Thursday, January 7, 2016



This is the time of year when Indian Gooseberries are available in plenty. Called Nellikayi in Tamil and Kannada, Amla in Hindi, and Avalo in Konkani, gooseberries have many health benefits and traditionally have been used in South Indian cooking to make dishes such as Nellikayi Chitranna, Avale Kadi, chutneys/pickles, etc.

Today's dish is Nellikayi Thokku, which my husband's grandmother made every year as they had lived for decades in Tamil Nadu. A thokku is a pickle -like preparation which is an accompaniment for dosas, idlis, as also with the main meal.


  • Nellikayi ( Gooseberries), 15
  • Fenugreek Seeds (Methi), 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Oil, 4 tbsp (for seasoning) 
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp (for seasoning) 
  • Asafoetida Powder ( Hing), 1/4 tsp
  • Chilli Powder, 3 tsp, or to taste
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lemon Juice, 1 tbsp

Wash the gooseberries, and  boil them in a pan of water to which salt and a little turmeric powder are added
Cook for about 5 minutes then cover it with a lid and let it rest for a few minutes
Let the gooseberries cool then de-seed them and discard the seeds
Place the gooseberry pods in a mixer and grind them to a paste without adding any water. Remove and keep aside.
In a small pan, dry roast the fenugreek seeds till they change colour. Remove and keep aside.
In the same pan, dry roast the mustard seeds till they pop
Next, in a small grinder jar, grind together the roasted fenugreek seeds and the roasted mustard seeds to a powder. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a kadhai and when it gets hot add mustard seeds and when they splutter add the asafoetida powder, fry for a few seconds then add the ground gooseberries paste and fry for a few more seconds
Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt
Mix well and keep stirring till they get well-blended and the thokku becomes thick 
Now add the ground fenugreek and mustard powder and mix well again
Lastly, add the lime juice, mix well, and switch off the gas
Your nellikayi thokku is ready to be served.
Remember to cool it completely before storing in air tight jars

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