Amla Pickle

Indian gooseberries (amla) were mentioned in Sangam Tamil literature 2000 years ago for their anti-aging properties. The king Adhiyamaan of Chera dynasty was famous for his munificence and he was regarded as one of the kadaiyezhu vallal (meaning last seven patrons) in the history of Tamil monarchy. In those days amla was a scarcely available fruit and it was believed to have anti-aging propertiesΒ to prolong one’s life. The king as a patron of literature offered such a rarest & precious nellikani (amla) to an old poetess Avvaiyar rather than partaking it by himself. Avvaiyar rendered beautiful verses after receiving amla praising the magnanimity of king Adhiyamaan.

800px-adhiyaman_avvaikku_nellikani_vazhanguthal Amla Pickle

Nowadays amla fruits are available in plenty and we can enjoy the benefits of amla to the fullest by taking them raw. However if you find it too tart to chew raw amla, you can make sweet jam or spicy pickle to neutralize its tartness. Amla pickle tastes delicious with chappathi, puri, or curd rice. Now lets prepare nellikai oorugai:

img_6689 Amla Pickle
Nellikai oorugai

Spice Powder:

First we need to prepare pickle masala as below. You can store this in an air-tight container and use for making pickle, tamarind rice (puliyodharai), tamarind curry (puli kuzhambu) or any other curry to enhance the flavor.

  • Dry roast asafoetida & fenugreek (1/4 cup) seeds separately in a hot pan.
  • Grind into a fine powder at room temperature.

Time Taken: 40 min


  1. Amla – 21 Nos
  2. Sesame oil – 1/4 cup
  3. Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  4. Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp
  5. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  6. Coarsely powdered pepper – 1/2 tsp
  7. Fenugreek powder – 1 tsp
  8. Salt – 1 and 1/4 tsp

How to prepare amla pickle:

  • Wash amla & steam for 10 min or till they become soft.
  • When they reached room temperature, remove seeds and keep aside.
  • Heat a pan with sesame oil in medium flame.
  • Add mustard seeds, when they start crackling turn off the flame.
  • Add red chilli powder & turmeric powder and give a nice quick stir.
  • Add seeded amla and light the stove again.
  • Saute amla in medium flame.
  • Add salt and saute till oil starts oozing out.
  • Add fenugreek powder & pepper powder.
  • Mix them well and simmer for 2 min. and remove from flame.
  • Store pickle in a dry clean glass jar when it reaches room temperature.

Cooking tips:

  1. To increase the shelf life of pickle, steaming is recommended as it does not have direct contact with water.
  2. Pepper is added mainly for flavor, not for the heat.
  3. You can also add a teaspoon of jaggery along with pepper, just to balance the heat & tartness.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ramya ! By the way what you have seen on the platter in the recent post was made with pepper powder not chilli powder as mentioned in here.

  1. Loved the history of the Amla. I wonder where I can buy it. I have been bored, you’re making me want to switch up my dinner options.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you can get powdered or preserved berries at any Indian/ Asian grocer but I am not sure of fresh berries!

    1. We are using 700 Watts mixer grinder here in India for grinding spices. Hope you will find one!

  2. Thanks for sharing the pics for each step. Looks yummy!! Amla pickle is hubby’s favourite.. Will def try this. ?

  3. Interesting to know about the gift to poetess Avvaiyar by King Adhiyamaan. The pickle is very tempting. In Manipuri we call Amla as Heigru(king of all fruits) due to its numerous health benefits.

  4. Great share with the step by step pics and details! Amla pickle is indeed a great way to get all the good source of nutrients!

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