Lapsiko Achaar and Aapko Achaar: the Taste of a Grandmother's Love

Food Issue 215 Oct, 2019

“Hajur-aama ko haath ko khana,” a heavenly taste that makes your taste buds almost burst with joy is something that each and every one of us has experienced. The taste of my grandmother’s achaar has been embedded in my soul. Having eaten it since I was a young child, put a blindfold on me and I can easily distinguish between the taste of my grandmom’s achaar and some store bought one. In fact, having tasted such tastiness has made me rather skeptical about other achaars.
A secret family recipe, which my grandmother learned from her mother, has been passed down from generation to generation. Yet, somehow it does not taste the same when my mother makes it. It probably has to do something with my grandmother putting an extra effort while making these delicious condiments. What is it though? I feel it’s the connection she has when she makes them. She is not making it for herself but rather for the family and her grandchildren which may explain the distinct taste. It is as if we can taste her dedication and commitment while enjoying their savory flavors.

Made when its ingredients are in season, the relish itself is not complicated to make. Lapsi and aap, hog plum and mango, the main components, are something you can easily buy. The taste is what gets you. The ratio between sweet and sour, the smell, the texture, it’s just fantastic! Just thinking about is enough to make my mouth water. There is a certain allure to it and pinpointing it is impossible. The taste is sweet, sour and savory. The sour taste of the hog plum added with spices and herbs make the chutney deliciously appetizing. In a similar way, the mango with its already juicy insides makes the overall dish sour and sweet at the same time. Depending upon the taste of the family member, she makes different batches of each achaar. Sweet, sour, spicy, pick your lot and enjoy.

Usually a side dish to be eaten together with the main meal, I enjoy the chutney whenever I can. Perks of being a grandchild! Growing up, me and my brothers would race to our grandmother’s place to enjoy these tasty treats. We grew up eating them and they have a deep attachment and meaning to us that any other store bought substitute just can’t live up to. The love, care and the dedication used to make these truly show the love she has for her grandkids and family.