Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nellikai Sadam - Indian Gooseberry rice

There is a story in Tamil Nadu about the Sangam age king Athiyaman and his friend and the great poetess Avvaiyar. Athiyaman gets a fruit with magical powers - power to grant eternal life. The King, a great patron of Tamil that he was, realizes that the life of a poet is more valuable than his own and offers the fruit to Avvaiyar. We, of course, do not know if Avvaiyar infact ate the fruit. If she did and if you happen to chance upon this blog, dear Avvai patti, please leave a comment! But -- our interest is about that magical life enhancing fruit. The special fruit was none other than Amla, Nellikani.
From Google Images
All parts of the Nellikai plant are used in various Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. It is the only fruit contains all tastes like sour, sweet,  bitter, pungent  and astringent except salt. According to Ayurveda there are six tastes. Amla has five tastes out of six. If it would have all the six taste it might be called as amrita (divine fruit) instead of Amla.
Though the size of the nelliaki / amla is small, it is packed with Vitamin C, protein, carbohydrate, fibre and minerals. Nellikai is an antioxidant, helps in regulating blood pressure. Maintains the cholesterol level. Has anti diabetic quality and anti bacterial property, helps in the digestive system and prevents from ulcer. Ladies, mainly used for hair conditioning and prevent premature greying. My mom still puts dried nellikai while grinding shikakai mixture at home. It also helps us to cool our body.

 Normally we make pickles and pachadi out of nellikai. If you are like me, wanted to cook new recipe for the lunch box, then go head and try this. A bowl full of goodness invites you to dig in and gives a full refreshment to your body and mind.

Ingredients :

3 nos -- Nellikai / Amla  medium size
1 cup -- Rice
1 tsp -- Mustard seeds
1 tsp -- Jeera
1 tbsp -- Urad dal
1 tbsp -- Channa dal
1/4 cup -- Peanuts
5-6 nos -- Dry chili
3 - 4 tbsp -- Oil
2 tbsp -- Gingely oil (optional)
1/2 tsp -- Turmeric powder
Coriander leaves to garnish.
Salt to taste.

Method :
--- Pressure cook the rice with right amount of water.
--- Try not to make the rice mushy. Once the steam is gone, transfer the rice in a big plate and let it cool completely. Drizzle the gingely oil, if using over the rice. Gingely oil gives rich taste to the food.
--- While the rice is cooling. Grate the nellikai.
--- In a pan, add the oil and heat in the medium heat. When it is hot add the mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add jeera, channa dal, urad dal, peanuts and the red dry chilies.
--- Once the dal color changes to golden colour add the grated nellikai and the turmeric powder and saute it for a minute.
--- Turn off the heat and pour the mixture over the cooling rice and add salt according to taste.
--- Using a wooden spoon mix the rice thoroughly, avoid the breaking of rice.
--- Garnish with cut coriander leaves.
*** Note : According to your taste, you can change all the ingredients level.

Enjoy the 5 tastes of nellikai in the rice.

Sources : Wikipedia, Indian food, Dhyanfoundation blog, Krishna, Rajaputan agrico