When first tasted it after making this rather incredible thokku, almost in unison, my hubby and I declared it was cherry kachal - let it be known he said pulikachal and gave me the idea to call it a cherry kachal.
Memorial weekend and nothing to do - WRONG - we went to a beautiful orchard set in a very scenic place about 45 minutes from where we live - the weather was perfect and there we were, six of us, my little one leading the pack, all armed with plastic bags. Long story short, we got SO carried away, we ended up with 20 lbs of cherries- Since they expect you to buy all of the cherries you pick, we ended up buying $80 worth of cherries :) !!! Not an issue since my head was immediately buzzing with the different things I can make with them - The pie was the first of course. When we came home, we got busy washing and sorting them into grades of ripeness. Before we made our way to the actual trees with the dark fully ripened cherries, our enthusiasm had led us to pick not so ripe ones - My three year old went about it with clear intent and picked a bunch of red, pink and semi-rotten ones - all part of the deal folks.
My kids, hubby and mother-in-law (who is visiting) took the lead role in washing, sorting, pitting process. While I got busy listening keenly to my good friend Stephanie from Joy of Baking, refreshing my pie-crust recipe.
That will be a post to follow. The semi ripe ones are the ones that I decided to make this thokku with. I decided on a really simple recipe and let the cherries take on the spices and do what they will with it. And we ended up with a tangy, tongue-tickling thokku, perfect as a side for bondas, doasi and idli, or to mix with freshly prepared fluffy white rice :)
here is my recipe
2lbs pitted semi-ripe cherries
5 green chilies
5 red dry chilies
1tbsp whole black peppers
2 tsp urad dal
2 tsp crushed rosemary
a small pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup of gingely oil (sesame oil) (approx 6 tbsp)
Dry fry the green chilies, red chilies, peppers, urad dal and rosemary and dry grind into a powder.
Take 1/3 of the cherries (aprrox) and grind them coarse -
Add 2 tbsp of oil and and add the powder and roast for a minute.
Add the ground up cherries and the remaining pitted cherries into the pan
Add salt (about 3 tsp) and all it all to simmer and simmer and simmer in a low flame
in intervals of 5-7 minutes, keep adding a tbsp of oil until you've exhausted the oil
You will have a finely simmered thokku in about 45 minutes.
Allow it to cool down. Transfer into a mason jar. Refrigerate and use as needed.