Few memories never fade. Rather those embedded so firmly in your mind, in your heart that at every step of life they help you to stay strong and happy. I miss my grandmother very much. I miss her wrinkled cheeks which I love to cuddle and pull. I miss the way she used to make Kheer er Putul (Dolls out of Kheer) on the auspicious occasion of Shashti Puja. I miss all the pranks that my sister and I only used to play on her. There are some relationships that build upon love and affection. A totally different kind of affection where the only language is love, nothing else. Call it a blind love or what, at the grandparents’ lap we know what exactly a sheer pampering calls for. I also believe, Food makes a relationship strong and also builds up evocative reminiscences. The summer fruit Jaam/Jamun/Java plum or Balck Plum is associated with a very close memory in my heart.
This fruit is first introduced to me by my grandmother. One day I found some purple coloured juicy looking fruits lying all around on the ground of our maternal grandfather’s backyard. I collected few and ran straight to my grandmother whom we used to call “Mammu”. She introduced me the fruit known as Jaam and added that Jaam tree was planted by my mother. I was in full of surprise that how my mother could plant such a big tree. My little heart and mind were all overwhelmed with the thought that my mother was nothing but a superwoman. Please Note: I was only a mere kid then. Every year I used to see the tree all bloomed and flourished with big plumpy juicy Jaam/Java plum. Apart from the chirrups of the birds who feast around the tree to collect their food, it used to be a fun time for me with my sister, cousin brothers, and sisters to collect as much as fruits we could in a small basket provided by Mammu. I can still visualise a white saree-clad old lady in her 70s, with silvery gray hair, mixing and mashing a big bowl full of Jaam/Java plum with her immaculate hand. All of us with mesmerising eyes noting each gesture and movements of what Mammu was doing. Then she would give us small bowls and serve ladle full of Jaam makha. Jaam Makha is nothing but mashing the Jaam/JJava plum then adding a bit of raw mustard oil, sugar, and black salt – that’s it. I can still savour the taste. It used to tickle the palate with its tangy, pungent sharp sweet taste. But as a matter of regret, my daughter doesn’t like Jaam/Java plum. So I don’t find very enthusiastic to make Jaam Makha only for me (as Mr. Pie, most of the time, is on tour ). This year I bought a pack of Jaam/Java plum in anticipation, of giving Jaam makha a try again, if Miss Picky Pie shows a thumbs up. Then I changed my mind and thought of trying something else. So I landed up with this Jaam/Java plum Panna Cotta. I was not so sure how the out come would be. But after tasting it We all loved it. So here is the recipe enjoy.