The Bengali goddess of learning is Saraswati, she is also called Vasanti Debi, or the lady of Spring. Yes, spring in India is heralded early. She is usually depicted riding a swan and is clad in robes of yellow. Her instrument of choice is a veena. If you are wondering, what all of this has to do with food, I shall enlighten you in a moment. There is a berry found in Eastern India, that we call Kool. This fruit comes in two varieties, the first is a brown plump and soft variety that is used for chutneys and relishes and the second variety is a green crunchy variety, that we call Narkol Kool. This later variety is usually first offered to the goddess, and then eaten in bounty by everyone. I do not even know what the kool is called in English and I have made a mental note to myself as I write this is to, take pictures of the kool, the next time I go toIndia. Now I would have never likened the kool, to the cranberry, until of course I made this jam. It is acknowledging this strong touch of nostalgia, I am sending this image in Black and White, to Susan for Black and White Wednesday.
This simple jam celebrates the beautiful and seasonal cranberry in all its glory by just adding some jaggery, a tiny hint of chili to liven things up and some orange juice for moistening and the flavor and some white sugar to smoothen it out. The color of this beauty is just vivid and stunning, I have kept the jam purposefully tart so that it can double as a chutney, relish, or marinade. If I was happy with it right after it was made, it was just amazing a few days later once the notes of the jaggery had happily married the tartness of the cranberry and the chutney had matured into a beautiful mouth puckering sweet and tangy creation, rather reminiscent of something my grandmother would make for me, with the kool that I have been talking about.
Tangy Cranberry Jam
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 and ½ cups
2 cups of cranberries
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup of broken jaggery pieces
½ cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon red chili powder
Method of Preparation
1. Place the cranberries and the orange juice in a heavy bottomed pot.
2. Add in the broken jaggery pieces and cook on low heat until the mixture dissolves into a soft dark simmer mass, this will take about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the white sugar and the red chili powder and simmer for another 10 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat, you should have a thick deep ruby colored compote that is very versatile and can be used for your toast, as a marinade or just a relish adjacent to your meal.