Pucker up : The goodness of gooseberry in your diet

“Shall I ship you some nellikai?” The query triggers reminiscences of my paati’s dwelling in Mysuru. Hot June, trip time, and because the relaxation of the home slumbers, my playmate Uma and I head to the gooseberry tree with low-hung branches the place we decide the sunshine inexperienced berries, faux they’re greens and ‘cook’ with them utilizing our Chennapatna toy kitchen set.

We giggle as we watch one another’s faces pucker on the tartness, however that doesn’t deter us. Older cousins have taught us effectively and we rapidly chase the gooseberry down with a glass of water. We marvel on the candy style in our mouth and go aaaaah.

For the sake of nostalgia alone, I purchase the nellikai (known as amla in the North). After deliberation with my mom (who suggests candy morabba) we lastly resolve to make it into thokku — a more healthy and the much less bold selection. This, of course, is adopted by nellikai speak with a number of buddies on WhatsApp.

In the know

Latha Anantharaman harvests nellikai from her farm close to Palakkad, and bottles them in brine. On scorching days, she dashes into her backyard, picks leaves from the ajwain plant, plucks Kandhari chillies and grinds all of them with coconut and the homegrown gooseberry. She provides curd to it for a refreshing, wholesome raita.


  • Ingredients
  • 15 large gooseberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • A giant pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (damaged into 2 or Three items)
  • four to five cloves
  • 2 dry purple chillies
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Method
  • Wash and boil the berries in water for about 5 minutes and drain effectively. Either minimize the berries into segments and discard the seeds, or simply rating every berry, leaving the seed in. This is to make sure the sugar is absorbed effectively. Heat oil, add the dried purple chillies, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for a couple of seconds. Add sugar and water. Bring to boil on a gradual flame. When the sugar has dissolved fully, add the gooseberry. Continue cooking on a gradual flame for 20 minutes to half an hour, until the syrup thickens and is decreased to 2/3 of its unique amount. Add the salt. Remove from warmth and funky. The syrup thickens additional on cooling. Store in dry, clear bottles with tight lids.

Her household recipes of pickles and even supari made of gooseberry have sheltered them from the demonic summer time lavatory winds of summer time, Smita Shakargaye from Bhopal is satisfied. Smita, who makes her personal papads and pickles, says one of her favourites is wedges of berry spiced with black salt, cumin, pepper and sugar and sundried right into a digestive supari. Bengaluru-based Usha Girish shares a morabba recipe (field).

Sreedevi Lakshmi Kutty in Coimbatore, sends me natural gooseberries sourced from her farmer good friend Manju Ilango, who grows them in a 30-acre natural farm at Thalavadi in Erode district. “I wish more people would consider making jams, pickles, juices and powders with them,” she says, “Our youngsters needs to be as accustomed to nellikai as they’re with oranges or apples.”

The drought-resistant gooseberry is one produce that ticks all of the packing containers of being native, subsequently sustainable, and of course nice for enhancing immunity, says Dr Abhilash Anand of Maitreyi Vedic Village at Aliyar on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. He is the managing director and chief Ayurveda doctor there.


  • Ingredients
  • 500 gm gooseberry
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds (one tsp for tempering and the opposite for roasting and grinding)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 5 tbsp oil (sesame oil ideally)
  • Chilli powder to style
  • Salt to style
  • Method
  • Put amla in a vessel with no water. Place the vessel in the cooker. After two whistles, flip the cooker off and funky. De-seed the gooseberry and coarsely mash/pulse in the mixie. Make certain it’s not too easy and some chunky items are fascinating. Roast the fenugreek and mustard seeds, then cool and powder. Heat oil and mood with mustard, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Once the mustard splutters, add turmeric, chilli powder to style and salt (add somewhat greater than you normally would). Mix effectively and add the coarsely mashed gooseberry. Cook on a medium flame. Adjust salt and chilli powder if you want. After about 10-15 minutes, the oil begins separating. Add the mustard methi powder and blend effectively. Cook for an additional couple of minutes. Make certain the combination doesn’t burn. Switch off the gasoline and permit the combination to chill. Put right into a glass bottle with a good lid and revel in. PS: If the gooseberry is simply too bitter, add some jaggery to it.

“There are endless benefits, if used wisely. In Ayurveda it is used to restore balance in the body, boost metabolism and rejuvenate organs. It de-toxes.” he says. The gooseberry could be a half of one’s each day diet, however in moderation, he cautions. “In rare cases, it may lead to acidity.”

According to gerontologist Dr Rahul Padmanabhan, “Vitamin C does complement the immunity mechanism in our bodies. It helps prevent and fight infections.”

“The season for gooseberry is from April to August and some of the best berries are harvested now, in May and June,” says Manju. She is gloomy that she has not been capable of go to her farm this yr. “Our manager there says the harvest is bountiful and the boughs of the trees are sagging with the weight of the fruits. In the good years we have harvested thousands of kilograms.”

Ironically, says Manju, there are few takers for one thing that grows so profusely right here. “We ought to use the nellikai much more as a substitute of chasing costly dietary supplements and unseasonal and unique options. We needs to be bottling it and pickling it. Whatever we do with our mangoes, could be performed with gooseberry.”

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