There is a surfeit of pineapples in Bengaluru’s Indiranagar. Resident WhatsApp groups are abuzz with questions, all pineapple-related: What are you making? Has anyone tried making pineapple pakoda? Do you have a recipe for pineapple gojju?
It all started when a resident read an article on pineapple farmers in Karnataka. Their stock, normally exported, was stuck during the lockdown. To help them out, an NGO, Vande Bharatam, tied up with Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (HOPCOMS) to get the pineapples to people’s doorsteps.
Other residents showed interest in helping out, but most of the produce was being sent to apartment complexes and gated communities, where more sales were likely. But that did not stop Sneha Nandihal of I Change Indiranagar, a federation of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in Indiranagar, from reaching out to the folks at HOPCOMS.
Between its now-closed stores and restaurants, Indiranagar predominantly comprises independent homes. “We asked HOPCOMS to organise vans of pineapples to sell in the area,” Sneha said. “We weren’t expecting to sell too many.”
Tangy and spicy pineapple chutney
- 2 cups pineapple cubes
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 cardamom
- 1-inch piece of cinnamon
- 2 sprigs of curry leaves
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup water
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a bottom-heavy pan, and when hot add cardamom, cinnamon and curry leaves and allow to crackle. Add turmeric, chilli powder, red chilli flakes, sugar and water. Add salt and allow to cook for a minute. Then add the pineapple chunks, simmer and cook on slow flame for 8 to 10 minutes. Switch off the stove and let it cool. Then store in a glass jar.
Various WhatsApp groups were informed, and I Change Indiranagar drew up a schedule, coordinating with the van drivers to cover as much area as possible. “We borrowed megaphones from the police,” said Sneha. “Resident volunteers followed the van, urging people to buy.” These volunteers also made sure physical distancing was strictly followed.
Each van contained 500 pineapples, and Sneha and team hoped to sell at least a couple of vans’ worth. “We ended up selling 10 vans of pineapples,” she said. “That’s nearly 10 tons!”
The pineapples are not the regular sweet variety. They are a local naati variety: less sweet, shorter shelf life, but very nutritious. Many did not know what to do with them but bought them anyway, wanting to show support.
That is when Lata Amashi, another resident, stepped forward. A former banker who now serves the disadvantaged and is an active member of Rotary Bangalore Indiranagar, she has been busy organising relief material during the COVID-19 outbreak. But she found the time to write down over 30 recipes featuring pineapple as the star ingredient.
A passionate cook, Lata’s recipes included everything from pineapple chutney and coleslaw to rasam and jams. The recipes were scanned and forwarded to all the neighbourhood WhatsApp groups. There is a Part 2 of pineapple recipes in the offing too.
Vande Bharatam and HOPCOMS are so pleased with the response that they are considering selling naati pineapples here next year. As Sneha said, “It’s been wonderful and heartening to see how the neighbourhood rose to the occasion to help our farmers.”
½ teaspoon black pepper powder
½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
½ teaspoon black salt
¼ cup sugar
Juice of one medium-size lemon
Mint leaves minced, one tablespoon
Peel the pineapple and cut into pieces and roast in a pan till it is cooked well. Juice the pineapple, add all dry ingredients to it. Mix well and then add lemon juice and salt. Serve the juice in a glass by adding a pinch of cumin powder and some mint leaves. Serve chilled.
Recipe by Lata Amashi