Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pineapple Murabba(Pineapple Marmalade)

Murabba, Murabbo or muraba is a fruit preserve like jam or maramalade that originated from Georgia. In Arabic, mirabba means jam or fruit preserve, which is popular in many regions of Caucasus, Central and South Asia. It is traditionally prepared with fruits, sugar, and spices.

Popular fruits that are candied, are apple, plum, apricot, gooseberry (amla), mango which can be preserved for long periods both as a wet murabba and a dry version, and is said to have medicinal properties. It is widely used in Indian traditional and folk medicine. Allam Murabba (ginger brittle) is made from ginger, sugar etc. It is cooked and cut into round pieces. Allam in Telugu language is ginger, hence the name.

Murabba in Caucasus is made of strawberries, cherries and local fruits. When the Gurjs travelled to India, they adapted the recipe to use the local mango, which became a traditional favorite of the Gujaratis over the years. Georgians make murabba once a season and fill their pantries with bottled murabba.These jams are preserved for most Iranian sweet dishes, enjoyed with bread and tea at breakfast time. - Wikipedia

I have read about murabba in the ancient stories of Arabian Nights, when I was in school. We never tasted jam or marmalade until the late Sixties, when my father first brought a bottle of Pineapple jam by Presto. Later in the Seventies, my sister in law Prabha Shenoy used to make mango murabba at home. My eldest brother Shashikanth used to bring bottles of Kissan Orange Marmalade when he was working in Mumbai. I have tasted that at his home couple of times, during my visits there in the late Seventies. However, I personally like the taste and of flavour of pineapple. Besides, we had a big pineapple in store with which I decided to make this excellent preserve.

There were many recipes available online, but I preferred to go my own way. First I thought about the consistency of the murabba. My sister in law made a rather thin sugar syrup in which she cooked mango pieces and added crushed cardamom seeds for added flavour.  I wanted to make a thicker one, just like marmalade. I have experienced that pineapple and saffron blend well to give a divine aroma. Hence I decided to add saffron to this.

Making this is very simple, but you need to have lots of patience and a refined taste. Otherwise, the preparation may get too dry or too wet. My recipe involves two stages of cooking pineapple with sugar. One is making a thick pineapple syrup by boiling pineapple juice with sugar. Second step is cooking bits of pineapple with calculated amount of pineapple syrup that I made. Thus, the consistency of this murabba is very smooth and taste is delicious. If the pineapple is slightly sour, the taste will be much better. 

Nothing like fresh hot bread toast with a spread of pineapple murabba and a cup of hot coffee on a rainy day! Pamper your kids with this lip smacking fruit preserve that's an healthy alternative from commercial jams which contain artificial flavours, colours, preservatives and other ingredients.

Pineapple - 500Gm
Sugar - 1 and 1/2 Cups(Increase according to taste)
Cardamom - 4 Pods
Saffron - A generous pinch


Soak saffron in 2 tbsp hot water.
Peel the cardamom pods and crush the seeds coarsely.
Remove the skin of pineapple, chop into small bits.
Reserve 2 cups of the pineapple bits and run the remaining bits in a mixer blender to extract juice, adding 1/2 cup of water.
You must get around 1 and 1/2 cups of thick juice.
Filter the juice through a sieve and collect in a bowl. 
Heat a thick bottomed pan.
Add the pineapple juice along with sugar into the pan.
Keep stirring on medium heat until the juice thickens and a one string syrup is formed.
Add the remaining 2 cups of the pineapple bits into the syrup.
Bring to a boil again and keep stirring on medium heat for 20-30 minutes or until the pineapple pieces are well cooked and the jam starts to thicken.
Now add the saffron and cardamom powder, mix well for 5 minutes and switch off the heat.
Allow to cool down completely and then store in air tight glass bottles or jars.
You may keep this at room temperature for 2-3 days and then transfer to a fridge for better preservation.
Eat this with bread, toast, poori, dosa, choice of Indian bread, akki rotti, or a tablespoonful topped with plain vanilla ice cream scoop as a dessert.

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