Pickles and powders

Amla pickle (AvaLe hinDi)

Indian Gooseberry is called Amla(Hindi) or Nellikayi(Kannada) or AvaLe(Konkani). HinDi is a kind of pickle. Usually HinDi looks like a chutney. Amla is a rich source of Vitamin C and has many uses in Ayurvedic medicines.

We make two kinds of pickles with Amla. It is also used in many dishes. But at my home, Amla is synonym with AvaLe HinDi. Aayi’s AvaLe HinDi is very very popular among all our relatives. Amla that we get in our place is of very small in size. So we used to order big Amlas from either Mumbai or Belgaum. Then Aayi would make the pickle and give to all the pickle fan relatives.

The most distinguishing feature of this pickle is the fresh green peppers. We have a pepper plant(creeper) at home and the fresh unripe green peppers are used in this pickle. These fresh peppers are not as spicy as the white or black peppers, but these gel well with the bitter-sour taste of Amla.

 Have you ever tasted Amla?? If yes, have you tried eating it and drinking a glass of water? Same feeling you will get when you eat this pickle and drink water…Its nothing less than heaven :).

I like to eat this pickle with rice, rotis or even with simple bread. I found the Amla in frozen section of Indian store here.

5-6 big Amlas(AvaLe or Nellikayi)
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
1/4 tea spn asafoetida(hingu)
1/2 tea spn fenugreek(methi) seeds
1 tea spn chili powder
1 tea spn oil
1/2 tea spn chopped green chilies
1/2 tea spn grated ginger
1 tea spn fresh green unripe pepper

Do not add white or black peppercorns to this pickle. Only green unripe peppercorns can be used for this. If green peppercorns cannot be found, increase the amount of green chilies and ginger for better taste.

Cook Amla with 1 cup water and salt(preferrably use cooker for cooking). Remove the seeds and reserve the pulp.
Grind the pulp with mustard, asafoetida, chili powder and 1/4 tea spn fenugreek seeds (Unlike any other pickles, mustard and fenugreek are not fried for this). Water used for cooking Amla can be used for grinding, but do not add more water.
Heat oil and fry chilies, ginger, peppercorns(if using), little salt and 1/4 tea spn fenugreek seeds. Add this to the amla paste and mix well.
Store in an air tight container in refrigerator. It can be consumed immediately. It remains good for atleast 3-4 months (may be more than that).

Preparation time : 30mins

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Rice with eggplant (Vangi bhath)

Vangi-eggplant, bhath-rice is probably one of the most popular rice items in Maharashtra and few places in Karnataka and Andhra. I say few places because it is not very common at my native (which is in Karnataka) but I have seen this a lot in Bangalore. I have seen most of my Andhra friends preparing this dish, so I guess it is popular there also. But the Marathi name suggests it might be originally from Maharashtra.

Everybody has their own spice mixture for this dish. I always used the store bought “Vangi bhath masala” and prepared this. But when I tasted my friend Poornima‘s Vangi bhath, I just loved it (considering I am not a big fan of eggplants). Few days back I asked her for the recipe along with the “Vangi bhath masala” and prepared it. Now I prepare it once in a week for lunch. I have prepared a big batch of masala and making the vangi bhath with ready masala takes hardly 15-20mins. I have become a huge fan of this dish now.

Have a look at the methods followed by few of my food blogger friends: Manisha, Vineela, Mandira, Pavani, Asha.

Vangi bhath masala:
Chana dal 1 tbl spn
Urad dal 1 tbl spn
Moong daal(yellow) 1 tbl spn
Coriander seeds 3/4 tbl spn
Cumin seeds 1/2 tea spn
Cinnamon 2″ piece
Cloves 5-6
Red chilies 7-8
Oil 1/4 tea spn

Roast all the spices (except chilies and cloves) one by one on a very low flame till they leave a nice aroma.
Heat oil and fry the cloves. Take out and in the same vessel, fry the chilies a bit. Powder them all. Store in an air tight container.

PS: According to the original recipe given by Poornima, the masala includes “Moggu” – which looks similar to cloves but slightly bigger than that. I tried searching for it in the Indian store, but could not find it. I don’t even know the English name of this spice, so I replaced it with cloves.
She uses different kinds of chilies, some for the color and some for the spicy taste. I had only Byadagi chilies (a variety available in Karnataka). So I just tried with these chillies. You can increase or decrease the amount after trying the vangi bhath yourself.

Vangi bhath Ingredients:
Pea nuts 1 tbl spn
Chana dal 1 tbl spn
Mustard seeds 1/2 tea spn
Curry leaves 4-5
Green chilies 1-2
Onion(chopped) 1/2 cup
Eggplant(thin long ones) 1-2
Tamarind extract 1/4 tea spn
Vangi bhath masala 2 tea spns
Turmeric powder a pinch
Shredded dry coconut 1 tbl spn
Rice 1 cup
Lemon juice 1 tbl spn

I have cut the eggplants into small thin pieces to suit my taste (this is what I understood from the description given by my friend).
Be careful about the Lemon juice – tamarind. Since both are souring agents, use them carefully.

Cook the rice and keep aside. Take care not to over cook the rice, otherwise it gets mashed after mixing with the spices.
Cut the eggplants into desired shapes. Keep the pieces in water. Before using, discard the water.

Heat oil and fry peanuts. Take them out. Add chana dal, fry and take out.
Heat remaining oil (take slightly more oil, say around 1 tbl spn) and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves and fry for sometime. Add green chilies, onion and fry till the onions turn slightly brownish. Add eggplant pieces and fry for sometime. If required, sprinkle very little water, close the lid and cook. When the eggplants are done, add tamarind, salt, vangi bhath masala, turmeric powder, dry coconut and mix well. Take off the heat.
Add rice, lemon juice, fried peanuts and chana dal and mix well.

(Do not garnish with coriander leaves).

Serves :2
Preparation time : 20mins

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Chili pickle

I have posted many pickle recipes so far. Aayi makes many amazingly tasty pickles. ‘Chili pickle’ is one of them. This was prepared very rarely at home since the chilies available at my native are very hot. But whenever this was prepared, I would eat it like a side dish (that may be the reason Aayi avoided making this).

We usually do not add sesame seeds for pickles. But this pickle has sesame seeds and this gives a very remarkable taste to the pickle. I like to eat this pickle with plain rice and curd. Try it and you will know what I mean.

1 cup green chilies (cut into small rounds)
1 and 1/2 tbl spn lemon juice
1 tea spn mustard seeds
1/4 tea spn fenugreek(methi) seeds
1/8 tea spn asafoetida
1 tea spn sesame seeds (white til)
8-10 Pepper corns
1 tbl spn + 1 tea spn oil

Decrease the amount of pepper if you cannot handle too spicy pickles.
Increase/decrease the asafoetida according to taste.

Heat oil and fry the chilies till they turn slightly brown (Do not fry them too much).
Take out from heat, cool and add lemon juice, salt and mix well. Keep it aside for 2-3 days.
Heat 1 tea spn oil and add mustard, when they start popping, add fenugreek, asafoetida, sesame and pepper. Powder the masalas. Add this to the chilies and mix well.
Store in airtight container. Finish it withing 2-3 weeks. This pickle can be used immediately. But after one day, this tastes better.

Preparation time : 20mins

PS: While frying the masalas, take care not to burn any of them. If the mustard seeds are burnt, the pickle becomes bitter.

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Gongura(sorrel leaves) pickle

Gongura Pickle
Gongura Pickle

Are you thinking how I started making Andhra dishes? I had some knowledge of it before, thanks to my friends. But it is the food bloggers who gave that extra push.

I always loved Gongura pickle in Andhra restaurants in Bangalore. But I never knew what it is made of, didn’t even know there is a plant called Gongura. After reading about different Gongura recipes, I even tried asking few Indians in a local farmer’s market about this plant (I didn’t know who they were, they might be thinking I was crazy :D). One fine day I saw Gongura pachadi in Arjuna’s blog. She even gave a link of Gongura(sorrel) plant on my request (Thanks Arjuna). Next time I went to Indian store, I could pick up this plant very easily.

There started my experiments with Gongura. I tried the Gongura pappu (I call all the Andhra daals as pappu because I don’t know the name). It was good. But last week, I wanted to make the pickle with it. I picked up a bottle of Gongura pickle in Indian store and read the contents. By the time I reached home it was 10PM, but still I gave a search in google and found this recipe in Bawarchi. I thought this had the similar ingredients as the ones on the pickle bottle in the store. So I gave it a try and it came out just superb.

A bowl of rice with ghee or curd and this Gongura pickle is something I survived on for 2-3 days :D. Currently I am feasting on this pickle, cauliflower pickle, mango pickle, lemon pickle and chili pickle. Mango and lemon pickles are the ones I got from India (Yes they are more than 1 year old but they taste heavenly). Who wants more than that?

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Gongura(sorrel leaves) pickle

The very popular pickle from Andhra made with sorrel leaves
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Ingredients:
  • Gongura sorrel leaves 4 branches
  • Sesame seeds 2 and 1/2 tea spn
  • Urad dal 2 and 1/2 tea spn
  • Fenugreek seeds 1/2 tea spn
  • Coriander seeds 1 tea spn
  • Cumin seeds 1 tea spn
  • Red chilies 4-5
  • Green chilies 3-4
  • Oil 1 tbl spn
  • Salt
  • Seasoning:
  • Oil 1 tea spn
  • Mustard seeds 1/2 tea spn
  • Chana dal 1/2 tea spn
  • Urad dal 1/2 tea spn
  • Red chilies 2-3


  • Separate the leaves from branches and fry them and green chilies in little oil till they are tender. Grind them into a paste.
  • Dry roast sesame seeds, urad dal, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chilies. Powder them.
  • Mix the spice powder with the paste. Add salt.
  • Heat oil and add chana dal. When it becomes slightly brownish, add urad dal and mustard seeds. When they start popping, add red chilies cut into 2-3 pieces. Pour this seasoning over the pickle and mix well.
  • Store in a air tight container in refrigerator.


I could not make a paste of Gongura leaves without adding water. So I added 1/4 cup water while grinding in blender and then fried the paste well for 4-5mins to remove the moisture contents.



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Garlic chutney powder (Losney chutney pitto)

Usually the chutney powder with coconut is very popular among Konkanis. It can be either with or without garlic. The one without garlic has a greater shelf life compared to the one with garlic. But both have their own tastes. My brother loved the garlic one, so my mom always makes it for him.

Though this goes well with idlis, dosas, rottis etc, my personal preference is garlic chutney powder with Jolad rotti and curd. This combination tastes heavenly.

Coconut (Preferably use dry coconut) 1 cup
Tamarind 1 tea spn
Garlic cloves (small ones) 10-12
Chilli powder 2 tea spns

If using the big garlic cloves available in USA, use around 4-5 cloves.

Roast coconut (without oil). Grind it with garlic and tamarind (do not add water).
Now add chilli powder and salt, grind again.
Store it in airtight container. This remains good for around 1 month.

Preparation time : 15mins

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Bittergourd pickle (Karathe nonche)

My mom’s pickles are very famous among our friends and family. She even gives them to most of the functions at the temples at our native. Her pickles had the perfect blend of spice, salt, asafoetida etc. She uses a very little oil in them. We always ask my mom to start a pickle business, but she thought we are just kidding.

I never like the store bought pickles because of oil. They look like made of oil and oil just spoils the entire taste.

I have been trying some of the pickles these days. I loved the bitter gourd pickle. When I was a kid, I never ate this, but my mom would keep ready a batch of this for my dad. He simply loved this.

Bitter gourd (cut into thin slices) 2 cups
Green chillies (cut into slits) 1 cup
Oil 2 tea spns
Mustard seeds 1 and 1/2 tea spns
Fenugreek(methi) seeds ¼ tea spn
Turmeric ¼ tea spn
Asafoetida ¼ tea spn
Jaggery ½ tea spn
Tamarind ½ tea spn
Mom adds 1 cup of chillis to 1 cup bitter gourd. I reduced the proportion because the chillies I used were too hot.
Jaggery and Tamarind can be increased to suit the taste.

Add 1 tea spn of salt to bitter gourd pieces and keep aside for 30mins. Squeeze off the water.
Heat 1 and ½ tea spn oil and fry the bitter gourd pieces. Add turmeric and when the bitter gourd is half cooked, add chillies (if added in the beginning, chillies cook faster and bitter gourd remains raw).
When bitter gourd and chillies get a brownish color, stop cooking. Let them cool to room temperature.
Heat remaining oil and fry mustard and fenugreek seeds (fry on a low flame. If the amount of fenugreek becomes more or mustard gets burnt, the pickle becomes bitter). Add asafoetida and grind this to a smooth paste along with jaggery.
Add the masala and tamarind extract (directly use the tamarind extract available in market without adding water, if using normal tamarind, extract thick pulp using water) to the bitter gourd-chilli mixture. Mix well. Check for salt (bitter gourd retains some salt from first step). If required, add salt.
This pickle can be used soon after preparing. Store it in an airtight container in refrigerator. It remains good for around 15 days.


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Bisi bele bhath masala

These days I am trying to post as many masala powders as possible. With experience, I have found the home made masala powders are always better than the ready made ones. Also, Indian store being very far from my place, I can only go there once in a while and whenever I go there, I forget to buy some masalas.

I tasted bisi bele bhath in Bangalore for the first time. Though I was not a big fan of it, I absolutely loved it when I prepared it at home. I had used the ready made masala for it. But I prefer the home made one now. I got this recipe from one of the recipe books.

1 tbl spn coriander seeds
7-8 red chillies
1 tea spn chana dal
1 tea spn urad dal
1/4 tea spn fenugreek seeds
1/4 tea spn asafoetida
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 tea spn garam masala
Oil 1 tea spn

Heat oil and fry the ingredients one by one (if everything is fried at once, some spices get burnt and some do not fry at all. So fry them one by one. Garam masala need not be fried). Grind all the fried masalas and garam masala to a smooth powder. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Here is the recipe for bisi bele bhath

Bisi bele bhath masala Read More »

Poha masala powder(Phova pitto/Kumta masala)

Many people call this as “Kumta masala” as this is readily available in Kumta.

What is the first thing any Konkani person can remember when you say “breakfast or evening snack”? Almost 90% of people (especially I have seen guys like it more than girls, it’s just an observation. My father, brother and husband are absolute fans of poha prepared in this way) say it is ‘Kalayile phovu‘ (Kalayile means mixed, phovu is phoha/avalakki). This is a dish which is prepared when you are in hurry and want to have something very fast and that keeps you full for hours. So this is even given to people who work for long hours in sun. Basically it is a food very famous in rural areas.

Phova pitto (pitto meaning powder) is available in the market very easily at our place. Nobody actually prepares it at home. Long back one of the readers asked me about this recipe. My mom uses this powder not only for poha but also for a variety of dishes. I will post those dishes one by one in future.

Coriander seeds 1 cup
Fennel seeds (Soamp) 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds (jeera) 1/4 cup
Cloves 4
Cinnamon (dalchini) 2 inch
Chili powder

Keep the above ingredients except chili powder in hot sun for few hours (I dry roasted the ingredients instead of keeping it in sun). Measure the powder in cups. Add same amount of chili powder to it and grind them all.

Preparation time : 10mins

Some recipes were this powder can be used – kalayilo phovu, chudvo,  phanni phovu, potato sandwich, peas usli, potato bhaji

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Coconut-peanut chutney powder (Shenga chutney pitto)

I think every Indian cuisine has a set of ‘chutney pitto/chutney podi/chutney powder’ recipes. We too make different types of ‘chutney pitto‘ (pitto-powder). Usually most famous chutney powders are the ones with coconut in it. We serve it with bhakris, dosas or idlis. Everybody will have their stock of chutney pitto all the time.

I simply love this Shenga(peanut) chutney pitto.

1 cup dry coconut(kobbari or kopra)
3/4 cup peanut(ground nut or shenga)
5-6 strands curry leaves
8-10 pieces tamarind
1/4 tea spn asafoetida
1 tbl spn chili powder

Roast (without oil) coconut, tamarind and curry leaves till the coconut turns slightly brownish. Let it cool to room temperature.
Roast (without oil) peanuts and remove skin, ready made roasted peanuts can also be used. Let it cool to room temperature.
Grind coconut mixture to a coarse powder. Then grind peanuts, there should be some small pieces of peanuts visible. Oil comes out of roasted peanuts if it is ground for a longer time. So stop the grinding when it is coarsely ground.
Mix coconut powder, peanut powder, chili powder and salt. Store in an airtight container.

Preparation time : 20mins.


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Mango pickle(Karmbi Nonche)

Aayi's Recipes

My mother is called as ‘pickle specialist’ by all our relatives. She makes the best pickles I have ever had. The authentic Konkani mango pickle is prepared using the tiny mangoes called as ‘appi ambli’ (ambli – raw mango). It has a long procedure and I am not sure I would make it any time in my life. She uses very very less amount of oil, no artificial preservatives and the pickle remains good for 3-4 years!!!.

‘Karmbi nonche’ is the easiest pickle among all different pickles she makes. The raw mango is cut into bite size pieces and suffiecient amount of salt is added to it. After 1-2 days, the mango pieces absorb the salt, this stage of mago is called as ‘karmbi’ and the whole process is called as ‘karmbuche’. When we were kids, we used to finish the mango pieces before the masala was added to make the pickle :). Ahh..I still remember that taste.

The distinguishing taste of my mother’s pickles comes from generous amount of Hingu(asafoetida). The hing/hingu that we get at our native has very  strong aroma compared to the ones we usually get in other places. Authentic recipe calls for ‘Til oil'(sesame oil) in this recipe. But I used vegetable oil and still the taste was superb. Asafoetida granules are better compared to the powder, but if they are not available, use the powder.

This pickle is ready to eat as soon as it is prepared. But usually it tastes better from the next day. This pickle is not very long lasting, because the mangoes loose the crunchiness after few days. So finish it within 15days.

Raw mangoes 2
Salt 1/2 cup
Mustard seeds 2 tea spns
Methi(Fenugreek) seeds 1/2 tea spn
Oil 1 tea spn
Asafoetida powder 1/4 tea spn or Asafoetida granules(big sized) 2
Chilli powder 2 tea spns

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karmbi nonche3

Wipe the mangoes with clean cloth to remove any traces of water. Cut them into bite size pieces and add salt. Keep aside for 1-2 days.
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Heat oil and fry mustard, methi seeds and asafoetida. When they start popping, remove from heat and grind them (there should not be any traces of water in any of the vessels used to make pickle. Water spoils the pickle soon).
Add the ground masala and chilli powder to mangoes and mix well.
The first day this pickle should taste a bit salty, if less salt is added, pickle gets spoiled soon.
Store in air tight container.

Preparation time : 30mins
Aayi's Recipes

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