Phyllanthus amarus/ Phyllanthus nururui is the Botanical of this fragile plant! It is called Keezhanelli in Tamil. Keezh - Under/Underneath and Nelli - Berry/ goose berry/ amla!! This teeny plant has sesame seed sized leaves and underneath each leaf blade, it posses black mustard sized berries, which looks exactly like microscopic amla/gooseberry...Oh Tamilians are known for their 'Kaarana Peyar' (meaningful names)!
This plant grows in wild, among the weeds and often gets out of our attention! The whole plant is about 10-20 cms! It is native to Central Asia! It belongs to the family of Euphorbiacea. It is used in medicine, since time immemorial by both Chinese and Indian medicines(both Older civilization, right). Well...since then it has been handed down via tradition to the next generation! Although it sounds like a folks remedy, lot of research has been very convincing so far. It posses immense power to cure various ailments from jaundice to diabetes!
Folks Remedy : The whole plant, along with its root, is washed and ground into paste - swallowed in empty stomach and to wash that down, salt less buttermilk is given. A period of 10 days is said enough to cure even severe jaundice(both Hepatitis B & C). When English medicines fail for small pox and jaundice, people do follow this alternate medicines! Though its going to take a while with severe diet plan, at least it has no side effects!!
Science Behind The Plant: The major constituents of this plants are 1. Liganins, 2. Alkaloids, 3. Plant Flavonoids, 4. Polyphenol compounds and 5. Tanins. [ All these may be composed of phyllanthine, demethoxyninarthin, entnorsecurinine, phyllanthoside, quercetin, ellagic acid, gallic acid etc ]. Well, to give it simple the plant components imply that they are rich in anti-oxidants and disease fighting factors!!
The species P.nururui has been widely studied! The report says that it inhibits the growth and proliferation of the virus (anti hepatitis B) and also affects the replication of their genetic material! The P.nururui exactly blocks the DNA polymerase, an active enzyme...which is very important for both Hepatitis B & C virus to reproduce! Aaaha there is the key!
The gallic acid and the steroidal compounds present in them maybe an effective pain killer of an inflammation! Phyllanthus also cures away the excess uric acid present in the body. The alkoloids helps them to remove stones from the kidney and it also clears the gall bladder. Well, both P.amarus and P.nururui overall strengthens liver and reduces the severity of liver damage(due to fat, drugs, alcohol and even stress/damage caused by cortisol hormone). If you ask me, I will suggest to take them as best detoxing concoctions(even without any serious health issues) to cleanse your body.
When I went to India(last vacation), I spotted this humble fragile plant in my garden! Though Pappa was telling me, not to pluck them, without the need...I kind of did it...for the photo and always wanted to know, what they taste like, he he.
Keezhanelli plant 1 (along with root)
Butter milk 1 cup
Salt to taste.
Do you seriously want to know the steps here!!:)
Nellikkai Instant Pickle:
Gooseberries Pickle. Amla ki Achaar.
Gooseberries 1 cup crushed
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Freshly ground chili powder 1 spoons
Asafoetida 1/2 spoon
Mustard seeds 1 spoons
Curry leaves few
Sesame oil few spoons.
Crush these berries. Oh yeah....discard the seeds if you don't like them! Set them aside in a display bowl.
In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds....allow them to pop well.
Then add curry leaves and asafoetida. Fry them for few seconds.
Add salt, turmeric and chili powder to this. Just few seconds....remove them from stove.
Run this over the chopped berries. Mix them well. Thats it....its ready, get eating.
For variation....one can add dash of fenugreek and mustard powder too.
Its easy to fix....simple instant pickle. Well...keep them in a non-reactive bowl! The acid in the berries may react with steal or iron vessels! Using sea salt would be a good idea. They don't give any metallic taste to the pickle!!
Goose Berry Rasam. Amla Rasam. Nellikai Rasam.
Botanical name of this tree is Emblica officinalis
I always try to fix some new rasam....since 'rasam' is the comfort food for most of the non-vegetarians like me! Anything that is tangy...I try to make rasam out of it. Well....don't get surprised if I fix strawberry/ raspberry rasam in future!
Always I liked Amla(Nellikkai)! For it unique taste and loads of vitamin C'.
Indian Goose berries(large ones) 3-6
Garlic 2 whole heads - peeled and semi crushed
Dry red chilies 6-8
Curry leaves few
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Whole peppercorns 1/4 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
Freshly ground - pepper powder 1 spoon
Freshly ground cumin powder 1 spoon
Sesame oil few spoons.
Washa nd clena the whole berries. Now slice their flesh alone. Remove the seed and discard. Blend them to fine puree using very limited water.
Now filter them to have rich berry juice. Set aside.
In a deep iron wok, heat few spoons of oil. Add garlic and dry red chilies.
Then add berry juicee. Add salt, turmeric and rasam powder(pepper+cumin powders) to it. Bring this to boil just once. Remove from heat quickly. Too much of boiling will deplete the vitamins!
Meanwhile....heat a small iron pan. Add oil and wait till its smoky hot. Now add mustard, cumin, whole pepper, asafoetida and curry leaves. Let it pop and splutter well.
Now run this sesonning over the rasam made.
Serve steaming hot along with plain steam cooked rice.
Amla Rice. Goose-Berries Rice.
Goose-berries 10 + 5
Ginger 3” inch size – peeled and cut into match-stick size sticks.
Green chilies 6 – cut into thin sticks
Curry leaves 1 cup
Chana dal 4 spoons
Urad dal 4 spoons
Mustard seeds 1 spoon
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Asafoetida ¼ spoon
Turmeric powder ¼ spoon
Sesame oil 1 cup
Raw Rice 1 cup
Oil few spoons.
Wash and clean rice several times in running water. Maybe till the water runs clear. Strain and drain them.
In a pressure cooker, add this rice along with 2 cups of water. Add salt and few spoons of ghee.
Cook until it is done. Maybe for 3 whistles.
Then spread this cooked rice in a wide tray and allow it to cool. Maybe one can leave under fan. In this fashion one can get white-clean well separated stiff rice.
For Amla Sauce:
Wash and clean goose-berries(preferably aria-nellikkai in Tamil) Then remove its seeds.
Wet-grind 10 of those berries. While thinly chop like sticks….the remaining 5 berries.
In a heavy iron wok, heat oil. Splutter mustard and cumin seeds….one after the other.
Then add chana and urad dal, fry them till golden to reddish color. Then followed by Asafoetida, green chilies, ginger sticks and curry leaves. Fry them real good.
Now stir-in chopped berries and fry till fragrant. Then add wet-ground berry puree to this. Add salt and turmeric powder and fry them till they consolidate and oil shows-up on sides.
Then take this thick ‘Amla Sauce’ and mix with stiff-well separated rice. Mix them thoroughly. Pack them in a narrow vessel and leave for 2-3 hours.
Serve them later. One can fix this for lunch-box. Vitamin-C rich healthy meal.
Amla In Honey:(Kaasi Special)
Thean Nellikkai. Goose berries in Honey.
Large goose berries 5
Padigaram 1/2 spoon(I am not sure what they call this in any other language)
Sugar 1 cup
Crytal clear water 1 cup
Citric acid 1 pinch
Honey 2 spoons.
Wash and clean goose berries. Pat dry them.
Using a strong needle, make 6-8 holes in berries.
Soak this in water for 3 days.(Each day...change the water)
Now in a bowl, add padigaram and 1/2 cup of water. Add berries too. Boil this for 5 whole minutes.
Then transfer this berries to clean bowl. Wash this berries with clean running water. Pat dry the berries and set aside.
In a vessel, heat sugar + citric acid + 1 cup of water. Let it boil until it comes to syrup-like consistency.
Remove this syrup from stove. Add cooked berries to this sugar-syrup.
Once the syrup cools down....add honey and mix well.
Store this in ceramic or Glass jar. The shelf life could be 6 months.
Amla Juice:(Goose berry juice)
Nellikkai Juice/Nellikkai Sorbet/Sarbath/Sarbeth.
Mint leaves 10
Honey 1 cup
Chop gooseberries and remove its seeds.
Wash mint leaves. Wet grind....gooseberries, mint and honey in a blender.
Squeeze to extract juice from it. Repeat it by adding further cold water.
Serve chilled in short glasses....decorate it with 2-3 mint leaves.
Its rich in vitamin-c.