Murabba means sweetened fruit preserve and Amla Murabba is a favorite of many Indians including yours truly. All through the years we lived in the US, quite often I lamented over the unavailability of fresh gooseberries. Frozen ones never really counted for me.
So, when we moved to India almost 9 months back (the reason I have been missing from this space for all this while!), one of the things that I had to catch up on was savoring local produce from the market, to make up for all that I had missed over so many years.
The star of the season (when I began recipe testing and drafting this post ) was Amla or Nellikayi aka Indian Gooseberry. And when they began to appear heaped up on four wheeled carts, I binge bought them whenever I spotted them, held them like jewels, stared at them as if a long lost object found, licked the freshly cut gooseberries and enjoyed chewing on their mouth puckering goodness.
Though the season begins usually around November, I can still find them in the Malleswaram market, a place that I frequent at will, whim and fancy!
With the season’s first lot, I learnt to make my Amma’s special Gooseberry pickle in raw tamarind juice, which was on my bucket list forever. Then I made more variations of gooseberry pickles. When I was contented with pickle making, I wanted to try my hand at something I never tried before. Lots of ideas began to float. Finally I just decided to stick to this simple and easy grated Amla Murabba. One because I never made Murabba; two because, I want my kids to be able to eat without fussing, given the fact that it has ginormous amounts of vitamin C. Lastly because, ever since we moved, all of us have been taking turns falling sick (which by the way is a part of moving to India) and badly needed building up our lost immunity.
This recipe is quite simple and forgiving. Just use clean and dry glass bottles for storage. My choice of sweetener is jaggey hands down which I urge everyone I know to do so as well.
It is a great idea to make at home because like anything else commercially available, even store bought Murabba isn’t spared of chemicals.
We like it. Hope you do get to make it at home too.
Did you know that Gooseberries are great for the liver? Well, there you go. Just another excuse to make this. One button rejuvenator in a spoonful of this Murabba.
Makes about 400 gms of Murabba
- 1/2 kg Amla / Indian Gooseberries (about 12-15 large gooseberries)
- 450 gm Kolhapuri dark brown Jaggery (Bucket or Round Bella)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2-3 cardamom pods powdered (1/4 tsp powder)
- pinch of salt
- Wash Gooseberries well and towel dry completely.
Finely grate the gooseberries and keep aside. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Discard the seeds.
- Roughly chop jaggery using a serrated knife (this helps in melting jaggery quickly)
- Heat jaggery and 1/2 cup water in a sauce pan until melted. Strain this liquid to get rid of sand like impurities in the jaggery. Do not skip this step.
- Pour strained liquid jaggery to a thick bottomed pan or kadai and heat on medium and bring to soft ball consistency.
- To check for the soft ball consistency, keep water in a small bowl. Constantly stir the jaggery syrup. Large bubbles begin to form and make way for a frothing syrup. Put a drop of syrup in the bowl of water and try to roll into a ball. When the syrup can be rolled into a soft ball in the water without melting away, the desired soft ball consistency is reached.
- Bringing the jaggery syrup first to the soft ball consistency before adding the grated gooseberries helps reduce the overall cooking time and also in not losing much of the vitamin C which is heat sensitive. So do not skip this step.
- Now add grated gooseberries, pinch of salt and mix well. The mixture will become watery due to the moisture content of the gooseberries.
- Keep stirring until all the moisture is gone and the Murabba comes together as a single mass. When you spoon it, it should not fall easily.
- Add powdered cardamom, mix well and let cool completely.
- When cooled, store in a sterilized air tight glass jar.
- Tastes best the next day.
- Eat a spoon a day first thing in the morning for maximum benefits.
- When buying, pick the freshest looking, unblemished gleaming gooseberries.
- If you so like, you can even grind gooseberries (without water) instead of grating.
- Stores well without refrigeration for more than 6 months.
- Always handle with a dry non-reactive spoon.