Wood Apple Relish ~ Kod Bael Makha

I had just popped into the store to pick up a bottle of water. There was a queue and I was standing right next to the veggies boxes. I love checking out veggies and see what all varieties are stocked, when to my surprise I saw a stack of wood apples. These non descriptive fruits known as Kod Bael in Bengali make an awesome relish. This is the first time I saw these in London, so you can imagine my excitement. I just had to buy one.

Now don't confuse Kod Bael with the more popular variety of Bael which is used to make juice and murabba. This is a slightly different variety and the flesh is light brown in colour.

This relish is super quick and easy to make and involves no cooking at all. 

What you need ~
1. 1 wood apple, ripe and ready to be used, you can guess from the smell, it has a lovely ripe smell when ready
2. A block of gur/jaggery, roughly about the diameter of your thumb, may need slightly more depending on how sour the fruit is. You can easily replace the gur with sugar. If using sugar I would say about 3 to 4 table spoons
3. A glug of mustard oil
4. 10 to 12 green chillies
5. Salt to taste
6. If you like your relish really hot, or if you can't get hold of green chillies, 1 heaped table spoon of red chilli powder

Method ~
All you need to do is break open the hard outer shell of the fruit with a hammer (husband does the job) scoop out the soft flesh inside, seeds and all. The seeds are soft and we eat those as well. Now mix everything on the ingredient list together, transfer in a glass bowl preferably transparent, cover and leave on your window sill or balcony to soak in some sun.
In Kolkata it takes about 2 to 3 days for the relish to soak in the sun rays and mature. In my London home it took about a week. Thankfully this was a week of uninterrupted sunshine. Mix once in the while, once the kod bael makha is ready, it turns darker in shade.

Eating suggestion ~ During summer holidays cozying up with a good book and this makha! Perfect use of long summer afternoons!

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