Karonda,the pickle berry is known by many names…krishnapakphal,Natal plum, karanda,karauda,karaunda,Bengal currant,karamcha and conkerberry.The berry is green and sour when unripe and turns red and sweet as it ripens.
Karonda,the wonder fruit has been used for its medicinal properties.The fruit is rich in Vitamin C and has antiscorbutic(effective in prevention or relief of scurvy) properties.It is rich in Iron and is used for treatment of anaemia.It also has anti microbial and anti fungal properties.Traditionally karonda juice was used to clean old wounds which have become infected.It has been used for treatment of anorexia and also has analgesic and anti inflammatory properties.Recent research suggests that Karonda helps in lowering cholesterol levels too.
Karonda is widely used in preparation of jams,jellies,pickles,chutney,relish,squash,syrups and tarts. Today, I am sharing the recipe of a yummy Sweet lonji made from Karonda which I learnt from my mother in law. And for all those chilli lovers out there, I may add that there is a spicier version of this lonji made from karonda and green chillies which I shall share later.;)
Karonda 250 gms
Cumin seeds/jeera 1/2 tsp
Kalonji seeds/Nigella sativa 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida a pinch
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Dry coriander seeds powder 1 tsp
Saunf/fennel seeds (coarsely powdered) 1 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar 2-3 table spoon
Oil 2 tablespoon
Wash karonda and let it dry.Cut into longitudinal halves and deseed karonda.Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan.Add cumin seeds and nigella seeds to it.Allow them to splutter.Add Asafoetida.Now add Karonda,turmeric powder and salt.Mix well and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add dry coriander powder, Red chilli powder,fennel seeds powder.Cook for another 2 minutes.Add sugar and turn off the flame.(The sugar will automatically dissolve in the hot lonji mixture and does not require further cooking).
The delicious karonda lonji is ready to be served with parathas, rotis or bread.
Refrigerate & Consume within 2-3 days
P.S. Karonda (Carissa carandas)is often related to cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpus) however they are two different fruits.Cranberry grows in cold countries while karonda can grow in areas of relatively higher temperature.Karonda is an Asian Shrub and it grows well in warm and dry parts of Indian subcontinent.Cranberry is a red berry which grows in bushes,however karonda is a flowering shrub & is pinkish red fruit with a white hue.
Karonda makes a good substitute in recipes that call for cranberries as it tastes quite similar to each other
( for more details on karonda pls refer http://findmeacure.com/2008/07/16/karonda-bengali-karamcha/,