(Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(a)t

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wonder Citrus – Amla or Indian Gooseberry

It is mind-boggling to think of the multitude of nutrition-rich as well as delicious herbs, fruits and vegetables that are found in India. Growing up here, we tend to take these for granted. Until someone points out how power-packed they are.

Well, that’s how I feel when I think of this citrus fruit. Since childhood, we grew up seeing it in its myriad forms, yet never once stopped to find out about its properties or benefits. Until very recently that is.

Found all over the Indian sub-continent, Amla is the most potent source of natural (not synthetic) Vitamin C. The Vitamin found in the fruit isn’t destroyed by heat or light and is more easily assimilated by the body than its synthetic variant. Find more on the amla here and here.

Amla lends its versatility to a number of tasty concoctions from pickles, to juice, to perhaps its most famous avatar—amla murabba. As much as I like relishing the murabbas, having been born with a sour tooth, my favourite is the Amla pickle my grandma so lovingly made in a mustard oil base with spices similar to those used in the north Indian mango pickle.

It is said that to derive the most out of this gem of a fruit, it’s best to eat it in raw form. So just about a couple of years back, my mother came up with this innovative idea (not sure how original this is, but at our home, it was a novel idea alright) to eat Amla. Here’s how:


Amla – 3-4
Green chili – 2
Salt to taste


Just grate the amla and the green chili. Remove the amla seeds. Add some salt to the amla-chili mix. Your chutney/pickle is ready!

This must be made fresh. Goes very well with the regular roti/rice meals. And is one of the best ways to stock Vitamin C in your body—both amla and green chili being prime sources of the Vitamin.

Yet another way we have it is boil the amla, mash it into a pulp, add green chili, salt and a dash of mustard oil with it and have it with freshly made, hot plain rice. Much like what Anthony mentioned in his Mashed Potato post, except, as you can see, the amla version we make is much simpler, in the sense it requires lesser ingredients. But if you have a taste for sour, you will love it.

Don’t be shy to try!


8 comment(s):

Thank you Suri for this wonderfully simple recipe with gooseberries. I am a great fan of chutneys, but never made gooseberry chutney so far. A must-try for me.

Is that basil herb which is in the background of your picture? Just a guess. :-)

By Anonymous VK Narayanan, at 3:05 PM  

Yes, indeed, VKN. I took the picture in our backyard, and that's tulsi (basil) in the backdrop. Another personal favourite.

I hope you like the simple Amla chutney :)

By Anonymous Sury, at 3:16 PM  

Hi Sury!

Do check out http://hookedonheat.blogspot.com/2005/11/launching-from-my-rasoi-call-to-all.html

- Meena

By Anonymous Meena, at 9:17 PM  

Great idea, Meena! I do plan to participate. Now, to dish out something hot and spicy to go with your theme.

Mmm...I can hardly wait. Thanks for the heads up!

By Anonymous Sury, at 9:23 PM  

i wonder if i can get gooseberry in malaysia. nevertheless, your look finger licking good.

By Anonymous rokh, at 9:14 AM  

Aww, Rokh. Perhaps you could check in some Indian stores there? If not the raw fruit, I guess at least the gooeseberry murabba would be widely available (since they can be preserved for a long time). Those are delish too, if you haven't tasted them already :)

By Anonymous Sury, at 9:25 AM  

Sorry bud that I couldnt reply to your comment on my site. And Sury, do you have to publish a blog about the amlas right when I did? ;)))))) Ok, I made a gooseberry rasam, check it out :-p Ok I will come back some other day and leave a comment that is longer than your blog, bye for now;)))

By Anonymous Thamaraiselvan, at 7:17 PM  

Hey Doc, good to see you here. Even I pondered about the amla post so soon after you; only I saw it as a happy conincidence ;) Your rasam sounds (and looks) very inviting (just the kind of thing my sour-loving taste buds would prefer)! Will definitely try it out.

Do keep hopping over here when you can. And no probelm about not being able to respond to my comment on your blog. It was just to let you know I enjoyed your posts :)

By Anonymous Sury, at 7:30 PM  

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