You’re probably wondering what the heck is wrong with Chris, when you read both Amchar and talkari as the heading of this recipe. I didn’t know if this would be considered amchar, talkari or curry Pommecythere considering I didn’t use any curry in cooking it. All I know is that the few times I had this growing up, was the occasional time I would purchase some from the many street food vendors outside the gates at our high school. Are there still food vendors outside schools today in Trinidad and Tobago?
This is the first time I was making this dish and I must say that I’m quite proud of the results.
3 Pommecythere (green / fully developed)
2 tablespoon amchar massala
1 teaspoon salt
1 scotch bonnnet pepper (any hot pepper would work)
3 cloves garlic – crushed
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoon brown sugar (golden.. not dark)
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 medium onion sliced thin (optional)
Note: Depending on how sour or tart your Pommecytheres are, you may need to add a bit more salt. The idea is to get a sort of savory taste, with the richness of the brown sugar and amchar massala. So if at the end you find it to be a bit tart, add a bit more salt or sugar.
Some people tend to pre-boil the Pommecythere pieces before actually cooking it in the massala. By doing so you achieve two thing. 1. Speeds up the cooking time, as it will already be tender. And 2. The pre-boiling tends to remove some of the tartness from the Pommecythere. If you decide on pre-boiling, you’ll only need about 1/4 cup water as mentioned in the ingredients listed above and you’ll cook it only a few minutes after adding all the ingredients to the pot.
If you’re wondering what Pommecythere is…
From Wikipedia : Spondias dulcis or Ambarella, (and its alternative binomial, Spondias cytherea, Malay Apple), Golden apple, is an equatorial or tropical tree, with edible fruit containing a fibrous pit. It is known by many names in various regions, including Pomme cythere in Trinidad and Tobago, June plum in Jamaica, Juplon in Costa Rica, Jobo Indio in Venezuela, and Caja-manga in Brazil.
Give the Pommecythere a good rinse under running water, then using a cleaver or heavy knife, cut through them into wedges (see pic below). Give them a another rinse if you like. Then get the other ingredients ready. You’ll notice that I didn’t bother peeling the Pommecythere as I find that the skin adds to the overall texture at the end. And you will find that the center of the Pommecythere is somewhat spiny and tough.. this is why I used a heavy cleaver to cut through them.
Heat the vegetable oil in a fairly heavy/deep pan and add the onion and garlic. Allow that to cook for a few minutes, then add the slices of pepper. Remember (I learned the hard way today) that the fumes from the pepper meeting the heated oil will be strong and cause you to cough. Open your kitchen windows and turn on the vent fan if you have one over your stove.
Allow this to cook for about 3 minutes, then add the pieces of cut Pommecythere and give it a good stir. Next up.. add the amchar massala and stir again. Now add the sugar, salt and water and bring to a boil.
After it comes to a boil, reduce the flame to between a rolling boil and simmer.. place the lid on the pot and allow this to cook for about 25-30 minutes. Basically until it’s tender and becomes a thick sort of sauce. Remember what I mentioned in the note above and check to ensure it’s not to tart or sour as we would say on the islands.
This is used as a condiment for many curry dishes, spicy snack or as a side with roti in many instances. Before you go I invite you to leave me your comments below.. even if it just to say hello. It’s always appreciated. And don’t forget to join us on facebook and do check out the cooking videos.