This one is going to be the last in the series, for now. We added coconut, then included roasted/fried lentils to gooseberries. Why leave the beautiful tomatoes, that are used in several chutneys/dips to give texture, colour and flavor? So, this time it is the turn of tomatoes to do the honours for gooseberries.
I have added coconut too, as I find it difficult to imagine a thuvayal without coconut. Certainly, coconut provides added flavour to tomato chutney, even without gooseberry. If one would like to omit the coconut in this chutney, please go ahead. It tastes as good as it would with coconut.
Incase you just felt overwhelmed with the coconut in the recent thuvayal/chutneys, this post is to bring some change. Or, did you think this is not only gooseberry but also a coconut chutney series, here you go – a NO COCONUT chutney. Needless to say, raw coconut any time is a healthy nut/vegetable.
Coconut serves as an important blending agent, and without that ingredient, thuvayal needs yet another texture provider. Roasted or fried lentils are substitutes here. Those who do not like coconut or want to avoid the fleshy nut, roasted lentils can be used instead.
This is yet another chutney, with minimal ingredients – two lentils, garlic, red chillies and gooseberries, that’s it. One can make with one lentil too.
There can be endless combinations to create a healthy and tasty chutney with gooseberries. So, feel free to create your own. These are a few variations, that came to my mind, nothing more. But, there are plenty more chutneys that I make with gooseberries, but haven’t clicked pictures to post.
NO COCONUT- Nellikkai Milagaivatral Thuvayal/ Gooseberry Red Chilli Chutney
Chop all ingredients for easy grinding in the blender
Add salt and water and blend to a smooth paste
This thuvayal doesn’t need thaalippu or seasoning with oil and mustard seeds like other chutneys. Still if one prefers, go ahead.
thaalippu – seasoning
oil – 2 tsp
mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Heat oil in a small pan
Add mustard seeds
When they splutter add split black gram
When it becomes golden brown, add curry leaves
Pour this into the thuvayal.
Any Thuvayal is a flexible dip to make. Increase or reduce the quantity of coconut, green chilli or gooseberry as per taste preference. For a tangier dip, add gooseberries; for a spicier thuvayal add chillies.
Gooseberry is one of those nutritious fruits that often brings back nostalgic memories. When we used to travel during school vacations to my paternal grandmother’s native place in down south Tamilnadu, the houses that had ‘nelli maram’ or the gooseberry tree was a special place for me. ‘Arunelli’ – the yellow and extremely sour, smaller variety of gooseberry was my favorite. With the beautiful Kutralam Falls nearby and the monsoon setting in, the village would have intermittent pleasant showers and chill air. The fields, farm lands, and the tall trees imparting different shades of green, would present such a soothing atmosphere, that the developed cities should beg for.
Visiting elders and relatives of the close knit family was a routine, common to most households. Also, introducing the third generation to other relatives of the extended family was part of those village visits. That is one of the major tasks of grandfathers and grandmothers, providing essential links through generations.
Coming back to gooseberry, most houses would welcome you with the arunelli maram in the frontyard, with bunches of the delicious fruit. I think the hosts should have been amused seeing my eyes rest on the gooseberries than in their conversation, I would always come back with packs of berries, the fruit and the taste I’ve treasured in my memory till today.
Post vacations, back at home in the city, thankfully those days, there were no branded food outlets in the corner for junk intake. On the way back from school, arunelli/gooseberries sprinkled with salt and chilli powder was a favorite walking partner. This memory glittered back during my Cambodia days, where I could buy arunelli from the street vendor with salt and chilli powder.
The other gooseberry is the bigger variety. While arunelli is a snack in hand, periya nellikkai is versatile. Eat it raw, make thuvayal/chutney or pickles, make nellikkai saadham/rice, thayir pachchadi/yoghurt raita – the options are endless.
First, enjoy the sourness of nellikkai; then, have a tumbler of water; get amazed by the sweetness that spreads in your mouth.
Setting new nutrition goals during the Covid crisis, I had been trying out different kinds of thuvayal/chutneys with periya nellikkai/big gooseberries. The fruit is at its nutritious best, when consumed raw. Hence, I try to add gooseberries without roasting or stir frying in the dips i make. Also, I have tried to add chinna vengayam/shallots in the fried chutneys, as a replacement for normal onions.
As a thuvayal series, I would like to share a few of those chutneys in the coming posts.
What I’ve been cooking for the past three and a half months, seems like a whirlwind project. I am rest assured, it must be the case of almost everyone, handling a full house, during these testing times.
When I sat back and saw the clicks, my daughter wanted me to write continuous posts, under the title ‘Quarantine Diaries’. NO worries.. No diaries… this post consolidates the several dishes, those were rolled out of that sacred place in my house, called ‘Kitchen’. Later, let’s analyse a few recipes in the coming posts.
I started the month of March, with a Blueberry Jam – just two ingredients, berries and brown sugar, and of course, juice of lemon for longer shelf life.
With a routine of including Millets in the diet, Millet Idlies always occupy a special place on the dining table. Samai (Little Millet) Idlis are true substitutes in colour, to the regular white rice Idlis. But these millet idlis are a healthier version, not to forget.
Like the Samai Idli, Kollu (Horsegram) Idlies, are awesomely light, steamed cakes packed with the lentil flavour.
Don’t forget the different chutneys, that were made for the idlies. A few of those, I have highlighted in the end of this post.
A chocolate cake- with whole wheat, cane sugar, olive oil, dark chocolate and toasted pistachios. The urge to cut and eat, was more compelling than a good click to post.
Next, came 50-50 Whole Wheat Buns, tried from an old book, I had. Though, the recipe demanded eggs, this is an eggless bun.
Black Chick Pea Burger with the Buns
Next, for the benefit of online learners, to munch some traditional sweets, with longer shelf life…
Coconut Burfi with Cane Sugar
and Black Sesame Burfi with Jaggery
April, started with Whole Wheat Raisin Bread – wouldn’t term it the best, but full of flavour.
Time for a spicy powder for the health freak. Sesame and Flax seed chilly powder, to go with rice, idli or dosai.
flax seed podi
April, was also a month to try Pizza, the healthy way. Home-made whole wheat base, tomato spread from scratch and variety of toppings .. Pizza that was dreaded for the white flour, the meagre amount of veggies or meat to be searched for- in store bought frozen ones, or the branded /door delivered ones, used to be a half-yearly affair. Truly, we might have ordered pizzas twice a year.
The ill effect of making fresh pizzas at home, with loaded vegetables and with constraint on cheese, pizzas are almost a weekly bake now.
Till date, I haven’t been quite successful with cookies. They used to be consumable, but not perfect. And I have always baked whole wheat cookies, never with white flour.
But, May started with this exception. A Good Whole Wheat Cookie!! Got the recipe from another blog, but as usual converted all purpose flour to whole wheat. It turned out to be so light and crispy.
whole wheat sesame cookies
When the need for a hot snack, with less work to fry, stir fry or sauté arose, tried baking these yummy potato wedges. Cut the potatoes, sprinkled some oil, baked for 30 mins or so. Took out from oven, sprinkled salt and spices of choice and, the baked wedges were ready.
Potato Wedges baked healthy
Who said Papdi Chaat needs Papdi or the crisps made of white flour. I chose to combine Papdi and Chole into a Chaat, but with a healthy twist. No matter you like it or not, its a whole meal. When I had my Methi (fenugreek leaves) Paratha dough in hand, I rolled a big pizza base out of it, and baked till crisp. That became my Papdi to go with the left over Chole curry. Add ons – home made green chutney, tamarind chutney and yoghurt.
Methi Paratha (Papdi) Chole Chaat
Time for a nice cake – Sticky Date and Walnut Cake – obviously with whole wheat flour and cane sugar, and eggless too. This time, I topped the cake with caramel whipped cream. With my home-made caramel, I could limit the sugar in the frosting.
Eggless Sticky Date and Walnut Cake
Next came in, Gooseberries. Lucky me, the super market had some new and fresh stock of gooseberries. The great berry, loaded with good nutrients, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, is highly popular for its anti-ageing properties. Let’s also do a gooseberry chutney series shortly. Great plans that arise as I write..
Gooseberry Coconut Green Chilly Chutney
Gooseberry Coconut Coriander Chutney
Gooseberry Coconut Mint Chutney
Gooseberry Coconut Red Chilly Chutney
Gooseberry Tomato Red Chilly Chutney
The long list of ingredients, written on the bottle of the world’s most favourite Chocolate spread, or a Peanut Butter Spread, creates a lot of stress and anxiety. But a good chocolate spread, to go with healthy whole wheat or millet pancakes, or home made bread or buns, can be a positive change in routine. So, tried this simple chocolate spread, with a combination of 80% and 72% dark chocolate with very little cane sugar and milk. Stores well in the refrigerator, for at least couple of weeks. Choose your dark chocolate, that has no margarine, but cocoa butter.
Home made Chocolate Spread
Those were a few different, yet healthy stuff that went into the tummy. I am satisfied, I could put in some thoughtful creativity, to indulge in the above stuff.