Thursday, February 22, 2018

Nellikai Urugai | Nellikai Manjal Oorugai | Gooseberry Pickle with Fresh Turmeric | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

Nellikai Urugai

Hi Supermoms,

In India, making pickles is an art and is a part of our food culture that dates back to many centuries. There are so many different types of pickles that are made across India and in North India it is popularly called as 'Achaar'. In Tamil, it is called as 'Oorugai/Urugai' which  literally  means soaked vegetable or fruit ( kai) . 

The seasonal vegetable or fruit is washed , sun dried and mixed with freshly ground pickling spices. They are then filled into jars and kept out in the sun for a few days for the vegetable/fruit to soften. Oil, salt and vinegar are mainly used as preservatives and these pickles stay good for even upto a year. 

Pickling requires a lot of patience and cleanliness is very important. A clean and dry spoon needs to be used every time you serve and stirring/shaking the pickle every day for the first 15 days are very important steps. 

Pickles remind many of us of our grandmothers and our mothers. Making a pickle right  can give one a great sense of achievement. If you are new to pickling, you can start with the  recipe of Instant Gooseberry Pickle

This year I tried the North Indian Style of Cauliflower and Carrot Pickle and was so happy with the way my family loved it. All thanks to the inspiration and recipe of Kanan didi, my Instagram sister @mamaktreats. She is such a loving mom always cooking delicious food for her children. I saw her sharing the recipe and was so tempted to try it. Through her stepwise guidance, I was able to understand  the process and totally loved it. 

Kanan Didi's Gajar Gobi Shalgam Achaar 

Today's Nellikai Oorugai pickle is dedicated to her. I followed Kanan Didi's method of blanching the vegetables , sun drying them and then adding the pickling spices. I have combined South and North Indian way of pickling. My pickle was ready in 10 days. I added fresh turmeric to this pickle, but you can make them separately as two different pickles also.

Now, every curd rice meal takes me back to childhood school lunch box days. 

 Gooseberry Pickle with Fresh Turmeric

Nellikai Oorugai | Gooseberry Pickle with Fresh Turmeric:

Total Time : 10 days ( approximately )
Makes : 150 gm of Nellikai Oorugai
Storage : Keeps good for 1 year when stored in clean, dry and odour free, non reacting container . 
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Note : Ginger and garlic are optional. 

Ingredients : 

250 gm fresh turmeric ( peel and cut them into juliennes)
10-12 large gooseberries
3" ginger ( peeled and grated)
6 garlic pods ( grated)
1/2 cup sesame oil ( adjust)
salt to taste

Spices :

2 teaspoons mustard seeds ( coarsely ground raw using the mortar and pestle)
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder  ( optional, for the bright red colour)
pinch of asafoetida 

To roast and ground into a powder: 

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10 dry red chillies ( I used guntur red chillies, adjust quantity according to the variety of chilli)


1. Heat 3 cups of water and when they come to a rolling boil, add the gooseberries and cook for 5 minutes and switch off. 
Chef tip : The skin of the gooseberry will look wrinkled and some may even split on the top.
2. Drain the excess water in a colander and allow it to cool completely . 
3. In the mean time, blanch the turmeric in the same way.
4. Once the excess water is drained completely and they are cool to touch, remove the seeds of the gooseberry. 
5. You can spread the gooseberries and turmeric on a large flat tray or a muslin cloth .

6. Sun dry it for a day or two. 
Chef tip: If you do not get sunlight, you can even oven dry it for a few minutes . But do not over do this step. Roasted turmeric does not pickle well. It remains hard. 
7. Once the vegetables are shrunk in size, you can now add the spices.
8. Heat a pan with 1/4 cup of oil over low flame.

9. Add the grated ginger and garlic and fry for a minute .

10. Now add crushed mustard , spices and immediately add the gooseberries and turmeric.

11. Add salt , mix and switch off immediately.

12. Allow it to cool completely.
13. Prepare the bottle to transfer the pickle.

Chef tip Courtesy : My friend Kritika's Mother. 
14. Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the clean, dry, odour free bottle and tilt it side wise to coat the bottle with oil. 
15. Transfer the pickle into the bottle and pour the remaining oil on top of the pickle.
16. Leave it in a window sill that gets sunlight for around 10 days, making sure to mix it every day with a clean spoon.

Your pickle is now ready. You can serve them as a part of your meal . If you find the pickle a little dry over time, you can add sesame oil and mix. 

 Gooseberry Pickle with Fresh Turmeric

Happy cooking!

With love,


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