and thick, nutritious gravies were a daily treat. And then when it was time to go back to the boarding school, she sent us off with love, admonishments, instructions and a humungous jar of her classic chicken pickle. “If you don’t like what they serve in the dining room, just eat this pickle with roti or rice,” she’d tell us. We never told her that her huge jar of pickle was wiped clean in under a week – our friends loved it as much as we did! (Some people befriended us just to lay hands on that pickle, but that’s another story…)
So, of course, we just had to do Ammiji’s Punjabi Chicken Pickle! When we asked Ammiji to give us her recipe, she feigned amnesia. And then she was affronted when we called her out on it. “I’ve NEVER shared this recipe with anyone; I didn’t even tell my sisters when they asked for it. And now you want me to tell you all my secrets?” But then we reminded her of the joy she’d be bringing to so many people, and she relented with a sniff and a gruff “Theek hai pher!”
Ammiji’s secret was in making the pickle like you would a curry. The oil was turned into a thick gravy with the addition of ground spices and chicken mince. And we’ve followed the same process. There are boneless bite-sized chicken pieces, chicken mince and spices, all preserved in cold-pressed mustard oil. Balancing the flavours in this pickle took us a few months, but it was worth the wait! (And truth to tell, we loved sampling all the various samples during these months :D)
This pickle acts as a side to your meals or you can take a leaf out of our book – turn it into the main meal itself! It’s also perfect road trip material. Cold, thin paranthas with Ammiji’s Punjabi Chicken Pickle….mmm, heaven!
If you’re a non-vegetarian, then this pickle is what you need in your life to make it complete. That might sound dramatic, but trust us, we speak from years of eating this pickle! ;)
Please note: There are no preservatives in this pickle.
Ingredients: Boneless chicken, Salt, Turmeric, Green Chilli, Red Chilli, Black Pepper, Cinnamom, Clove, Mustard seeds, Nigella seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Fennel, Aniseed, Pipli, Corainder, Cumin, Dried mango powder, Cold-pressed Mustard oil.
Weight: 275 gms
Price: Rs 800 700
Good for: 3 months
Refrigerate after opening.
The season of joy. When the mornings are as crisp and golden as apples and the evenings twinkle and smile through the haze. When festivals and special occasions are just an excuse for indulgence and happiness. When the cool nip in the air demands warming from the inside. And when the sweetness of life is reciprocated by the sweetness on your plate.
The season of joy is the season of ladoos. And not just ordinary ladoos, but Ammiji’s homemade ladoos, with the goodness of unprocessed, natural sweeteners and pure fragrant desi ghee. Ammiji’s ladoos are a throwback to a time when living was slow and pleasures small. They’re evocative of the perfume of autumn and of the nostalgia of your childhood.
Ragi or Finger Millet is one of our ancient Indian grains, used extensively for cooking in South India. It’s a rich source of calcium and protein and is full of anti-oxidants. At Ammiji’s, we believe wholeheartedly in the goodness of our indigenous grains, and these specially created Ragi Til ladoos are our first foray into exploring millets.
Ammiji’s Ragi Til ladoos contain no additive or filler – they’re pure ragi flour, roasted with desi ghee and then combined with organic jaggery. Bits of almonds, gond and kamarkas are added along with the super-nutritious sesame seeds to make these spheres of sheer goodness. They’re crunchy and delicious, yes, but they’re also immensely good for you. And when it’s the season of indulgence, you have to be sure that it’s not only empty calories that you’re consuming!
Ammiji’s Ragi Til ladoos make the perfect, guilt-free sweet treats during the festive season and beyond it too. They come packaged in a bright box, making them perfect for that special gift for your loved ones. And you can be sure that each ladoo inside that box is shaped with love and packed with care. Ammiji’s ladoos will be the perfect post-meal treat, anytime indulgence, or the special occasion bhog.
Ingredients: Ragi Flour, White Sesame, Desi Ghee, Jaggery, Almonds, Edible Gum, Flame of the Forest
Good For: 1 month
Net Weight: 500 gms
Ammiji’s Rasbhari Chutney
Big, fat, golden rasbharis, made into a sweet-sour-spicy chutney. Because jams are passé and chutneys are here to stay.
Spring was the season that Ammiji’s garden burst into bloom. It was also the season that big cane baskets of ripe Cape Gooseberries arrived in Ammiji’s verandah. Before neat bunches of peeled Rasbhari appeared on fruit carts, the fruit was delivered with the peels on. And wouldn’t you guess it – it was the job of us kids to peel them. Ammiji’s strict instructions about not bruising them while peeling fell to deaf ears. And there was no question of bruising – we ate all the rasbharis that were even slightly marked during the peeling. (We also ate a lot that were perfectly fine, but we don’t tell that to Ammiji.)
Once the rasbharis were peeled, Ammiji placed them in small bowls around the house – to be eaten as is. But she reserved a large amount of them to make one of her favourite chutneys. Ammiji’s Rasbhari Chutney lasted us throughout the early summer. We would sit in front of the cooler, and eat the chutney with thin, cold ajwain paranthas and the season’s first melons.
For us, the Rasbhari Chutney is not just another chutney – it is nostalgia and emotion and memory in a jar. It is a grandmother’s passion for giving her children and grandchildren the best that she could, with whatever resources she laid her hands on. And we hope to replicate her passion with this chutney.
Ammiji’s recipe for her Rasbhari Chutney not only has the super nutritious cape gooseberries, but also incorporates raw turmeric, bolstered by cumin and black pepper. Each spoon of this chutney will not only provide you with deliciousness, but with the good intentions of a grandmother’s heart.
Pair this chutney with anything that your heart desires. We promise that it will taste good on any plate that you want to put it on!
Ingredients: Cape gooseberries, Salt, Jaggery, Sugar, Lemon, Cumin, Cinnamon, Fenugreek seeds, Bay leaves, Raw turmeric, Black pepper, Mustard Oil
Weight: 200 gm
Price: Rs 500 400
Good for: 3 months
Keep this chutney refrigerated. Use only a clean, dry spoon to scoop out Ammiji’s deliciousness.
The fragrance of an ordinary home in the south of India, encapsulated in a jar…
“We Punjabis, we can cook a brilliant dal. But no matter what we do, we can’t transform it the way a South Indian will make sambar,” Ammiji used to say whenever she ate sambar.
We take Ammiji’s word as gospel. And that’s why we took the help of a dear friend, a seasoned South-Indian home-chef, when we were working on this recipe. Because who would know the secrets of the perfect sambar better than a person who cooks it everyday?
Ammiji’s Sambar Masala is a beautiful blend of premium spices, spiked liberally with home-dried coconut and garlic. It’ll make you swoon over the sambar that comes out of your kitchen. It’ll remind you of coconut groves, of streets lined with tropical trees and of carts presided over by bossy, matronly women who serve homemade thatte idli and sambar with the same panache that they serve advice on your love life.
As with all our products, this masala contains only premium, hand-sorted spices. It also contains garlic and coconut that we grind and sun-dry ourselves. So it’s best to keep the jar refrigerated to extend the shelf life of the masala.
To use: For every cup of dal, use about 1-1 ½ tbsp of the masala.
Ingredients: Red Chilli, Cumin, Fenugreek, Black Pepper, Mustard seeds, Coriander seeds, Garlic, Coconut, Salt
Weight: 150 gm
Price: Rs 500 400
Good For: 6 months.
Contains no preservatives. Please keep refrigerated for a longer shelf life. Always use a clean, dry spoon.
Take a trip down any Punjab highway in the winters and you’ll see swathes of tiny yellow flowers waving happily in the sun. This image of mustard fields that a movie made famous is synonymous with romance now, but it has meant much, much more to us Punjabis. It’s meant renewal, prosperity, hope and faith in the circle of life.
Bright afternoon sunlight, gently undulating mustard fields set against eucalyptus groves, the smell of the earth – we’ve tried to capture the very essence of a Punjabi winter in this small jar.
At the close of every winter, Ammiji used to buy a huge quantity of Sarson ka Saag. She used to make half of it into the now famous saag recipe and the rest was reserved for this pickle. The pickle was made slowly, lovingly, and was put away till she started missing her favorite greens in the summer months. We’ve used her recipe and we’ve attempted to replicate her love with this pickle.
Mustard stalks and leaves and coarsely torn and pickled in mustard oil and a unique blend of spices. The pickle turns sour in a few weeks and after that, it’s sheer bliss.
Ingredients: Mustard greens, Salt, Turmeric, Red Chilli, Pipli, Mustard seeds, Nigella seeds, Coriander, Cumin, Fenugreek, Garam Masala, Mustard Oil.
Weight: 175 gm
Good for 6 months
Refrigerate for longer shelf life
Please note: This is a limited edition seasonal item, and we only have a few jars available. The next batch of this pickle will only be made in the winters. Get your jar now!