Nellikai Pachadi / Amla Curd Pachadi / Gooseberry Pachadi
As an ingredient, Amla or Nellikai (Tamil) doesn’t need much introduction. It has a plethora of health benefits and each region across India and abroad use it in some or the other way to derive maximum benefits. While I love amla pickles, who doesn’t? I like to eat this delicious curd loaded Nellikai Pachadi (Raita in South India) to maximise the benefits of consuming amlas by pairing it with curds. After all, its summers and all you want to consume is something light, refreshing and curds!
When I was reading about Amla on Wikipedia, I came across something interesting so thought of including in the post. According to Hindu Mythology, Amla or Indian Gooseberry is said to have been originated from drops of Amrit during the Sagar Manthan (the fight between the Asuras and Devas) and hence loaded with health benefits. Another legend states that the Kanakadhara Stotram was recited by Adi Shankaracharya in the praise of Goddess Mahalaxmi to make a poor Brahmin lady wealthy, in return for amla as Bhiksha.
Amla is used widely as part of many Ayurvedic medicines too. Amla has sourness, is astringent, slightly bitter, pungent, is juicy and has sweet notes too which balances all the 3 doshas of the body – Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Anyone facing Pitta issues (increase in body heat) is advised to consume Amla juice on empty stomach early morning for best benefits. I personally know this, since I have performed this whole exercise of consuming the juice for 15 days and found great benefits, including a glowing skin as it is a blood cleanser too.
Thankfully Mumbai offers us Amla throughout the season which means I can make this anytime I want. Amla Pachadi or Nellikai Pachadi is an acquired taste, according to me. while I have seen many people adore it, quite a few have been completely put off by it due to the sourness and acidity. In case of pickles, the acidity and the robustness of the amla is controlled by the addition of salt, lemon juice and some red chilli powder. Also, the marination or soaking in the salt and turmeric mixture helps control its aciditiy to a larger extent.
We, South Indians on the other hand, love this as we grow up eating a lot of bitter and strong pungent items including neem, bitter gourd etc and since we are also partial to sour ingredients like lemon and tamarind, amla is surely welcomed. We make Amla Rice also at home which is just like lemon rice, sour and spicy and even Amla Dal to acquire full benefits of including Amla as part of the meal. I make this during summers as the weather demands cooling of the body.
So, rather than heading over to consume sugary iced drinks after a long day outdoors, have some Amla or Nellikai Pachadi instead .. You will be cooler inside and out!
Recipe for Amla (Gooseberry) Curd Pachadi (Raita)
Prep Time – 10 minutes
Cook Time – 20 minutes
Serves – 4 nos.
- Amla or Gooseberry – 5 nos.
- Thick Curd Yoghurt – 1.5 cups
- Grated coconut – ½ cup
- Green chillies – 4 nos.
- Salt as per taste
For the Tempering
- Curry leaves few sprigs
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
- Whole Red chillies – 1 or 2 nos. broken into half
- Wash and pat dry the amlas or gooseberries and then place them in a steamer for 10 minutes until they are soft and slightly mushy.
- Once steamed and cooled, remove the seeds from the centre (they open easily – see the 2nd pic below).
- Now grate the amla and keep aside.
- In a mixer grinder jar, add the grated coconut and green chillies and mince it.
- In a bowl, add the grated amla, salt, curd, and the grated coconut and chillies mixture. Stir everything well and check for salt. If required add extra or else, prepare the tempering.
- In a pan, heat the oil and then add mustard seeds, once they crackle, add the curry leaves and the whole red chillies.
- Pour the tempering over the curd and amla mixture. Mix well and refrigerate it until serving.
Recipe Notes –
- This Pachadi / Raita tastes best when chilled and served. Also, during summers, its ideal to store curd related items in the refrigerator until serving to prevent them from turning sour.
- You can mix some grated Carrots too and add them, tastes good.
- Tastes best with both rotis and rice.
- If you are preparing it for guests, add curd and salt only when you are planning to have your meal, else it turns very watery. Thick pachadis are always tastier (as shown in the pic).
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