Indian gooseberry pickled is a deliciously tart, spicy and flavorful achar made with amla / nellikka. Usually served as a condiment for rice, gruel or porridge . This is a very traditional recipe used in most Kerala homes to make nellikka achar. Hence most Malayalees who love home cooked rice and curry meals have a special place in their place for this one.
Raw amla ,a lesser known superfood is a medicinal fruit containing high amounts of Vitamin C. There are many references in the Buddhist culture to embolic myrobalan . Many standing structures are seen with holding this fruit in the right hand. In Sanskrit (the ancient language of India ) gooseberry is called amalaki. The dried fruit is much sort after in the natural dye and hair coloring industry.
The flavors of Indian gooseberry has no comparison with any other fruit. It has a tart, bittery flavor to start with as you chew it turns out to be sweet on the taste palette. You will definitely have a riot of flavors in your mouth when you bite into a raw gooseberry. It is a party fun time challenge I give my western friends. Most people give me a confused look when I ask them to identify the flavors. They most often tell me it is nothing they can compare to they have taste before. It is a surprise fruit and the taste even has a proverb in Malayalam saying how the young should listen to the experienced older generation loosely translates to - first it would be bitter and sweet later.
Interestingly the fruit when cooked becomes a sweet and tart one that can be served with rice. My favorite pickle to pack for lunch as seen below.
- If fresh gooseberry is available in the Indian stores go for that else head to the frozen section and you will find it there.
- Use good quality vinegar for better taste.
- Skip ginger or garlic if it is too overpowering the gooseberry flavors
- Asafetida and fenugreek seeds are the essential part of pickle aroma simply do not skip that.
- Add more water vinegar combo if you need more sauce in the pickle this will soften the gooseberry considerably.
Other traditional Kerala style pickle are instant mango pickle , ginger pickle , lemon pickle varieties. These are very spicy and hit all the right spots if you love intense flavors of such condiments.
This gooseberry pickle is usually goes with rice gruel, rice or broken wheat porridge or with plain rice stir fries and mild curries. As seen in pic the Indian gooseberry pickle usually appears in the lunch box along with manga Chammanthi etc because these do not spoil easily even in hot and humid climate. Therefore makes it easier for packing traditional lunches for work or school or long distance travel.
Indian gooseberry pickled
- 10-12 Indian gooseberry Use fresh but frozen works too
- 1 inch piece Ginger
- 8 cloves Garlic
- 1 sprig Curry leaves
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1-2 Green chili Serrano or spicy variety
- 2 tsp Chili powder More for color, less heat variety (Paprika )
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt or as per taste
- 1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds Dry roasted until brown
- 3/4 tsp Asafetida
- 1 tbsp Sesame oil
- 1/4 cup Vinegar Rice vinegar
- Steam the gooseberry (In a double boiler / steamer) until 3/4 th cooked for 10 minutes on high heat. The pieces should come apart easily but not too soft. (It will turn into a mush when pickled)Once cool take apart the the gooseberry pieces by gently pressing on the top and bottom and it should come apart on the natural separations.Discard seed.Glide the knife slightly to help.
- Dry roast the fenugreek until deep brown. Pound it to powder. (Since the quantity is so less If you try powdering in spice blender or mixie it might not work) See video for my technique.
- In a heavy bottom pan heat 1/2 cup water and bring it to a rolling boil then pot the vinegar when this too comes to a boil keep this liquid mixture aside to cool down.
- Heat sesame oil add mustard seeds when it splutters add chopped ginger, green chili and garlic saute until the raw aroma goes. Also add curry leaves. Reduce heat to lowest now move these fresh spices to the side of the pan then add asafetida to the hot oil in the pan also add the chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Saute until the chili powder turns to dark brown (take care not to burn the spices powders)
- Add the prepared gooseberry pieces and fenugreek powdered mix everything well but don't break or mash the gooseberry. Switch off the heat and allow the gooseberry to cool down completely then add the water vinegar mixture prepared earlier mix this well. Store in airtight clean bottle. Start using the pickle after 2-3 days.
Hope you will give this spicy Indian gooseberry pickled a try and let me know.
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