Friday, December 8, 2017

Nellikkai Chutney And Nellikkai Chitranna - Indian Gooseberry relish And Rice

Nellikkai / Amla tree is one of the sacred trees of India.  Lord Krishna is said to reside in the Amla/Gooseberry tree. Gooseberry is also known as Dhatri. A special Pooja known as Dhatri Pooja is performed  during the month of Kartika ( Mid November - Mid December) under the Dhatri Tree (Gooseberry Tree), and a community feast - Vana Bhojana meaning feast in a forest - is served under the tree. It is considered auspicious to light lamps using gooseberries during this month. Gooseberries have been part of  our Saativk diet  since ancient times. It was believed that it promoted overall good health and prevented aging. Researches have proved that the benefits attributed to the divine Berry to be true. Gooseberry removes toxins from the blood and helps in improving anemic conditions. It is rich in Vitamin C which is an important nutrient to boost immunity. It activates the digestive juices thus helping to maintain a healthy digestive system.The high level of antioxidants found in the berry prevents premature aging. In Ayurveda Gooseberries are used in the preparation of various health tonics. It is said that the anti inflammatory properties of the wonder berry help in healing mouth ulcers, joint pains and swellings. During the season Gooseberries are pickled or sun dried and preserved for future use. Lip smacking Chutney, Pachadi, Gojju and Chitranna are prepared using fresh berries during the season. 
Gooseberries/Nellikkai - 300 gms (About 16 numbers)
Green chillies - 6
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dry roasted and ground Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
1. Wash the Nellikkais thoroughly and steam cook for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker or in any other steamer.

2. The segments of the berries will fall apart when steamed and the seeds can be removed easily.
3. Once the berries have cooled down grind them together with green chillies, turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida into a slightly coarse paste.

4. Heat sesame oil and splutter the mustard seeds.
5. Add the ground Nellikkai paste and keep stirring till the oil comes out.
6. Mix in the roasted and ground fenugreek powder.
7. Store in a clean and dry jar.

Enjoy the tongue tickling chutney with any dish of your choice.
A quick and easy Chitranna can be prepared by mixing Nellikkai chutney with rice and adding a splutter of seasoning.
Cooked rice - 1 cup
Sesame oil - 2tsps
Mustard - one pinch
Black gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Peanuts - a few
Curry leaves - a few
1. Fluff up the cooked rice using a fork so that each grain is separated.
2. Heat sesame oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds.
3. Add the dals and roast till they turn golden in colour.
4. Add peanuts and roast till they crack followed by curry leaves.
5. Pour the seasoning over the rice and mix well. The oil in the seasoning helps in keeping each grain of rice separate while mixing.
6. Add two table spoons of Nellikkai Chutney and mix with the seasoned rice using a spatula till each and every grain of rice is coated with the tangy chutney.

Relish the Nellikkai Chitranna as it is or with a roasted papad.

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