Recipe – Instant Indian Gooseberry | Amla and Green Chili Pickle


Amla/Amlaki or Indian Gooseberry marks the advent of winter season. It is a super food and a great immunity booster due to it’s high vitamin C content. Amla is good for skin, heart, hair so I eat it raw (grated) with lunch on a daily basis apart from making variety of chutneys, pickles, jam, preserve etc. Even dry it to use later as a souring agent or as amla supari (a digestive aid and mouth freshener. All the recipes are on my blog. This is a favorite instant pickle with green chilies. Minimal oil and just the right amount of salt and spices. No preservatives or chemicals. You can eat it more than the store bought pickle. It stays well for a month in the refrigerator. I make small fresh batches till the season lasts and then a larger batch to mark the end of the season.

The fruit laden branch you see is from Safdarjung Tomb Gardens. When you visit the garden tombs please look around in the gardens too. There is a wealth of beauty waiting to be discovered. Please don’t vandalize. Be gentle.

The scientific name of Amla is Phyllanthus emblica and it belongs to Phyllanthaceae family. We all know the tremendous medicinal and culinary usage of Amla. The tree has spiritual significance too. It is said that Amalaka fruit was the final gift to the Buddhist Sangha from the great Emperor Ashoka. The Amalaka stupa is in Patna. It’s one of the Bodhi trees and also sacred in Hindu religion. It’s believed to have grown from the heavenly nectar (Amrit) hence the name Amalaki. The greenish yellow Amla berries are harvested by hand and are smooth&hard in texture. They have a sour, astringent taste. Most medicinal trees are considered sacred in Hindu religion and it’s true with Amla too.

Here’s the recipe for the instant pickle :

Ingredients :

Amla -8-10

Green Chilies -6-7

Mustard (sarson) seeds- 1 teaspoon

Fenugreek (methi) seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida (Hing) – 2 pinches

Turmeric – 1/4 tespoon

Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Salt – to taste

Mustard Oil – 2 Tablespoon

Method :

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

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).

When the seeds 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.

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

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

The spicy tangy amla pickle is ready to eat in a an hour or kept in the refrigerator for a fortnight.

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.

Always choose unblemished fruit that is firm and nice. Make sure there is no moisture while making or serving pickle for a long shelf life.

Recipe – UP Style Crushed Garlic Pickle


Crushed garlic pickle with whole garlic cloves in a mélange of spices is a typical UP style pickle perfect for winter. The heat and piquancy from crushed green chilies,  lemon n mustard seeds makes it delightfully flavourful. The other spices add to the flavor.
Pickles are an essential part of Indian meals and every region has their own special way of pickling. In fact, each household has some secret ingredients that make a particular pickle unique in its own way. This particular pickle recipe is from my extended family in Allahabad. Pickles can spruce up the simplest of meals plus homemade seasonal pickles are probiotic and good aid for digestion and if you are a garlic lover like me this will be a game changer pickle for you. You all know about the health benefits of garlic but I love
the way it enlivens any savory dish with its bold flavor. The beauty of this traditional  pickle is the use of both whole and crushed garlic pods. It’s meaty and crunchy at the same time. So here is the heirloom recipe of desi lahsun ka achar from Uttar Pradesh. I learned it from my cousin’s wife who lives in Allahabad. It is a boon to have parents from two different states and communities. There is a wealth of heirloom recipes one can learn.
Read the entire recipe before beginning. 
Ingredients :
250 gm – Garlic pods ( pealed)
50 gm – Fresh Ginger root  (pealed)
8-10 – Fresh Green Chilies
2 pinches ( 1/4 tsp) – Asafoitida
1/2 tsp – Turmeric Powder
1 tsp – Kalaunji (nigella seeds)
1 tsp – Fenugreek seeds
1 tsp – Coriander seeds
1 tsp – Fennel seeds
1 tsp – Ajwain ( bishops seeds)
1 tsp – Cumin seeds
Juice of 2 Lemons ( keep the squeezed lemon aside)
Plain salt as required
Black Salt as required
200 gm -Mustard oil + 4 Tbsp
Method :
Collect all the ingredients at one place along with a dry clean glass jar to keep the pickle. Remember to keep your hands and all the utensils clean and dry. This will ensure the longevity of the pickle.
Select unblemished Garlic bulbs with pods of medium thickness. Peal them and keep aside.
Dry roast all the whole spices on low heat one by one till they become fragrant and remove in a plate. You can dry roast together too but I prefer to do separately. Slow roasted spices give the pickle its unique flavor which isn’t possible if you use them unroasted.
Once done let it cool completely and then grind 3/4 of the whole spices coarsely in a grinder. The remaining whole spices we will add as it is. Keep aside both the ground and whole spices.
Now, in the same jar coarsely grind 3/4 of the garlic pods along with the green chilies. use the chilies as per your heat thresh hold and make sure they don’t overpower the taste of garlic. We won’t use red chili powder in this pickle. Rest of the garlic pods will go whole in the pickle. This mixing of both the crushed and whole garlic enhances the taste.
Grate the fresh ginger root and keep aside. You can omit ginger if you wish. I know a few who do not prefer it in this pickle.
Once you juice the two lemons, cut the squeezed lemons in small pieces. throw away the seeds. Keep aside. Adding these small juicy lemon pieces will add the tangy flavor to the pickle. I make it without the pieces too but it brings a variety in taste with every bite if you add these.
Once everything is ready, keep a kadhai or wok on high flame and add the oil. Let it heat up nicely and smoke. This is important. Now, lower the flame to minimum. Take out 3-4 tbsp of oil and keep aside.
Add asafoetida and ground garlic, green chili mixture. Stir properly and then add the whole garlic pods too. Mix well and fry it properly on low heat. Keep stirring so that it
doesn’t stick to the wok or burns.
Add the grated ginger and stir properly.
Add turmeric powder, salt and stir. Salt will help it to soften and roast well. All these things like salt, oil, lemon help in preservation and this pickle can last minimum for an year but as it is considered heat generating so eat it in winter time only. 
The garlic soaks up the oil so don’t worry about the quantity. Mustard oil is good for health too especially in winters.
Once the mixture gets nicely roasted and gives out a sondha aroma it will begin to release the oil. At this point add the ground spices. Adjust the amount as per the garlic mixture. Don’t add too much. Add the whole spices too and mix well. 
Stir for a few minutes then add the lemon pieces and mix well. Add black salt at
this point. Be careful of adding both the salts. The plain salt should be less than black salt.
Now add the lemon juice and mix well. We don’t have to fry the mixture now. Just a few stirs and we are done.
Turn off the heat and remove the kadhai or wok on the counter to cool. It must cool completely before bottling.
Once the achaar is cooled spoon it in clean dry airtight glass jars. Add a little bit of the
reserved oil on top and close the lid tightly.
Keep it in sun for 4-5 days. Shake the bottle occasionally so that the ingredients mix well.
The pickle will be ready to eat after sunning. Enjoy it with bhakri or as an accompaniment to any main course.
Always use clean, dry spoon to take out the pickle for serving.
Let me know if you make this. Make your own pickles at home. They are much more healthy and nutritious than the market bought which are laden with too much oil, salt and preservatives.

Bengali Kachcha Aamer Mishti Chutney


The one is the down right corner is without sweet for my mother. If you use sugar instead of jaggery the color will be golden yellow.

It is amazing how certain dishes are prepared and relished all across India with slight variations in the spices. This version of launji is slightly different from the one I make North Indian style.  Here is the recipe for Meethi Khathai as called it since childhood.

In this version of kachcha Aamer mishti chutney I have used panch phoron. I keep the mango stones ( guthli) in the dish as I love to suck on the spicy tangy sweet guthli. I also keep a lot of liquid in this. A mandatory side dish in summer when the markets are flooded with raw and ripe mangoes.

You can have a bowlful on its own or pair it with steamed rice, paratha, roti etc. Some people peel the mangoes in this dish but I keep the peel.

One more thing that I do is marinate the raw mango slices with red chili and salt for 10 minutes so that the fruit releases water and softens a little.

It quickens the cooking process too.

Here’s a simple way to make this wonder dish.

Ingredients –

Raw mangoes – 1/2 kg (4 medium size)

Organic Jaggery (grated/powder) – 1/2 cup / as desired ( I prefer the chutney a little sour) Fresh grated ginger – 1/2 tbsp

Water -3-4 cups 9 depends on how much liquid you need)

Whole dry red chilies – 2-3

Black mustard seeds – 2-3 tsp

Panch Phoran – 1 tsp (roasted and pounded cumin, fenugreek, mustard, nigella and fennel seeds)

Salt – to taste

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Mustard oil – 2 tbsp

Steps – 

Wash and cut mangoes with skin lengthwise. Keep the stone.

In a wide plate keep the mango slices and stones, sprinkle salt and red chilli powder and rub it in till every piece is coated. Let it rest.

After 10 minutes heat mustard oil in a thick bottom pan.

Add the mustard seeds and dry red chilli as a tempering. Once the seeds crackle, add the marinated mango pieces and the mango stones. Give a good stir.

Saute it for 5-10 minutes n low medium heat and then stir in grated ginger and turmeric.

Add water to your liking, increase heat and bring it to boil. This preparation is a bit thin so I keep one and half cup extra jhol over the amount needed to cover the mango pieces.

Once the liquid starts boiling lower the heat and let the mango cook till soft yet firm. Don’t let it disintegrate.

At this point add the jaggery. You can use Sugar too. Mix well. Test for sweetness, salt and spice threshold. Add if required more. If you add the jaggery/sugar before the mangoes won’t soften so make sure the mango pieces have softened to your satisfaction.

Sprinkle the panch phoran and stir. Turn off the gas and let it cool to room temperature.

Spoon the aam er chutney in a glass bowl or Jar. Always use glass containers for sour dishes.

You can keep this in an airtight container for 5-7 days in the fridge.

Use dry, clean spoons to take out the chutney.

Relish this side dish as a post meal dessert or with steamed rice or luchi.

Note – If you do not have panch phoran you can use bhaja masala or roasted cumin and roasted fennel powder too.

Sweet And Tangy Tamarind And Dates Chuteny (Saunth) – Recipe


This is one of the most sought after chutneys in India especially in north India. Filled with the goodness of tamarind, jaggery, dates, raisins, dry  gingers etc this sweet and tangy dark chutney is often added to Dahi Vadas, Papdi Chat, gol guppa, bhel-poori, patties, aaloo tikiya, pakodas, boiled Corn on Cob and many other dishes which are an important part of Street food in india. Chaat is incomplete without this lovely sticky chutney and the minty green chutney.

A little gooey like a fruit preserve this can be stored for at least a year. Sounth as it is known in Uttar Pradesh, is spiced with dry ginger or soonth/sonth, hence the name. The sourness of tamarind is balanced by the sweetness of jaggery and the dry ginger adds the much-needed punch to the condiment.

The recipe is simple and easy to make.

Ingredients for the chutney:

Brown Tamarind – 250 Gms ( If using Tamarind paste use same amount)

Fresh Dates – 200 Gms (You can use Chuhara too (dry dates finely chopped ( optional) )

Dry Ginger – 1 Teaspoon

Jaggery – 100 Gms ( adjust according to taste)

Salt – 1/2 Teaspoon

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

Black pepper corns – 6-8 crushed fine

Black Salt – 2 pinches ( I don’t like it )

Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam masala ( home-made) – 2 pinches ( optional)

Raisins – 10-12

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Method – 

Clean and remove extra fiber from the tamarind if not using the paste.  Dip it in 100 ml of hot water and leave for 1/2 an hour ( you can microwave it for 2-3 min also).

Once the tamarind has softened, rub it with hand to extract all the pulp.. You can put it through a plastic sieve to get the maximum pulp. Discard all the fiber and seeds. ( I also put the dates and tamarind straight into 1 and half cup of water along with black peppercorns and place the pot on high heat till it boils and then lower the heat till it is fully cooked. Then turn the heat off and sieve it all to get a thick concoction. Pressing and rubbing with hand or back of spoon helps to extract all the pulp.) Add a little more water to help in the process.

Now, Put the thick mix of dates and tamarind pulp extract in a pot and add half a cup of water ( if needed.) The consistency of the chutney depends on your choice. It shouldn’t be very runny neither should it be very thick (like jam) but some people like it thick to use as a spread.

Add raisins, chuhara ( optional), dry ginger powder, chilli powder, roasted cumin seed powder, black salt and common salt to the liquid and keep boiling it on low flame. Add broken jaggery to the mixture and stir till it dissolves completely.

You may notice some froth forming on the surface. gently remove it with the spoon.

Taste the mixture a bit to adjust whatever you think needs to be added more.

When the mixture reaches the required thickness, turn off the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.

Once cool spoon it in air tight jars. You can keep this yummy chutney at least for 5-6 months in the fridge but I make small amount that lasts for 2-4 weeks and then another fresh batch)

When refrigerated the chutney often thickens a bit so when you wish to use some, take the desired amount with a clean dry spoon and add a little water ( as needed) to it before using.

Serve with any snack you like or just lick it off the spoon like I do. 🙂

Today I used it for Masala corn on cob and the recipe will be up soon. What more can one ask for during rainy season than a good roasted masala laden lemon drenched corn on cob or boiled one dipped in this spicy tangy sweet liquid.

Enjoy!

Baggout

Fresh Apricot, Dates and Raisin Chutney Recipe


I love apricots and the markets are flooded with these gorgeous fruit these days. Apart from making them a part of my daily fruit intake I love to make compote, preserve (click for my recipe of apricot preserve) , chutney etc from any seasonal fruit I can find in the market. Apricot chutney is delicious and a perfect condiment with cold meats, grilled meats, parathas, bread, cheese crackers, tacos etc. It sure is a great accompaniment for curries, roasts and in sandwiches.

You can even lick it off the spoon any time of the day for a tangy sweet experience. It is gluten-free, low in calorie and full of flavour plus nutrition. Packed with vitamins , fiber, this iron rich date, raisin, apricot chutney is one thing I always have in the fridge during summer. Ginger and other spices give it a burst of flavor. Overall it is a treat.

To make this lovely chutney you need

Fresh Apricots – 500 gms (washed, pitted and roughly chopped with skin)

Raisins – 1/2 cup

Dates – – 1/4 cup ( roughly chopped)

Red or White Onion – 1 Medium

Garlic – 2-3 pods ( crushed and chopped finely)

Ginger – 1/2 inch (made into juliennes) (can use glace candied ones too 1/4 cup)

Red chilli whole -1 Small

Peppercorns – 5-6 crushed or whole

White vinegar/ apple cider vinegar/ malt vinegar or lemon juice – 1/4 cup or juice of one lemon

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam Masala * – 1/4 teaspoon

Olive Oil – 2 tablespoon

Honey – 3 tablespoons

Sugar – 1/2 cup ( as required) ( brown or white. You can add palm jaggery or sugarcane jaggery too)

For the muslin spice infusion bag 

Bay leaf – 1

Peppercorns -8

Mace blade – 1

Cinnamon stick –  small piece

Cloves – 3-4

All spice – 1

All spices slightly roasted and tied in the infusion bag)

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Directions – 

Wash, dry, pit and chop Apricots. Chop dates and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add peppercorns and red chilli. (You can remove the red chilli before spooning it in jar)

Add chopped onion and stir till translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Stir for a minute. Keep this on low flame.

Add chopped apricots, dates and raisins. Stir.

Add the dry powder masalas and salt.

Add sugar and little water (about 1/4 cup)

Add the spice infusion bag.

Bring it to boil and let it cook till the fruit becomes soft.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens to the desired consistency.

Add honey and vinegar or lime juice. Stir constantly on medium heat so the chutney doesn’t stick to the pan.

You can taste and adjust the sweetness etc as desired.

This chutney takes about an hour to cook. You can use slow cooker also.

Once the chutney reaches its desired consistency put out the heat and let it cool till it reaches room temperature.

Remove the spice infusion bag.

Spoon the yummy chutney in sterilized air tight mason jars and refrigerate. Use of lemon juice or vinegar helps in preservation.

One can keep it for a couple of days or a few weeks in the fridge.

Fruit selection – Always use sweet-smelling fruit. It will definitely taste good.

Tips – You can get creative with this chutney and ad/ remove dry fruits. Add sultanas instead of raisins, add apple shreds or orange rings. It is an artwork in which you get to use the imagination and bring out something delicious.

*Garam Masala – I make it at home with black whole cardamom, clove, peppercorn, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. all roasted slightly and ground to a fine powder)  We use very little of it as there are already whole spices infused in the chutney.

Enjoy !

Recipes – Two Easy Coconut Chutneys


I love coconut in all forms for its nutritive values. The coconut tree is called”Tree of life”  because of its medicinal qualities. Coconut is used  in traditional as well as modern medicines to treat various ailments. Full of fibers, minerals and vitamins which include B, B2, C, niacin and iron it is called “functional food” and either eaten raw or used in various preparations across India and in many parts of the world.

Chutney is a popular condiment  in India and is now served around the world today with all kind of cuisine. Chutneys are made using fruits, spices, herbs and vegetables and compliment the flavor of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Here we will learn to make two simple yet delicious chutneys using coconut. Each has a distinct flavor.  Ingredients used to make basic coconut chutney include grated coconut, fresh green chilies, ginger, salt, mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chillies. I have used mint and corriander in one and fenugreek seeds in the other.

Coconut Green Chutney 

Green chutney is made using fresh cilantro (coriander), cumin seeds, fresh green chillies, lemon juice, mint leaves, onions and salt. The vitamin benefits of the fresh mint and lemon juice used to make the green chutney include Vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B6, E, folate and niacin.

To make coconut chutneys first we need to select a fresh mature coconut. Crack it open and remove the water in a glass. Then the next step is to scrape the tender fragrant flesh.

Method of  making Green Chutney :

Ingredients :

Grated Fresh Coconut – 250 grams

I large bunch of Fresh Coriander leaves – cleaned, washed and chopped. (I use tender stalks also as they contain a lot of nutrients)

I large bunch of fresh Mint leaves –  Cleaned, washed and roughly chopped

4-5 green chilies ( number depends on taste and size of the green chilies )

5-6 Garlic pods – crushed

Cumin seeds – I teaspoon

Sugar – I Teaspoon

Salt – according to taste

Juice of one large lime ( according to taste)

To Temper :

Mustard seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

cumin seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

Urad dal (white) – 1/4 teaspoon

Curry leaves – A few

Method :

 Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend coarsely until you have a thick paste, adding a little water if necessary.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Take it out in a bowl and add lime juice.

Heat a teaspoon of oil and let he ingredients for tempering splutter. Pour it over the chutney and serve.

You can keep the chutney in the fridge and even freeze it but I prefer to make it fresh every time. I keep the fresh grated coconut in freezer and use it when needed.

 Coconut Fenugreek  Seed Chutney  

This recipe was handed over to me by a relative who perfected it in his kitchen.

 Ingredients: 

1/2 Medium size coconut grated

Raw green mango – medium size

Jaggery – 1/2 cup crushed

Dry Red Chilies – according to taste

Fenugreek (methi) seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Warm water – 1/4 cup

Method : 

Take the grated coconut in a bowl and keep aside.

Peel and slice/ grate  raw mango

pond and break Jaggery in small pieces

In a small seasoning pan take one tablespoon of oil and stir fry red chilies and fenugreek seeds till slightly reddish-brown. Make sure they do not burn or get over roasted.

Coarsely grind these with the salt and keep aside

Place all ingredients in a plate . The heaps of numbers 2,3,4 should be of  equal quantity.

Now, grind all the ingredients in a grinder placing ground fenugreek- chilies, jaggery, mango and coconut in that order.. ( It is always best to use a traditional grinding slab made of stone to bring out the right flavors and consistency but now a days an electric grinder will do. Make use to keep the paste coarse ) .

The order in which ingredients are added to any dish is very important to bring out the right taste.

Add warm water and salt while grinding.

Water is added according to the desired consistency.

Once the chutney is ready , take it out in a ceramic or glass bowl and serve.

          Note : Never use steel or any other metallic utensil for keeping sour things.