Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nellikai Urukai/Amla Achar/Gooseberry pickle

Pickles are a staple in all Indian household. We usually have 5-6 varieties of pickles and thokkus at any given time. M is that crazy about pickles. He likes spicy Indian pickles. I like Citron and Garlic pickle.
But maybe twice in a month is what I m in for. M can have rotis, dosas, idlis rice practically anything with pickle (p.s: he needs the right kind of pickle to go with each main dish.. now you know why we gather so much pickle varieties). My maternal grandma was known for her pickling skills, especially her citron, lemon, raw mangoes...hmmm...they were spicy, juicy and yumm.. she used to make batches after batches of pickles and vadams in summer to distribute to her children. The pickling process to her was an art and she followed it religiously which resulted in super-tasty pickles that would keep in the shelves for more than a year or two. The most important thing about her pickles was that she used different combination of spices that would vary between the veggies. The taste of lemon and the spices in it will not be the same as the mangoes and they were insanely good. Amma follows Grandma’s recipes and makes pickles and gives it to me. She makes those especially for M as Appa is also not a big fan of pickles except for citron (like papa; like daughterJ) Now i have run out of all homemade pickles and there are only jars of store bought pickles lined up in my shelf. So l decided to try some pickle and instantly thought of making lemons as they are easily available. But when i visited Sabzi mandi last week I saw these fresh, juicy amlas and it dawned on me that amla pickles are perfect for a beginner as they do not require to any brining. So immediately bought those and tried these after getting the recipe from Amma and it turned out to be a hit. If i can pickle then why not anyone else.. do try it...

Amlas/gooseberries/nellikai-10, large
Turmeric powder-1 tsp
Salt-1 tbsp
To Roast and Grind:
Red chillies (long)-8-10
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds-1/2 tsp
* In a tsp of oil roast the red chillies till they slightly turn brown in colour.
* Dry roast the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in simmer until they waft aroma and cool it. Grind the red chillies, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds together.
* The powder will be coarse as the quantity is very little.
To Temper:
Gingelly Oil/nallennai-3 -5 tbsp
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
How it Happened:
1. Wash the amlas well, and dunk them in 3 cups of water/ until the amlas are immersed well along with turmeric powder and salt.
2. Cook them in medium flame for 10-12 minutes. When the amla split along the veins/lines, switch off the flame.
3. Drain the water completely and pat dry the amlas in the kitchen towel. Remove the seeds/stones in the amlas and split the pieces. They can be easily split as they are boiled.

4. Heat gingelly oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and when they pop, simmer the flame and add the roast powder and give it a stir. Add some salt.
5. Add the amla pieces and mix them well so that they get coated in the masala. Allow them to cook in medium flame for 5 minutes.
6. Switch off the flame and cool them down completely. Transfer it to a clean dry air-tight container.

*Adjust the chillies according to your taste. The measurements i have given are normal for a pickle. Really i added 12 fiery chillies as we have some spicy palates.
* The salt is added in the tempering to give the outer layer some salt as well. As we do not do any brining salt is to be added a little more.
* More the oil better the taste!

* Do not add more fenugreek seeds as it may turn the pickle bitter.