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.

Indian Gooseberry | Amla Preserve In Honey


I wrote some days back about the goodness of Amla or Indian Gooseberry. The fruit is in abundance these days and I am making full use of it. I love it in pickles, juices, chutneys, jams, and add it to rice, daals, salads etc. The amla tambli, amla supari and amla candy are delicious. I will try to post the recipes as I make them.

In this post we will make a simple preserve with honey. Honey has medicinal properties and this preserve is very good for immune system among other things.

The fruits cut in small wedges absorb the goodness of organic or wild honey and taste delicious. A tonic for those suffering from anaemia. I benefited from it immensely.

Some people use sugar for the preservation but I prefer honey for obvious reasons.

To make this preserve all you need is good quality honey and Amlas.

Make sure the containers are clean and dry.

Method :

Take fresh amlas and wash them with drinking water. Pat dry and keep aside. ( you can alternately cut raw ones into wedges and dry them in the sun to get rid of the water in the fruit before using).

In a clean, dry glass jar add whole amlas or wedges. If using them whole, do remember to prick them with a fork so the honey gets absorbed.

Pour honey over Amla wedges till they are totally immersed in it. Close the top with a muslin cloth or lid and keep the jar in the sunlight for 5-7 days.

The fruit will leach water so don’t worry. Just let it bleed all the water. Amla wedges will settle at the base full of honeyed goodness.

Once that’s done, take another dry and clean bottle. Transfer the fruit minus the liquid in the new bottle and add fresh honey.

The preserve is ready to eat.

Exposure to sun ensures the longevity of the preserve.

Use the leftover thinned down honey for second batch. I just keep it in the fridge till the next use or sometimes mix it in juices smoothies etc.

If using fresh sun-dried amla, just wait till all the water dries up and then you can put it straight in the honey. No need to change twice.

Both methods work fine. Be sure to keep the preserve in hot sunlight for a few days. Keep making a new lot when the first is about to finish.

Enjoy this delicious and healthy preserve daily to reap its full goodness.

Recipe – Indian Gooseberry | Amla Jam


 

Indain Gooseberry | Amla Jam

Indian Gooseberry | Amla Jam

I found good quality Alma in the local market and bought a large amount to pickle, preserve and use it in other dishes including chutney. Indian gooseberry jam has just the right sweet and sour taste that I enjoy. I added three very sweet Indian red delicious kinnaur apples to the jam to reduce the amount of  added sugar. All of my jams and jellies have natural fruit pectin. I avoid the commercial one. I do not use preservative either.

This is a simple recipe that stays well for a long time. I don’t add apples to this jam usually but instead of making apple jam this time I thought of combining the two with a hint of cinnamon, some fresh ginger & zest of lemon. Oh boy ! the result was simply superb. It tastes awesome with toasts, muffins etc.

 

Here is an easy step by step recipe for the Indian Gooseberry Jam

Ingredients :

Indian Gooseberry (Amla) – 1/2 kg

Apples – 3 medium (optional)

Sugar – 400 gm ( depends on how sour the amla is so adjust accordingly)

Grated ginger – 1/2 teaspoon

Juice & Zest  of one small lemon

Cinnamon powder – 2-3 pinches

Clove – 3-4

Water – to cook

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Method:

Wash and steam the Indian gooseberry or amla till they become soft. You can boil them or pressure cook. I kept a vegetable steamer in the cooker and give 2 whistles.

Remove the fruit in a plate and allow to cool.

Separate the fruit into wedges and throw away the pits.

Wash, peel, core and chop the apples (if using).

In a heavy bottom pan add the fruits, lemon zest, grated ginger and the spices along with water. The fruit needs to be totally immersed in water. (Approx half a liter)

Cook it on medium low heat and stir frequently till the fruits break down and resembles nice chunky amla/apple sauce.

You can pass it through a sieve at this point or leave it a little chunky as i did. Just mash it properly with a vegetable masher. You can remove the cloves while mashing. I often use clove powder so that the spice is not wasted.

Stir in the sugar. The mixture will become a little watery at this point. Don’t worry and keep stirring  till it comes to boiling point. Keep the heat medium.

(Be careful  as the mixture boils and bubbles. Depending on the size of your pot/pan it may splash.)

Squeeze the lime juice now and stir. Keep the heat low.

Remove all the froth that floats to the top.

Cook for some more time.

Do a plate test at this stage. ( Chill a plate beforehand. Drop some jam in the center of  the plate and prod gently, if the jam wrinkles on prodding it’s done. If it flows or is saucy then cook a little more. Test again till you get the right texture.

Turn off the heat and let it come to room temperature.

Keep the sterilized jars ready for canning. I simply wash the jars with hot water and dry them completely before using.

Spoon the jam in the jars and close the lids tightly. Stirlization of jars is essential if you are storing jams/jellies for a longer period.

I make small batches so avoid the process.

Always use clean dry spoon for serving.

Enjoy the Indian Gooseberry jam with hot crisp toasts, rotis (flat breads), crackers, any of the swiss or french breads.

 

*Adding apple is optional. The jam will need a bit more sweetness. You can add honey or more sugar. I want to make it with unrefined sugar too. I think it should work fine. Give it a try and let me know the result.

Sweetness remnds me of jam filled cup cakes I had somewhere. Have you tried making them at home?

Recipe – Indian Gooseberry |Amla Chutney With Peanuts


Indian gooseberries | Amla | Nellikai, dried or fresh, pickled or raw, I like them in any form. Apart from the usual culinary uses Amla also plays a major role in traditional Indian medicines. Unique in flavour, this lovely neon green fruit is in abundance. The ripe ones have a lovely golden yellowish hue. I have also seen some with a pink tinge or rusty-red, even white.

Though it is exceptionally tart and astringent, the water tastes sweet after a bite or two of this fruit. I love eating it raw with little sprinkle of cayenne pepper and salt. One has to develop a taste for it to eat raw but one can use it splendidly in chutneys, jams, murrabas (preserves), candies or grate it and add to vegetables, rice, daal, soups. salads too. Amla juice is considered very beneficial for many diseases and for cleansing the toxins from the body. Add amla to any of the fresh fruit juices to enhance its taste and nutritional value. The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C (100gm of amla has approx 600mg of Vitamin C, over 240% RDI). One berry may contain Vit C of two oranges. That’s a lot.

The fruit pairs well with many of the fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The classic green chutney with mint/coriander and amla is part of dialy meals across India.

When choosing the fruit, always pick the ones which are not bruised, taut and full to get maximum flavour.

I love to make chutneys of various kinds and you can use amla in a variety of chutneys. This one is with roasted peanuts. You can use soaked raw peanuts too. I prefer the roasted flavour. I didn’t know that peanuts weren’t actually nuts but were part of legumes like beans and that boiling peanuts increases its disease fighting compounds.

Peanuts are heart friendly and I love them in all forms. From simply roasted/boiled/ salted/unsalted ones for munching to adding them in various recipes or even those coated in jaggery. Remind me to make peanut brittle or moongphali ki patti. yummiest thing ever. A few days back I made the first batch of peanut butter and it is vanishing rapidly.

To make Amla Peanut chutney you will need :

Handful of shelled, roasted or soaked peanuts

Raw Amla – 1-2 medium size

Chopped coriander greens –  about 1/2 cup

Garlic pods – 3-4

Ginger – 1/2 inch

Green chilli – 2-3 ( as per taste and hotness)

Salt – as required

Ingredients in a grinder

Ingredients in a grinder

Method : 

You can soak the peanuts in drinking water and use them with the papery skin they have. I roasted the shelled peanuts on low heat till they gave out the toasty aroma. Once roasted, remove the skin by rubbing the peanuts between the palms of your hands. Use peanuts that are clean, not bruised or blemished or broken. Remember to use a handful to roast any nut. Nuts don’t like to be crowded. If you put a large amount they won’t get roasted equally and burn too.

Wash and cut the Amla in wedges. Remove the grape like pit. Chop green chillies, ginger and garlic roughly.

Add all the ingredients in a grinder with a bit of water to make a smooth paste. I do not like the chutneys to be very smooth so I leave them a bit grainy ensuring that the ingredients have grinded properly.

Spoon the chutney in bowl and squeeze some lime over it (half a lime).

Amla Peanut Chutney

Serve it with almost anything. Use it as spreads for sandwiches like I did or pair it with sooji / besan ka cheela.

The chutney goes well with everything.