Tuesday, December 30, 2008

sweet n sour amla chutny

this chutny is a tasty way to include amla in your diet. In today's fast paced life we don't even find time to buy something like amla, let alone cook it in so many different ways...............i myself do not agree to toil in the kitchen much n believe in simple n nutritious food. Practically all the recipes i cook are very simple to follow, and one very funny thing i want to share here is, that all my friends n relatives think that i am the most nutrition concious person on earth n keep asking me something or the other about what to eat for hair , skin or liver n so on. Whenever i make a chutny or achar or a preserve, i have to make it in large quantities , it has to reach a few couple of dining tables.... i like it and the most satisfying thing is that, they start making those recipes afterwards n pass on to others too.......no wonder , these herbs, or any other fruits or vegetables, prepared in a certain way or combination are so effective to treat some chronic ailments that you always end up recommending others about it.

now coming to the sweet n sour amla chutny, it can be served with any meal of the day, or can be enjoyed with roti, paratha or other breads, as it is. the spices used here can be adjusted to suit individual taste.

amla 500gms
sugar or preferably gur 600 gms
salt 1/2 tsp
black pepper1 tsp
green and black cardamum 2 nos. each
cloves 4-5 nos.
cinnamon stick 1 inch piece


deseed the amla berries and put them in mixie to make a coarse paste.
powder all the spices together n keep aside.
now put this paste with salt and sugar into a pan and cook on medium heat untill cooked n reduced in quantity....it should look like jam when ready........takes around 45 minuts or more...............while cooking it needs to be stirred frequently.
when ready, mix the powdered masalas into it quickly n put off the flame .
fill into sterilised glass bottles when cool .
it can stay for the whole year on room temperature.

the quantity of sugar can be reduced in this recipe , but then the chutny should be kept in the fridge for a fortnight or so. [ to control calory intake]

another such recipe is more like a chyavanprash , cooked in the same manner, with a few changes in the ingredients which i am writing below

amla 300 gms
fresh ginger roots 200 gms
sugar, gur or mollases 700 gms
black pepper 1 tsp
long pepper 7-8 nos.
cloves 8-10 nos.
cinnamon stick 2 inch piece
green cardamom 5-6 nos.
bay leaves 5-6 nos.
ghee 100 gms

all ingredients should be cooked together on a low flame, stirring frequently till a jam like consistency is achieved.............cool n store in sterilised glass bottles.

this should be taken with hot milk to stay warm in winter months.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

AMLA the kaya-kalpa berry

In Ayurvadic medicine,taste is all important.............there are six defined tastes in different food materials : sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent .
a correct balancing of all the six tastes or rasas [as in sanskrit] is considered essential for the growth of a healthy body, ie , a healthy diet has to contain a combination of all six tastes.

now wonderfully amla or emblic myrobalan caters to all the six tastes at one go.......... it acts on the body to balance the three humors : kapha, pitta, and vata.

it rejuvenates the body cells, tones up the tissues and strenthens the organs.........it is believed to increase the life-force [prana] and has a soothing [sattvic] effect on the mind.

amla is the richest source of vit-C, dried amla provides as much as 3000 mg ofvit-C per 100 gm.......and most importantly it is heat stable, ie, not destroyed during cooking.

amla vit-C is more easily assimilated into the human system as compared to it's synthetic sources.

amla imparts youthful vigour, strenthens lungs, and cures exessive thirst, burning sensation, vomiting,diabetes, emaciation, anorexia, toxicity, fever, impurity of blood and heamorhage. it avtivates the liver, pancreas, circulatory system and digestive system.
it is diuretic, astringent, digestive, aphrodisiac, laxative and tonic.............it is actually a coolant for the human machinary.

amla does wonders as a beauty aid too..............it tightens up sagging skin and guards against flabbiness and wrinkles...........as a very strong antioxidant it slows down the process of aging.

after knowing all this, we should be thankful to god that, this fruit is produced in abundance in nature and is available at cheap rates.......................forget about the blueberries,the kiwis, the avocado and all.....why all these fruits are so expensive, and why on earth, these are called the exotic ones..............hmmmmm.........seems nobody likes the taste of amla.......but being such a strong antioxidant, it deserves to be the most exotic of them all.

we just need to process the fruit in such a way that it becomes tasty too, especially when its vitamin content is heat stable, it allows a lot of flexibility in how many ways it can be processed.

amla comes in winters in abundance, alot of products ranging from candies, murabbas, pickles, juices and powders are now being marketed which can be used by us......amla juice with a little tulsi juice and honey, first thing in the morning, is considered a good antioxidant treatment ,to maintain a good skin and hair.

in day to day cooking amla can be used in the form of sweet or savoury chutnys or pickles......i will suggest some of the recipes which i use for my daily dose of antioxidants.


amla-8-10 nos.
ginger-3 inch piece
garlic-15 cloves
green chillies-5-6 or more
coriander leaves-1 cup
salt to taste

deseed the amla first and put all the ingredients in a mixer and grind untill a fine paste is formed.
adjust seasoning and serve with any savoury snacks or methi, paratha gobhi paratha etc in breakfast...this vit-C dose in the morning will protect from infections during the whole day out.
this chutny can be preserved in the fridge for a fortnight.

the sourness of raw amlas can cause sore throat in many people if taken in the morning........next is the recipe of another chuny for them.



amla boiled in a pressure cooker- 250gm
ginger-2 inch piece
garlic-15 cloves
red chilly powder-1 tbsp
yellow mustard powder-1 tbsp
ajwain[bishop's weed] seed powder-1tsp
turmeric powder-1 tsp
salt to taste


mash the boiled amla after desseding
make a paste of ginger and garlic
mix all the ingredients together and serve as required.
this can be preserved in the fridge for a month.


amla boiled in a pressure cooker-1 kg
turmeric powder-50 gm
ajwain powder-2 tbsp
yellow mustard poder-2 tbsp
red chilly powder-2 tbsp
salt 100 gm


boil amla in a pressure cooker with 1 cup of water.
reserve the water and with a little thumb pressure separate the amla segments from the seed and keep aside.
mix all the ingredients together and the pickle is ready to use in about 2 hrs
can be kept at room temperature for about a month in delhi winters.
in the fridge it can be preserved for 6-7 months.
tastes great with any meal of the day, with parathas or with dal chawal.

though amla can be pickled like the mangoes or lemons with masalas and
oil too, this recipe is more my favourite because it has no oil and is quick to make.........all my friends like it and most of the times i make it for them too.


amla deseeded and cut into small pieces-1kg
white table salt 50 gm
black salt-50 gm
ajwain seed powder-50 gm
dry ginger powder -30 gm


mix the amla with both the salts and keep for a day to release water.
now mix all the powders with it let it dry in the sun.
it can be dried in the microwave on low power untill half dried
then it has to be dried completely in the sun.
the smaal supari pieces are great digestive chewables which instantly relieves biliousness and bloating.
it can be stored in airtight containers for 2 years.

amla pieces can be preserved with 15 % salt on a wt/wt basis .
just mix 1 kg amla with 200 gm salt ina glass jar and keep it for a year as such.
this can be used to make chutnys.......no salt is needed at the time of chutny preparation.

some sweet recipes of amla are also very good which i will post very soon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

why ayurveda?

firstly because i have been benefited by ayurveda.....all the other reasons come after this.

love for plants...growing them.....eating them....treating with them........getting my energy from them.

have been a botany student.....a researcher....more than that an avid reader of ayurveda practices.
initially when i started reading about the food values of plants, their medicinal values , i realised that many of the common food items which we eat, have immense potential to treat us in many ways ..the problem is that we often don't know about them or overprocess them or just fall prey to the antibiotics or painkillers unnecessarily...and in the long run harm our body. many times a certain food item when prepared in a certain way becomes therapeutic, it's so simple to treat some common ailments that i fell in love with ayurvedic cooking...better to say making a few ayurveda inputs in my food, and believe me it works ...........the ancient wisdom is for us if only we can practice.

the problem is, we have become so habituated to overprocessed food .....because it's so tasty n addictive, being fast n yum.........i too like spicy food......al the spices have their own medicinal value ........they benefit specific ailments when used accordingly....can be harmful when consumed on a wrong note.........i mean when they disturb either kapha,vata or pitta...........

since i have started blogging recentely, i thought of writing about this too, as i have been practicing it for so long, all the people i advice about it give me the feedback...of course positive....
it was worth writing it all here, on this forum.

i will try n keep updating this one too. and yes my daughter, who is bedridden due to a neurological disorder,is also benefited by this ancient wisdom...............her syndrome is at it's own place...but her general health is taken care of by ayurvedic inputs in her plate too.