Wonder Citrus – Amla or Indian GooseberryIt 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!