I have a niece who has a farm where Amlas or Indian gooseberries grow abundantly . On a recent visit, they sent me back with a carton of these sweet and sour beauties (in a size that I have yet to see elsewhere. I guess XXL would fit the bill). Not knowing what to do with them, I asked my mother for a solution. She suggested that we make Usirikai Pachadi, a very traditional Telugu accompaniment to rice or to curd rice - a staple South Indian favorite. My first time at this, it came out well even if I have to say so myself. Very tasty - tart and spicy at the same time. Perfect foil for soothing "perugu annam" or "thaiyir sadam"
Gooseberry is also known as Usirikai in Telugu, Nellikai in Tamil and Amla in Hindi. Widely used and eaten in India, it is powerhouse of nutrition particularly rich in Vitamin C. It is used in a lot of Ayurvedic medicines for obvious reasons. It is supposed to help in reducing cholestrol and in stabilizing blood pressure.
6 large gooseberries
2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons Oil
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek)
1/2 teaspoon asfoetida powder
2 red chillies
4 green chillies
handful of coriander leaves
Pound the gooseberries till the seed separates. Be careful not to pound the seed. Add salt and turmeric powder and grind in the food processor till fine. Do not add water as this will result in the chutney getting spoilt too fast. Keep aside.
This can be kept aside for almost a year without getting spoilt just as long as you add enough salt. So in season make a large batch of this and keep in a "jaadi" to use in chutneys or pickles whenever you need a bit of tang on your tongue.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they pop add methi seeds and red chillies. fry for a couple of minutes till redchillies look fried. Add the asfoetida at this point and switch off the flame.
Grind some of the kept aside mixture along with the coriander leaves and green chillies and the fried popu/tadka.
Enjoy with plain hot rice and ghee or with "perugu annam"!!!