Amla murabba is a visual, culinary, and health treat! In this recipe, the wonder fruit of Ayurveda, amla or Indian gooseberry, is simmered in a thick sugar syrup, and spiced with black pepper, black salt, cardamom, and saffron, transforming the juicy, light green fruit into a luscious jam or relish, with rich brown hues. A little bit of amla murabba everyday with your breads, rotis, parathas, or just as is, is sure to give you a boost of immunity and digestive strength for the day, and is a sure shot daily recipe for beautiful skin and hair!
Ingredients (makes 2 cups of murabba):
- Raw amla (Indian gooseberry) – 18 medium sized ones
- Water (450 ml for making sugar syrup, additional water may be needed while cooking the amla initially)
- Sugar (2 cups)
- Black pepper powder (1 tsp)
- Black salt (sanchal) (1 tsp)
- Cardamom powder (1 tsp)
- Saffron flakes (1 tsp)
- Cover the amla with water in a vessel and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the amla looks tender. You will start to see the segments appear on the amla when the amla is done.
- Drain out the water and save it.
- Separate the segments from the cooked amla and remove the seeds. Keep this aside.
- Take 450 ml of water in a vessel. You can use the water that was used for cooking the amla. You can add fresh water in case you don’t have enough of the cooking water.
- Add sugar to the water and bring to a boil. In about 10-15 minutes, the sugar and water will become into a 1 string syrup consistency. Take a little bit of the syrup between your thumb and index finger (ensure that you cool the syrup before touching it) and pull to see if a string-like consistency has been reached.
- Add the cooked amla to the above syrup. Bring to a boil again.
- The amla may release some water, so you might see that the volume of water has increased. Keep cooking for 20-25 minutes on a medium flame, until the syrup becomes thick and gooey, attaining a 3 string consistency. At this point, add the saffron, pepper, black salt and cardamom powders. Mix well.
- Switch off the flame.
- The color will progressively darken if you just let the murabba sit, until it attains a luscious, rich brown hue by the next morning. Store in an air-tight container.
Sweet (amla, sugar), sour (amla), salty (black salt), bitter (amla), pungent (black pepper, cardamom, amla), astringent (saffron, amla). See how amla appears in all the tastes, except salty! Yes, amla is one of those foods that has all the tastes, except the salty taste.
Amla is held in very high esteem in Ayurveda. It is tridoshic, and is especially useful for pitta pacification. It helps boost immunity, digestive health, improves skin and hair, and helps in respiratory conditions, among its myriad benefits. Black salt is a great digestive. Cardamom, is a tridoshic spice that helps in digestion related ailments, combats mucus production and is a calming antispasmodic. Saffron is a tridoshic spice that is very cooling and specifically useful for pitta pacification. It is great for reproductive health, blood purification, and skin health. Black pepper is great for kapha pacification, but can tend to be pitta aggravating. It is also a great digestive aid, decongestant and helps burn toxins. Sugar is obviously kapha aggravating, but the addition of the spices makes this suitable for kapha consumption, in moderation. Overall though, this is a very tridoshic recipe, with numerous health benefits as mentioned above.
Amla murabba is a sattvic dish. It is sweet, nourishing and calming in nature. Don’t overdo the pungent spices like pepper, which can increase rajas and also detrimentally alter the taste of this dish. Amla murabba, once prepared can be safely stored in a dry, air-tight container, at room temperature for up to a year.