734. Amla Pickle – Gujarati Style
Berries in true sense are not the berries we all know… strawberries, mulberries, raspberries, blackberries etc. These in the botanical world are known as aggregate fruits. Berries are fruits produced from a single ovary. So in botanical sense tomatoes, cucumber, eggplants, bananas, pumpkins, melons are berries. Did you know that grapes too are berries? Yes they are.
However for our FoodieMonday/Bloghop #123rd theme, Berries we meant berries that we normally know. We had to prepare something using berries. Berries are small pulpy and often edible fruits. Before food was cultivated, berries were gathered by primitive men as a source of food, many animals feed on berries. It’s probably presumed that during prehistoric time men may have sampled berries that animals consumed to supplement their diet.
Berries are considered power food, having the highest amount of antioxidants. Blackberries, goji berries and Indian Gooseberries (amla) tops the list. Antioxidants help in fighting cancer. Consuming blueberries and strawberries helps to protect brain, helps improve sleep quality as it contains melatonin. Blueberries help to improve memory. Berries help to reduce muscle soreness, prevent stroke, relieve visual fatigue. Its commonly recommended to consume cranberries to fight bladder infections, acai berries improve immune system and relieve arthritic pain.
Berries like blackberries, mulberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, blueberries, etc are common summer fruits in the temperate regions. However hot or tropical regions too have their share of berries. I remember we had a huge mulberry or setoor tree in our garden and we would pluck the berries and eat them. My grandmother would shout at us as we ate them without washing them! Mulberries(shahtoot, setoor), gooseberries, cape gooseberries, Indian blackberries (jamun), bora berries, West Indian cherries, Himalayan blackberries are a few examples. However, the most common tropical berries I know of are jamun, amla, bora, shahtoot and strawberries.
When the topic berries was suggested by fellow member Saswati of Delish Potpourri, I wished I was in Montreal and that too during summer. Our daily breakfast included loads of berries. But as they say, make the best of what is available locally. I decided to use Indian Gooseberry or Amla to prepare a dish for this theme. The ideas running through my mind was an amla drink, amla rice, chutney and finally settled for pickle. Yes finally trying my hands out on pickles and not just the two that I regularly make, chundo and lemon pickle. The other reason I used amla is because back home in Kenya, I don’t get really nice huge, juicy amla.
Amla as mentioned above is rich in antioxidants which help to combat free radicals that are responsible for degenerative diseases and aging. Its rich in Vitamin C and E. Vitamin C helps to fight colds and flus and Vitamin E is good for the skin. Though the berry is sour, it helps to reduce acidity in the stomach. Amla helps to build, repair and sustain the human body. Amla taken with a bit of honey helps to relive asthma and reduces bronchitis complications. Amla strengthens the heart muscles and lowers cholesterol.
I decided to make the pickle Gujarati style…. no don’t worry its not loaded with sugar. Check out the recipe for this really easy pickle. Bottled a jar to take all the way to Bali for my son and daughter in law and the rest we’re enjoying with practically everything from parathas, bread to khichdis.
AMLA PICKLE GUJARATI STYLE
Makes approx 3 cups
recipe idea : Nisha Madhulika
500g(10-12 pieces) Indian Gooseberries (amla)
4 tbsp coriander seeds (dhania)
4 tbsp mustard seeds (rai)
3 tbsp fennel seeds (valiyari)
2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
4 tbsp red chilli powder
1tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp asafetida (hing)
2-2½ tbsp salt
1½ -2 cups oil
2-3 tbsp jaggery powder
- Wash the amla and wipe them dry with a kitchen towel.
- Cut the amla into pieces or segments. Discard the seeds.
- Heat 1 cup oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped amla and let it cook till its a bit soft. Stir it occasionally.
- In the meantime, heat a tawa or frying pan over low heat.
- Roast the seeds separately till they give out an aroma and are crunchy. I started with coriander, followed by fennel, mustard, fenugreek and nigella.
- Let the seeds cool a bit.
- Process the seeds separately into coarse powders. Mix the powders.
- When the amla becomes a bit soft(don’t overcook them), take the pan off the heat.
- Heat the remaining oil till its hot in a another pan.
- In the meantime add the ground seeds powder, turmeric powder, asafetida, red chili powder, salt and jaggery to the amla oil mixture.
- Mix well.
- Add the hot oil to the amla pickle and mix well.
- Once it is cool, spoon into sterilized jars or jar.
- Enjoy the pickle with parathas, rotis, bread, with rice dishes etc.
- There’s nothing better than freshly ground spices to make a tasty pickle.
- I added 2 tbsp of red chili powder and 2 of Kashmiri red chili powder. You can add the hot chili powder if you prefer hot pickle.
- I reduced the amount of salt as my family does not like pickles that are too salty.
- Adjust the spices according to your taste.
- Don’t burn the spices when you roast them. Roast them over low heat.
- I used sunflower oil. You can replace it with sesame oil or mustard oil or an oil of your choice.