Last week I visited my mom and stayed there for 4 days. An aunt who lives there in Coimbatore came to meet my mom. When she came she brought with her a lot of arinellikkai / gooseberry taken from the tree which she grows. This kind of gooseberry is hard to see in super market or stores. I see it rarely in the supermarket nearby but they look very bad and I don’t buy it. But this gooseberry which aunt brought were green and plump and I just couldn’t take my eyes off it. They were looking so beautiful. We decided to make pickle with half the quantity and remaining went into this delicious and tangy rice. The gooseberries are cleaned, washed and dried with towel. The gooseberry is chopped into thin slices and the seed is removed. After slicing the gooseberries, a spice powder is prepared and is used along with the gooseberries to prepare thokku. This thokku can be refrigerated for a week. You can add this thokku to cooked rice and you get the flavourful nellikkai saadam. I used to love this saadam and mom used to make it often when I was carrying Sruti. There was a tree in that house and I used to get this rice whenever I wanted. So when SIL prepared this it took me back 6 years.
Gooseberry/ Arinellikkai-3 cups
Channa Dhal-3 tbs
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
Urad Dhal-1 tsp
Asafoetida/ Hing-1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves-2-3 sprigs
Turmeric Powder-1/4 tsp
Sesame Oil-2/3 cup
For the Spice Powder:
Channa Dhal(Kadalai Paruppu)-1tbs
Red Chilly(Milagai Vatral)-12-15
Coriander Seeds(Kothumalli Vidai)-1 1/2tbs
1. Wash and pat dry the gooseberries.
2. With a sharp knife, slice the berries into thin pieces leaving the seed. Discard seed.
3. Dry roast all the ingredients for the spice powder.
4. Grind it to a fine powder when cool.
5. Heat oil and add channa dhal.
6. When it turns golden add mustard, urad dhal, asafoetida and when they splutter add curry leaves.
7. Add roughly broken red chillies and the goose berriy.
8. saute until the goose berry becomes soft. Add salt and turmeric powder.
9. When the gooseberry is cooked well and can be mashed with the back of a spoon add the spice powder. Give a nice mix and remove from flame.
10. The oil will be absorbed by the spice powder and you will hardly see any oil in the thokku. But when you prepare rice the oil in the thokku is sufficient.
11. Cool cooked rice on a large plate. Add thokku and mix it gently so that you don’t break the rice.
12. Add thokku according to your taste.
13. Serve along with papad.
This is arinellikkai.