Locals also prepare pickle with Ker and Sangri in Rajasthan. Photo: Neha Mathur
A trip to Rajasthan is not complete until you taste Ker Sangri - a delicious blend of dried berries and beans cooked with an array of spices. It is popular specially in the Marwar region of Rajasthan, which is the dry and arid part of the state, and where nothing but a few shrubs grow. These berries and beans are a part of the fauna, and much liked by the local population.
During the famines, the natives of Marwar region were left only with these berries and beans to survive on as nothing else would grow in the shallow soil with little or no water. They would dry and store them in large containers to be used throughout the year. Just a soak in water before cooking for a few hours, and these beans and berries plump back to their original size and taste and are ready to be mixed with oil and spices. They make for an excellent and delicious accompaniment with Indian breads.
Cooking Ker Sangri is not too difficult once you follow the traditional recipe, which has been kept alive by few enthusiasts and chefs from the region. I enjoyed the stories, which came as part of the discussions about this wonderful dish on my recent trip to Rajasthan. I could not resist carrying some of the berries and beans back with me to try out, and they did come out wonderful.
It is easy to find Ker Sangri in most Rajasthani restaurants in the region, and is a matter of pride for many to serve it to the guests. So, here is a chance for you to cook them at home following this step-by-step recipe. Hope you enjoy this traditional dish or Ker Sangri.
You can source ker and sangri from this website or else can ask someone to get it directly from Rajasthan.
Recipe for Ker Sangri (serves 3 to 4)
1/2 cup ker
3 cups sangri
6 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp heeng (asafoetida)
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1 tsp saunf (fennel seeds)
4-5 dry red chillies
3 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp amchoor powder
2 tbsp curd
1/2 cup Kishmish (raisins)
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander for garnishing
1. Wash ker and sangri separately a few times to remove all the dirt.
2. Soak in enough water for 8-10 hours.
3. Wash again a few times.
4. Add ker and sangri in a pressure pan and add a cup of water and 1 tsp salt.
5. Pressure cook for 1 whistle on high heat and then remove the cooker from the heat.
6. Let the pressure release and then open the cooker. Drain the ker sangri.
7. Wash then once more. Keep aside.
8. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add heeng, jeera and saunf.
9. Add dry red chilies and fry for a few seconds.
10. Add the cooked ker and sangri.
11. Now add the coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, amchoor powder and mix well.
12. Add curd, kishmish and salt and mix well.
13. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
14. Garnish with fresh coriander.
15. Serve hot with dal and roti or rice.
Neha believes in the adage 'pleasure in job brings perfection in work'. She loves to eat what she cooks, and also look forward to serve it in a perfect way. Neha also works with food brands and start-ups designing their menus, recipes, helping with food photography and contributing content.