Himachali Lasura

Lasura, a relatively unknown tree to many is actually one of the most revered trees in India. Also known as Indian Cherry or Gum Berry or Glue Berry, lasura as it is called in the hilly state of Himachal has been used in Ayurveda, traditional medicines and Unani for centuries.

 

The fruits, leaves, bark and seeds of this tree is rich in protein, fiber, fat, iron, phosphorus and calcium. The fruit is used to treat liver ailments, manage blood pressure levels, relieve joint pain, cure migraine and headaches and improve the hair, the leaves are used to treat skin eruptions and joint pain and the bark is used to treat sore throats, lung infections, toothache, blisters and gingivitis.

 

As lasura is packed with healing, medicinal and nutritional properties, it is widely used in the preparation of local delicacies, curries and pickle. The fruit has a soft outer layer with a sweet yet tangy flavour while the inner sticky layer around the seed has an intense sweetness with a hint of astringency.

 

As the lasura fruit offers a wide range of flavours, it is best to pluck them between March – April. The fruits are washed and cleaned, cut into two and deseeded.

 

Fenugreek is lightly roasted in mustard oil till it turns dark brown in colour. The cut fruits are added and fried for a few minutes. Freshly ground thyme powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt are added to the mixture and cooked till it becomes soft in texture.

 

It is important that the spices coat the fruits evenly. The mixture is allowed to cool and then put into a clay jar or pot for fermentation.

 

A generous portion of hot mustard oil is poured on top of the pickle and the clay pot is sealed and kept in the sun for a few days.

 

Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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