Before I started blogging, there were certain dishes/ recipes which were never on my ‘to do’ list. Not because they were not to my liking or I found them intimidating but simply because I always considered them to be belonging to either my Mom’s or my Mom-in-laws arena coz I believed that they make them the best!

Pickles (though I do make a few of them), relishes, chutneys/ chatni, preserves were something I always associated with either moms or grannies. Actually these dishes need not just skill but also experience, which of course is passed on from generation to generation, and perhaps that is why we all love our granny’s or our mother’s or mother-in-law’s pickles, preserves et al.
My mother-in-law was visiting me a few weeks back and knowing that I am blogging on food, she encouraged me to try my hand on a preserve. She suggested gooseberry of all the things! I remembered eating them as a kid and also that I used to abhor the store bought ones (since my mother never made them at home). They used to be ultra sweet…almost diabetes inducing! But this recipe by my mother-in-law is to die for – slightly sweet, slightly sour, a hint of cumin, goldenish, syrupy…yummm…

I wasn’t too excited with the prospect and somewhat reluctantly settled to the idea of me making a preserve. Actually she did offer to make it but I felt that I should try it on my own coz this way I would be able to understand the process better and also understand any mistakes that I might make. For some reason she had to leave for my brother-in-law’s house. She then gave me instructions over the phone and I successfully made the preserve though I did make a little mistake but she helped me rectify it J

Here is what goes into this preserve
1 kg Indian gooseberry (amla)
1 kg+250 gms sugar (adjust the amount but you certainly need at least a kg)
½ tsp alum powder (phitkari)
½ tsp cumin (jeera)
1 small pinch asafoetida (heeng)
2 pinch citric acid granules
Juice of one lemon (small sized)

Wash and prick the gooseberries all over with a fork
Submerge them in enough water and add alum powder to it.
Let them soak for 24 hours
Then wash the gooseberries well (about 4-5 times)
Crush the cumin to a coarse powder (do not roast it)
Boil water in a wide-mouthed container and add the gooseberries
Cook till they start rising to the top.
Remove from water and lay them on a towel to dry for approximately 2-3 hours.
In a large pot take half a cup of water and add sugar. (Start this process only after you have dried the gooseberries)
Once it starts boiling at the edges, add lemon juice. (You can add a dash of green food colour to the water if you wish to)

Add the gooseberries with the crushed cumin & asafoetida and let the contents simmer on a low flame. Stir once in a while. 
The gooseberries will release some water and make a sugary syrup. 
Once the water starts to boil, remove the gooseberries from it immediately. Try to retrieve as much cumin as you can (using a spoon).
Keep them (the cumin) aside in a small plate. 
Sieve the sugar syrup and boil the syrup again (on high flame now) and remove it from the heat once it starts to boil.
Sieve it and repeat the above process twice. (this way the syrup become more clear)
When finished, let the temperature of the syrup become warm.
Add the gooseberries to this syrup
Add the citric acid and store the preserve in a glass jar.

This preserve makes a very healthy sweet ending to meals – rich in iron and vitamin C, aids in digestion and balances the stomach acids…need I say more J

Actually, to know more about the nutritional value of gooseberry (amla) check  here

Thanks for visiting and see you again! 

Sending post to Cooking without onion garlic event