Easy homemade 4 ingredient cardamom flavored Whole Nellikayi Murabba (Amla / Indian Gooseberry Murabba) without using Alum
Nellikayi / Amlas are very much in season with carts full of gleaming plump gooseberries, which means it the perfect time to make whole Nellikayi Murabba.
Making Murabba, essentially a fruit preserve in sugar syrup (ನೆಲ್ಲಿಕಾಯಿ ಮುರಬ್ಬ) seemed like a daunting thought initially, but in reality, is so much easier than I imagined. It is also one of the tastiest ways to get our daily dose of vitamin C.
Nellikayi Murabba has been a favorite since childhood. Amma used to make huge bottles full of Nellikayi Murabbas. While I loved eating them, I also secretly dreamed of making Murabbas on my own someday. And that dream has come true finally even though it took years to materialize.
Number one reason for me to make Murabba is of course because homemade Murabba beats the commercially available ones in both quality and taste.
The bigger of the two varieties of Gooseberries that grow in India – Bettada Nellikayi in Kannada (Hill Gooseberry or Indian Gooseberry aka Amla) known as Amalaki in Sanskrit is the one used for making Murabba. The same Nellikayi is also worshipped once a year during Tulsi Pooja.
Health benefits Amla Murabba can be eaten as a tonic. It is very good to calm Pittha (one of the three doshas per Ayurveda) related digestive problems such as hyperacidity, gastritis, burning sensation in the stomach as well as prevent ulcers. Because it is rich in Vitamin C, it is a great immunity booster and natural remedy for keeping cold, cough and recurrent infections at bay. It helps fight free radicals, hence improving longevity, is great for strong and healthy hair and skin.
Amla is the prime ingredient in the Ayurvedic preparation of Chyawanprash, eaten during winter.
Best time to eat Eat one Amla Murabba a day, first thing in the morning on empty stomach to keep hale and healthy.
What kind of Amlas to choose When buying, always pick big sized Indian Gooseberries which are fresh looking and blemish free with a shiny skin.
If you have dreamed of making Murabba at home, this recipe is the one for you. It uses whole Nellikayi and does not call for using Alum / Phitakari or chuna / Sunna / Sunnambu as a catalyst. Most of the commercially available Murabbas use Alum in their making.
If you like Murabba but would like to avoid using sugar and have little patience to fuss over syrup consistency, you can make this easier version of Jaggery Murabba.
I have made these Murabbas earlier and they stored very well for a year and tasted fabulous for as long as they lasted. The only important part to remember is to get the syrup consistency right and handle with a dry spoon at all times.
The Murabba liquid is very nutritious too as it absorbs all the goodness from the Amlas as they soak.
Hope you’ll give this recipe a try this season.
Indian Gooseberries Preserved in Sugar Syrup
- 1/2 kg Nellikayi / Amla / Indian Gooseberries
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3 cups water 1 cup for cooking plus two cups for sugar syrup
- 4 cardamom pods peeled and finely powdered
- 500 gm Bottle to store
Wash the Amla / Nellikayi well and towel dry. If there are any blemish spots or bruises, slice off those parts with a sharp knife.
Pressure cook Nellikayi with 1 cup water only for 2 whistles max, else they'll fall apart and won't hold shape.
When the cooker cools, strain the water in which Nellikayi was cooked, to a large saucepan. Add 2 more cups of water and 1 cup sugar and place on medium heat.
Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil while stirring intermittently. Here on, keep the heat on low-medium and bring the sugar syrup to one string or single thread consistency.
keep a small bowl of water next to the stove to check the consistency of the syrup. Dip the fingers in that bowl of water, then get some syrup on the tip of your index finger from the back of a spoon. Feel the syrup between the finger tips and check to see if a single steady thread forms when index and thumb fingers touch. If it does, the syrup is ready.
Add cooked nellikayi to the saucepan at this point. The sugar syrup will become watery due to the addition of the Cooked Amlas
Bring the syrup to one string consistency again, which will take about 5-8 minutes of boiling. Keep a close watch and keep stirring in between, else the syrup might overflow.
The syrup begins to boil with larger bubbles. When as the air escapes, the bubbles begin to become tinier almost appearing frothy. Check for the one string consistency.
Switch off when the string consistency is achieved. while stirring take care to not break or smush the Amlas.
Let cool completely.
Pour into a clean and dry glass bottle. Store air tight in a cool spot away from sunlight. Always handle with a clean dry spoon.
Eat one Nellikayi Murabba on empty stomach in the morning.
You can even make with jaggery. But it needs more jaggery for sweetening. Alternatively, you can use 3/4 quantity jaggery plus 1/4 quantity sugar
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