Sweet and Salty Amla (Sundried Indian Gooseberry)

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This recipe was supposed to be named Amla Supari! But I didn’t want to call it that. The English equivalent that I thought for it was Indian Gooseberry Mouth Freshener. But a quick google search told me there is no such phrase/term as a MOUTH FRESHENER! I am very sure this term has been invented by an Indian while literally translating “Mukhwaas” to English :p. The names that we come up with!

This is a recipe for making a appetizing and super easy sweet and salty Amla at home. It can be had as a digestive aid, as a post-dinner mouth freshener (there is no such term 😉 ) or just for the nutritive goodness that Amla offers. Amla or Indian gooseberry is rich in Vitamin C and contains many other minerals and vitamins. It is impossible to describe its taste just by using one adjective. Its taste can be called sour, sweet, pungent, bitter and a bit astringent too. Well you see, it has almost every taste In fact, as per Ayurveda, its said that it can cure any and all kinds of diseases. It indeed is a super-food. 

It is only a few years back that I came to know about the health benefits of eating Amla. I was anyways quite fond of it for since childhood. When I was little, at home we always had more than a jar of homemade amla candy, amla murabba and off course this sweet and salty dried version. I used to love raw amla too. The best part was not eating the Amla but drinking water over it! A subtle sweetness would gush out! I never really understood then how that happened but would always be absolutely rejoiced. Water tastes so much sweeter and better! Honestly nothing much has changed even now. 

Coming to the recipe, gooseberries are first grated and then dried with some spices. Also, grated beetroot is added that imparts the lovely purple-ish pink colour to it. Adding beetroot is totally optional. I just love the pinkish tint and hence added it to the gooseberries. By the way, never in my dream would I have thought that I would make all these kinds of dried and preserved jams and pickles! But I am I am actually having a great time doing all of this. It is such a lovely feeling seeing huge plates and trays of these colourful hand grated amla drying in the veranda!

The process of making this sweet and salty amla is relatively simple although drying them in the sun takes time. Especially, as winter is at its peak now. And where I live, winters are too darn cold!

The recipe below calls for a kilo of gooseberries but you can off course make a lesser quantity. I am just being the hoarder than I am especially when it comes to food. As mentioned, adding beetroot is optional but it definitely enhances the colour.  

Ingredients

  • 1 Kilogram of raw Amla/awla (Indian gooseberry) 
  • 1 small or medium sized beetroot
  • 1 tbs rock salt
  • 1 tsp Ajwain (Carom seeds)
  • 250 gm regular powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Wash the gooseberries and finely grate the fruit part of them in a large mixing bowl. Discard the seeds. 
  2. Grate a raw beetroot. Now mix the grated beetroot with the grated amla. 
  3. Sprinkle rock salt, powdered sugar and carom seeds. Mix well. 
  4. In a large plate, a tray spread a thin layer of the gooseberry mixture. 
  5. Let it dry in the sun for 3-4 hours.Then cover the plate with a thin cloth or a lid to avoid it getting in contact with insects or dust.
  6. It will take around 5 days for it t get well dried. 
  7. Turn them around once or twice a day so that it gets exposed to the sun uniformly and dries well. 


Some tips:

  1. Depending upon how sunny it is, it will take around 3-5 days for it to get well dried. 
  2. Since we are not extracting the juice after we grate the gooseberries, it will take a little more time for it to dry well. But this definitely makes them taste better. 
  3. Once dried, store in an airtight container. It doesn’t need refrigeration. It easily remains fresh and healthy for easily 6 months. 

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