Alyache Dhoss / Ale Dos (Mangalorean Ginger Preserve)
Prep time: 30 – 40 mins | Soaking time: 2-3 days | Cooking time: 2-1/2 – 3 hours * see note#4
- 1 kg very tender (new) ginger * see note#1
- 1 kg sugar * see note#2
- approx 1 litre water * see note#3
- 1 egg
- juice of 1 lime
You will also need
- a clean muslin cloth
- a sterilized glass jar/canister (approx 1.5 litres) or multiple smaller glass jars
1. Wash the ginger thoroughly to remove any traces of mud, wipe with a cloth and gently scrape off the peel/skin. Poke each piece of ginger with a fork or a clean unused hair pin (U pin) – take care not to tear the flesh of very tender ginger. The more you poke the better it will stew in the sugar syrup and taste sweet.
2. Soak the ginger in sufficient water to cover it and keep aside. Change this water twice a day (morning & evening) for two days.
3. On the third day, drain off the water and place the ginger in a pressure cooker and add enough water up to 1 inch above the level of the ginger. Cover the lid, place the weight (whistle) and pressure cook on a full flame till the first whistle goes off. Reduce the flame to sim and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Turn off the flame, allow the cooker to cool off to room temperature. Open and stir. Keep aside.
4. Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and smash the whole egg into it (along with the shell), mix well and then add the water and stir well. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, you will notice that the scum (dirt) in the sugar would have floated to the surface. Continue to boil till you are able to see clear liquid below the scum (use a spoon to part the scum). Line a clean bowl with a clean muslin cloth and carefully strain the liquid into it. Discard the scum and transfer the sugar syrup into a large heavy bottomed pan and put it back on the fire and bring it to a boil till it thickens a bit.
5. Add the pressure cooked ginger and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If you feel the water has reduced you may add a cup at a time. After two hours check if the ginger is tender and the sugar syrup has penetrated inside each piece, if not, put it back on the fire. If done, add the lime juice, stir and remove from fire and cover with a slotted plate to allow excess heat/steam to escape. When the preserve has completely cooled down, the syrup will thicken.
6. Store in sterilized airtight glass jars/canisters. If prepared hygienically the preserve will last for a year without refrigeration * see note#5
1. In and around Mangalore (across the coast) new & very tender ginger is available when the monsoons begin to taper off – this is usually from the end of August till the first week of September. Traditionally this preserve is prepared before the Nativity (Monthi) feast that falls on September 8th, so be sure to buy/source your ginger around this time. Any delay will result in slightly fibrous ginger which is not suitable for this preparation. In India, tender ginger is not easily available in the commercial market unless you place an order for it as it tends to rot fast and hence what you see in the market is always matured ginger which is highly fibrous.
2. For extra sweet sugar syrup increase the sugar by another 200-250 grams.
3. The quantity of water to be used is usually proportionate to the quantities of sugar and ginger, however, it may slightly vary depending on the tenderness of the ginger and the consistency (thickness) of the syrup desired. So keep 1.5 litres of water handy and use only as required.
4. The initial preparation time will be reduced if you have a helping hand to clean the ginger. Cooking time will vary slightly depending on the tenderness of ginger used. Also, each piece of ginger needs to be adequately pricked/poked with a fork – only then will the sugar syrup penetrate the pores and help to stew the pieces properly.
5. Always use a clean dry spoon to remove the ginger preserve.