Monday, June 1, 2009

AwLyache Panhe - Gooseberry Punch

When winter gets over and my favorite season, spring starts, I look forward to the opening of our local farmers market. I can't wait to see what the local farmers have got. During our last visit, most of the stalls had plants and herbs. There were few vegetables and fruits. Summer crops like corn and watermelons were nowhere to be seen. But I spotted some fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, kohlrabi, radishes, spring onions, asparagus. and I almost came to standstill at one stall. Could they be...? Those berries looked familiar. They were much smaller though. I asked the farmer lady and she said,"They are gooseberries".
"Are they sour?" - I asked her.
"Very sour. You will need to pucker up your mouth when you eat them!" she replied smiling. Bingo!! I knew they are or at least belong to the same family of AwaLa/Amla - Indian Gooseberries. Needless to say, I hurriedly took one small basket which had 3 cups fresh gooseberries.

After coming home, I consulted mom on the phone and the first recipe followed - AwLyache Panhe.

Awlyache Panhe
Gooseberry Punch
Ingredients
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar or jaggery or per taste
1/4 tsp salt
5 cardamoms

2 cups chilled water

Method
1. Remove the stems of the berries.
2. Rinse them thoroughly.
3. Boil them with 1 cup water for about 10 minutes. (if using regular big amlas from India, you can pressure cook them and then remove the pits)
4. Switch off the gas. Cover and let it cool down to the room temperature.
5. Grind the cooked berries with salt, cardamoms, sugar or jaggery and cooked liquid.
6. Add more water. Stir well.
7. Pour in individual serving glasses. Serve chilled.

Note -
1. When you mix the chilled water, you will notice some foam. You can get rid of it. I kept it because it reminded me of sugarcane juice!
2. Saffron strands can be added but I wanted to keep that lovely color of amla/awLa. So I didn't.
3. As seen in the picture below, these American gooseberries were very tiny. and they were almost seedless or had itsy-bitsy seeds. I ground them with the berries. If needed you can strain the juice. I didn't bother. If using bigger berries, remove the seeds.
4. The most boring part of this punch was getting rid of the tiny stems of the berries. but make sure they are completely stem free before cooking.
5. You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar or jaggery based on your preference and tartness of the berries. However, a little sour taste is expected in this panhe.

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