Nellikai aracha kalakki is a common dish in the kitchens of Palakkad Iyers, and it was so in the home where my mother-in-law grew up. She once made it for me and I was instantly hooked. I would say the taste of the aracha kalakki requires some getting used to, and is not for everyone, but I liked it at once. I recently learnt from her how to make it and was able to replicate the same taste in my kitchen. Ha!
The recipe is extremely simple, and takes just about 15 minutes to put together. It is filled with the goodness of the Vitamin C that the gooseberry has in abundance. It makes for a great side dish with upma, sevai, pongal and the likes, and the OH likes to eat it mixed with plain, white rice.
Ingredients (for two people):
1. 4 medium-sized gooseberries, raw
2. About 4 tablespoons of fresh, grated coconut
3. Salt to taste
4. 3 green chillies (or according to taste)
5. 1 teaspoon oil
6. A few fresh curry leaves
7. Mustard seeds, for tempering
8. About a cup of curd, sourness as per taste
1. Add water in the bottom of a pressure cooker. Place the gooseberries into a bowl, whole, without water, and place the bowl into the pressure cooker. Boil the gooseberries. I give them about four whistles, usually. Once the steam is released, remove the gooseberries and let them cool down completely.
2. When the gooseberries have cooled down, break them into sections using your hands, or use a knife to do so. You will be able to do so very easily. Throw away the seeds.
3. In a small mixer jar, put in the gooseberry segments, grated coconut and chopped green chillies. Add a little water, and grind to a coarse paste.
4. Remove the gooseberry paste in a bowl. Add salt and curd to taste.
5. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and let them splutter. Turn off the gas, and add the curry leaves. Let them sizzle for a second or so. Then, add this mixture to the gooseberry and curd paste. Mix well. This can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.
That is it! Simple, right?
Have you had nellikai arachakalakki? Is this the way you make it at home?