Two Tangy Recipes With Indian Gooseberry (Amla) – Green Chutney and Pickle


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I thought of listing the enormous health benefits and nutrients that make this tangy fruit one of my personal favorites but then I thought I will just give a link here Know 50 Health benefits of Amla  . This posts tells almost everything and for more there is always mother Google. 😀

Did you ever eat raw  Amla and had water over it? If yes, then you must be remembering the natural sweetness it gave to water.  As a kid I loved to eat the fruit raw with a little sprinkle of salt or just mix the grated amla in my food. It gives a lovely flavor to arhar dal especially. I still love it.

For those to prefer this wonderful delightful fruit  in a chutney or a spicy tangy pickle here are two recipes perfected in my kitchen.

 Amla Mint Chuntney and  Instant Amla Pickle 

Let us first go green with fragrant home grown Mint which again like Amla has a lot of health benefits. You can always look them up on Google.

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I love mint in my drinks, soups, chutneys and yogurt or as a mouth freshener too.  Mint chutney with some fresh coriander (cilantro) and Amla is one of my favorite condiment with anything and everything. I just love this fresh green soothing spread.

To make Amla , Mint Chutney you will need:

Amla – medium size  2 nos.

Fresh Mint leaves – One small bowl

Fresh coriander – one small bowl

Onion – I small (roughly chopped)

garlic – 2-3 nos.

Ginger – 1/2 inch (roughly chopped)

Green Chilies – 1-2 9 to taste)

lemon juice – I teaspoon

Roasted cumin power – a pinch (optional)

Salt – to taste

Sugar – 1 teaspoon ( optional)

Method

 Wash the leaves and chop them roughly.  Put the first 7 ingredients in a blender with salt and blend till they make a coarse paste.  all the ingredients should turn into coarse paste not smooth .. although some prefer it the other way.

Take out in a bowl and add sugar, cumin powder and lemon juice. Mix well. Garnish with twig of  fresh mint.

Your delicious , tangy green mint amla chutney is ready to serve.

Now for the Instant pickle 

Ingredients 

Amla or Indian Gooseberry  – 5

Green Chilies – 2-3 nos.

Asafoetida – a pinch

Salt – to taste

Mustard  (sarson)  seeds- 1 teaspoon

Fenugreek (methi) seeds – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric – 1/4 tespoon

Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Mustard Oil – 2 tablespoon

Method 

Steam the washed and dried Amlas and cut them into small pieces once they cool.

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Heat mustard oil in a cast iron or non stick pan (I use cast iron) till it smokes. Remove from heat.

Cool it just a little and add both the seeds and hing ( asafoetida).

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When they begin to splutter add red chili powder and turmeric powder.

Stir in the pieces of steamed amla and raw chopped green chilies. Also add salt.

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Once all the ingredients are mixed properly let it cool completely in a bowl or in the pan itself .

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Take a clean glass bottle to store the pickle and keep it airtight.

This pickle can last for at least a week if not more. I make it in lesser quantity and fresh through out winter.

You can adjust the salt and chilies according to taste but try to keep the natural flavors. Over spiced pickle can lose its flavor and nutrients.

Your pickle is now ready to eat.

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Do give me feedback on the recipes and any  suggestions that you would like to share are very much welcome. 

Enjoy !

Recipe – Traditional Carrot Halwa


I am a sucker for seasonal produce and ruby red carrots flood the vegetable markets during winter. Sweet and full of healthy nutrients these carrots are not just good as raw salad can also used for making Carrot Pickle ( my recipe)  ,  carrot cake , carrot halwa, carrot barfi , carrot preserve (murraba) / paysam and can be cooked and mixed in variety of way in vegetables/ stews / soups/ pulao / vegetable biryani/ avial etc. I recently had carrot parathas with home made butter and trust me they were out of the world. Do you know how beneficial is the juice of carrots? find out  in my post Carrot Juice Benefits .

Carrot halwa is one of the favorite sweet dishes all across Northern India and is made in variety of ways these days. This Indian Carrot pudding is one of the main sweet dishes on any festival, wedding or other celebrations. With Khoya ( similar to ricotta cheese but lower in moisture and made with milk instead of whey) , condense milk, sugar-free and easy microwave carrot halwa are also popular these days. but

All Indian desserts are time-consuming labor of love. All across the plains of North India you will find pipping hot carrot halwa and hot gulab jamun in every sweet shop all through winter. Most of these shops use khoya which makes the halwa richer. I prefer to make it traditionally in full cream milk over slow fire and the result is a gorgeous deep red aromatic halwa with  a divine taste of thickened milk. Making halwa in milk also helps it carrots to retain their flavor which is usually masked when khoya is used.

The traditional carrot halwa is definitely is not a dish for dieters.  Rich in Vitamin A, proteins, carbohydrates and fat it is  nutritious and filling winter dessert.

I make two types of carrot halwa – one with red carrots and the other with black( deep purple carrots which are usually not used for halwa).

Black Carrot Halwa

Black Carrot Halwa

Today I want to share recipe for Red carrot Halwa  or gajar ka halwa perfected over the years in my kitchen.  This halwa can be kept in an air tight container in fridge for more than a month.

Ingredients :

Red Carrots – 1 Kg

Full Cream Milk – 1 Kg

Ghee ( Clarified Butter) – 1/2 cup

Mixture of dry fruits – I cup ( raisins, blanched shredded almonds, broken cashew nuts etc. )

Green Cardamom – 6

Sugar –  1 cup ( according to taste) ( the amount of  sugar depends on sweetness of the carrot too)

Method: 

Choose medium size thin red carrots. These will have thinner yellow middle part which we discard while grating for halwa .

Wash, peel and grate them from the larger side of grater so they retain their texture after cooking.

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Take a heavy bottom pan or wok and place in on medium flame.

Heat full cream milk and add grated carrots to it when milk begins to simmer.

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Let it simmer on low flame after first boil. Keep stirring in between so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Let it cook till all the milk gets evaporated.

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Once the milk dried up add sugar and mix properly. Keep the flame on medium and keep stirring as at this point the mixture will have tendency to stick to bottom.

The sugar will make the mixture lose water so turn the flame to low and let the water evaporate. The mixture will also get  a gorgeous deep color and aroma by this time.

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Now that the mixture is almost dry and has started leaving the sides add ghee ( clarified butter).

Keep stirring it till the mixture is nicely roasted It will have a deep red color by now and will smell heavenly of thick milk, sugar and carrot.

Once the ghee leaves the sides and the mixture gets a crispy yet moist texture add crushed cardamoms and slowly the magical fragrance of the spice will begin to blend in with the sweetness of the dish.

Some people stir fry the nuts before adding but I add them in their natural form. Raisins should be soaked for a while before adding.

Turn off the flame and remove the dessert in a serving plate or bowl. Carrot halwa is meant to be eaten hot. Sometimes just for a change I put a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side. The hot and cold of these two favorites is a great combination.

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Enjoy one of the finest and most loved Indian desserts. Try it in your kitchen and share it with loved ones. Do let me know if you relished this winter treat.

Bon Appetit 

Recipe – Spicy Lamb Curry with Dark Rum


I perfected this recipe in my kitchen and have fond memories of many Sunday lunches when friends came over and we had great times over food and drinks. The basic recipe is of Mughlai lamb ( Mutton) curry with addition of Dark Rum. The dish is rich and full of aromatic spices which is a specialty of Mughlai cooking.  Although Mughlai preparations can be eaten all over India but it is the specialty of the North India. This is not a dish for calorie conscious but for those who relish rich food a  perfect dish for a Sunday meal on a cold winter day. Hope you will enjoy it as much I do. So, here is the recipe for all you meat lovers.

Ingredients : 

Mutton (Lamb Meat)  –  1 kg ( shoulder of lamb and front quarter provides the best meat) Cut into small pieces

Yogurt – 1 cup (Beaten)

For Gravy –

Onions – 3 large (cut very fine)

Ginger – 1 inch (grated or finely chopped)

Garlic – 6 pods (finely chopped or grated)

Tomatoes – 5 Large (grated)

Spices –

Black cardamom – 3

Green cardamom – 4

Cinnamon stick – ½ inch

Clove – 4

Black pepper corn – 5 -6

Whole red chilies – 4

Bay leaf – 1

Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon

Asafoetida – 2 pinch

Salt to taste

Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon (as per taste)

Fresh ground coriander seed powder – 4 tablespoon

Garam masala – 1 teaspoon

(You can put first 7 spices in a small muslin pouch, tie it and drop it in the gravy or use them as it is)

Desi Ghee – ¼ cup (clarified butter)

Dark rum – 60ml

For Garnish – Fresh green Coriander – half cup ( finely chopped)

 

Method –

 

Marinade the lamb pieces by smearing yogurt and a little salt over them. Cover with cling foil and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan

Add all the whole spices (if using the pouch, just add cumin seeds and asafoetida)

Once the spices crackle add chopped onions and salt. (Fine chopping gives a different texture and flavor than grated. Adding salt will help the onions to become crisp brown.  Indian food is all about passion and the more you give it time and patience the better it going to be)

Keep the flame on medium and stir onions till translucent.

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Add garlic and ginger at this point. (It is important to follow steps. At what point a certain ingredient is added changes the taste of the dish)

Fry them till golden brown then add the red chili powder and half a cup of water so the chili powder doesn’t burn, adding chili at this point with give the gravy a good color.

When the water is reduced and the mixture becomes browner add the powdered spices and mix well. The aroma will tell you when they have blended well.

At this point add grated tomatoes. I don’t puree them, grating gives a better color.

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Keep the flame on high and stir the mixture till the oil starts leaving the sides.

Once the mixture is properly done add one cup water. (It you are using spice pouch, add it now)

Lower the flame and let it simmer till nicely browned and reduced to thick paste

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Add the lamb pieces and raise the flame to high.

Keep stirring till all the pieces are fully covered in the paste.

Roast the meat in the gravy till oil starts to separate and the mutton is nicely done.

Check with a fork or knife to see if it’s become a bit soft.  It should be half done by now.

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Add enough water to cover the lamb pieces completely.

Check salt and add more if needed.

Add dark rum at this point and keep the flame high.

I use Old Monk but you can use any dark rum. Rum is a tenderizer also and it gives a distinct flavor to the curry. You can use up to 120 ml of rum depending on taste.

Turn the flame to slow now and cover the pan with a lid.

Let the curry cook on slow flame till the lamb pieces are soft and break on touching.

I make thick gravy but you can change the consistency according to taste.

Once done, stir in half of the chopped fresh coriander.

Take out the aromatic mutton curry in a serving dish and garnish with the remaining fresh coriander

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Serve hot with Nan, Parathas, Roomali Rori, missi roti or rice.

Bon Appetit