Monday, February 2, 2015

Ambade Nonche (Hog Plum Pickle)

Ambado or Hog Plums are small green colored fruits. They taste sour and mostly used as a souring agent. It is quite popular in the region (Coastal Karnataka, India) I grew up. When it is in season, people make pickle, add it many curries as a souring agent. They also store it in salt water for future use. Whenever my father got hog plums from the market, my mother used to make a batch of pickle. We used to enjoy it.

It had become many years since I ate these plums. Few months back, I saw them in Farmers market but I was not sure whether they were hog plums. After few days I ate Hog plum pickle in a friend's house. So now I was sure that the plums I saw that day was nothing other than hog plums! So kept searching for it and finally got hold of it two days back. So the next thing I did after coming home was to call my mother to get the recipe for the pickle. I am so happy that my pickle turned out the way I remember eating it, made by my mother. This is my first try and I am one Happy Girl!

  • Hog Plums (Ambado) - 14-15 (365g) or around 3 cups chopped
  • Lime - 1/2 (optional)
  • Lime juice - As required
  • Ginger, finely chopped - 1 Tbsp (optional)
  • Salt - 2 Tbsp (I used sea salt) or to taste
For the Spicy Paste:
  • Dry Red Chilli (Byadgi), medium sized - 17 (25g)
  • Mustard seeds - 3 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - A big generous pinch
  • Water - As required
Note: If you don't enjoy biting into a lime or ginger piece then skip it completely. It does taste good with or without it. If you enjoy spicy pickles then add finely chopped green chillies.
The hog plum I used was not enough sour to balance the spiciness of the pickle. Hence I added lime juice. So taste the pickle and add lime juice as required.
Add salt little at a time. You don't want to end up with a salty mess.


Few important things you need to keep in mind before making this pickle:
#All the bowls, spoon, blender etc should be clean and dry.
#It is preferred that you start making the pickle in the morning and by evening it will be done. Next day, it will be ready to use.
#Be careful while adding salt. Add it in steps. You can always add more if required.
#The pickle has to be stored in a clean glass or porcelain jar (you can also use plastic containers. remember that it might get stained).

Now coming back to the preparation-

First heat 1-2 cups of water and bring it to a boiling point and then turn off the heat. Bring this water to room temperature. This water is used to make the red chilli paste (this boiled-cooled water helps the pickle to last longer).
While the water is cooling, wash the hog plums and ginger. 

Pat them dry with a towel and then chop them into small pieces (Hog plums have seed in the middle. So remove the edible part as much as you can. Luckily my hog plums didn't have any seed. You can add the seeds to the pickle or just discard it. Seed cannot be eaten but you can suck the yummy juice).

Now put the chopped hog plums, lime and ginger in a clean, big bowl. Then add salt (1 Tbsp) and toss well so that all of them get a coating. Cover and let it rest for 3-4 hours.

After 3-4 hours, prepare the Chilli paste.
To Make Chilli paste - Take dry red chilli, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt (1/2 Tbsp) in a blender. 

Now grind them into a fine powder. Then add little amount of the reserved water (boiled and cooled) and grind. The resulting paste should be smooth.

Then add this chilli paste into the bowl containing chopped hog plums, lime and  ginger mixture. 

Mix well. Add water little by little to achieve the desired consistency. I kept it medium thick. Check the taste. At this point I added 1/2 Tbsp of salt and lime juice (from 1/2 of a lime).

Let this mixture sit for a day or 5-6 hours in a refrigerator, so that the hog plums and lime pieces gets time to absorb the flavors. After 5-6 hours taste it and add salt or asafoetida or lime juice, if required. Ambade Nonche is ready!!

Store it in a glass/ porcelain jar. Refrigerate it for future use. It stays good up to a month or two.


  1. wow slurp:) nice .. my mom sent me a bottle full of Amtekai / Ambade pickle with my cuz. where do you get this indian store or american farmers market? is it in frozen sec or fresh one's.

    1. Hi Vanamala, nothing like a bottle of pickle made by mom. Lucky you. I found the fresh Amtekai in the farmers market and many International stores. Enjoy your pickle :-)