13 Dec 2010

Nellikaai Rasam

The word "Nellikaai" reminds me of my school days and my sister, Kalpana who was crazy about these lovely wonders. An old lady used to sell them outside our school gates, soaked in salt water and they just melt in the mouth.

There are two types of gooseberries- Chinna Nellikaai [Phylanthus Acidus] and the larger variety [Phylanthus Officinalis]. Most of the households in South India have a Nellikaai tree in their backyard. This fruit grows in regions where the climate is hot because it has properties to cool the body and quench thirst.
This fruit is known for its medicinal properties and used extensively in Indian cooking for a long time. A brief account of its medicinal properties coming after this wonderful recipe.
This recipe is "Nellikaai Rasam" but can be easily converted into "Nellikaai Soup" just by blending all the ingredients and serving it in individual soup bowls. The taste of the ginger hits you first followed by the sour taste and after you swallow,there is a wonderful lingering sweetness in your mouth.

For the rassam:
Large gooseberries: 10.
Toor dhal: 100gms.
Tumeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
Coarse pepper powder: 1 tbsp.
Ginger powder [sukku podi]: 1 tsp.
Black sesame seeds: 1 tsp.
Curry leaves: 1 sprig.
Gingelly oil: 1 tbsp.
Salt: to taste.
Water: 500ml [1/2 litre].
Coriander leaves: to garnish.

1.Remove the seeds form the gooseberries and chop them into small pieces. Cook the toor dhal until mushy.
2. Heat oil in a kadai. Splutter the black sesame seeds and curry leaves.
3.Add the chopped gooseberry flesh, ginger powder, pepper powder, tumeric and salt and saute in low flame for 5 mins.

4.Add the dhal and water. Simmer in medium flame for 20 mins.
5. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Note: I have used the large gooseberries as they easier to handle. You can substitute the smaller ones if you like. Do not cook the gooseberries before as the rasam will not have any flavor it the cooked flesh is used.

To chop the gooseberries, just cut it as you would cut an apple on all sides leaving the core intact.

Medicinal Properties:
       As we all know the gooseberry is very rich in Vitamin C more than orange. It has antiviral and antimicrobial properties - meaning it can fight against inflammation, cancer,  fever, reduce cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

In Ayurveda:

All parts of the tree is used: fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark and flowers. According to Ayurveda this fruit is sour and astringent in taste with sweet, bitter and pungent secondary tastes.
It is mainly used against Pitta related disorders because of its sweet taste and cooling effects.
Amla also balances Vata because of its sour taste and Kapha due to its astringent taste and drying action.

It is used for Rejuvenation purposes: promotes longevity, enhances digestion, treats constipation, reduces asthma, fever and cough, purifies the blood and liver, strengthens the heart, brightens eyes, stimulates hair growth and enhance intellect.
Amla  has been  a major component in beauty therapies [for hair and skin] for centuries and we all know this because of our moms and grandmothers who have incorporated this "Wonder Food" into our diet when we were kiddies in the form of "Pickles" and "Thokkus".
Bless them a thousand times.....

This is for the event " Complete my Thali" by Jagruti, guest hosted by Priya Srinivasan.


Scribbled by Reva.


Priya Suresh said...

Wonderful looking rasam, very inviting and comforting..

Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen said...

Awesome Clicks!!!! Rasam is very tempting!!! Thanks for sharing it with CMT!!!

Singapore Chettinad Recipes said...

I'm a huge fan of nellikkai, I'd love try this recipe!

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