food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

pakistani gooseberry pickleDespite my advanced (advancing?) age I love Instagram. Any downtime (standing in a queue, riding the bus) I will scroll away on my phone, staring happily at hazy beaches peopled with the lithe and the tanned; folks’ daft dogs coming way too close to the camera; style parades of impossibly impractical shoes and smart city shorts. Sigh.

I don’t get jealous, but I do sometimes wonder how close to real life-perfect are these mesmeric images. Do these stunning people eating sushi in neon dens of cool have zits? Or suffer heartache?

Are there filters for these?

pakistani gooseberry (amla) pickleMost people engaging in this very hipster way of communicating to the masses are young. Sub-20 young, so properly young. But the great thing about Instagram is that no matter what your age, if you post it, they will come. I haven’t been on very long, nor do I have loads of followers, but it is one of my favourite ways to share ideas and recipes in progress. A lot of my recipes show up first on Instagram; and I also post mini recipes that will not make the blog (lots of breakfasts and juices, if you are interested).

Loads of savvy Insta users (IG-ers) post brilliantly edited images. Some of the food shots are just stunning; reflecting, I’m sure,  clever lighting and editing. But me being me I prefer to bumble along with my rather crappy phone shots, employing little in the way of editing, or nous in hashtagging. Just like I don’t envy the stylish hipsters and their sushi den lifestyle, I don’t envy these sumptuous or intriguingly spare shots of food either. Inspired yes, but no, not jealous. Because, you know, everyone is just so nice.

Unlike Twitter, where it can get all fraught and angsty, Instagram is a loose collection of millions of people just posting stuff they think is cool, or clever, or cute, or hot. Of course, there are some nasty people posting stuff you wouldn’t want your granny to see, but mostly it is pretty amazing that I can view what people around the world are doing and photographing right now. The Insta in Instagram.

I also have been asking more questions on Instagram. Where I might normally ask a question on Twitter and get perhaps an answer or two, on Insta, this friendly posse of snappers will bless me with more than double that. Sometimes as many as a dozen answers or suggestions.

fresh gooseberriesJust the other day I had a load of gooseberries given to me by a green-fingered and kind neighbour. These organic, allotment-grown orbs of jade beauty couldn’t just go in jam. As nice as jam is. I wanted to do something special; something sugar-free and highlighting the sour nature of these really lovely berries. And, like jam, I wished to make something that would last, and make me smile as I dipped into it with a sly spoon. I got quite a few suggestions, but the one from Sumayya popped out and grabbed me by the apron: pickle. And as she is Pakistani, I knew what kind of pickle she was meaning.

So, I looked out my trusty carrot pickle recipe for ideas (I really should post it) and tinkered until I think I got the flavour profile doing most justice to these beautifully tart fruits. So, thank you Instagram, thank you Sumayya. Incidentally cookery teacher Sumayya is an entrepreneur, making and selling gorgeous- sounding spice mixes. I’ve not tried any yet, but with names like marigold petal garam masala, I really should, shouldn’t I? A curry made with this blend would be just perfect with this pickle, wouldn’t it?

If you are on Instagram, do look me up (my ‘feed’ is in the sidebar to the right). Especially if you like breakfast! Btw, this pickle is great with scrambled eggs. 🙂

pakistani gooseberry (amla) pickle

Pakistani Gooseberry (Amla) Pickle

  • Servings: 2 jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This is more or less a ‘fresh’ pickle, to be eaten within three months of making and storing in the refrigerator. Longer lasting pickles – ones that undergo lacto-fermentation – are delicious but involve way more oil, salt and vinegar. And waiting! Such pickles usually entail obtaining mustard oil, which is difficult to get for most outside of the Indian subcontinent.  The oil and salt are for preserving, so if you wish just cut out the oil and reduce the salt, eating this tangy refrigerated pickle within a week or two (I would halve the recipe if you were to do this).

Oh, and do adjust the heat to your palate. It’ll be just dandy without the added crushed chilli flakes. Don’t be afraid of the Kashimiri chilli: it is mild, fragrant and has the best colour for this type of pickle. But paprika and a little cayenne are good subs.

This delightful fresh pickle partners well with all Pakistani and Indian foods, as well as being damn fine on a crispbread with a little goats cheese!

½ kg (just over 1 lb) gooseberries – can use frozen

1 tbsp salt (it acts as a preservative and seasoning)

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp crushed dried jalapeno peppers, or other hot, unsmoked dried pepper (optional)

4 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (mild and very flavourful) OR 1/2 tbsp cayenne + 3 tbsp paprika (sweet/mild)

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp asafoetida powder (use onion powder in a pinch)

1 tsp fenugreek powder (freshly ground preferred)

1 tbsp white vinegar

Extra oil for preserving if liked (unroasted sesame oil for preference)

Wash and trim the stalks and tails from the gooseberries. Pop them into a medium saucepan, add enough water to go halfway up the gooseberries and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes, or until they break down and most are burst. Drain away the liquid, but don’t press it. Set aside for now.

In a wok or karahi heat the oil. When hot, but definitely not smoking, add the mustard seeds. They will splutter and pop; stir and add the salt, garlic, ginger, hot pepper flakes, Kashmiri pepper or the cayenne and paprika combo, turmeric, asafoetida and fenugreek powders. Stir this for a couple of minutes then take off the heat. Stir in the vinegar and gooseberries; let cool a little before tasting from a dry spoon.  Add a little more vinegar or chili if you like.pakistani gooseberry (amla) pickle

Bottle up in sterilized jars.  This should fill 2 good-sized jam jars. Store refrigerated and only use a dry spoon when using: water may spoil the pickle.The recipe is easily doubled/tripled.

pakistani gooseberry (amla) pickle



49 thoughts on “How To Make Pakistani Gooseberry (Amla) Pickle

  1. Mouth watering pickles…just love it

  2. This looks so good…and beautiful!

  3. After ignoring it for eons, I have become an instagramaholic and like you i find it more of a fun playground. Incidently I found out what alma is via instagram after seeing in a shop and asking what it was.

    1. What a coincidence! Love Instagram for the fun, the knowledge, the beauty 🙂

  4. Beth Berger says:

    We had these for sale in my market the other day–may have to pick some up if they still have them and try this out. 🙂

    1. I hope that you do. Save some for jam though too 😉

  5. I admire your style of writing… It really paints a picture for me as a reader 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! What a nice thing to say :-)))

  6. Wonderful and you’re so welcome for the inspiration for this happy to help! Also so glad you also labelled Pakistani, as you know that is my ‘mission’ 🙂

    1. Well, I’m glad I overcame my shyness and asked. Thank you so much for the one-word inspiration 😉

  7. mmmarzipan says:

    Wonderful! I have to check out your Instagram gallery!

  8. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    Nice! I haven’t seen gooseberries for years!

  9. Can’t say I’ve ever had a gooseberry, but I love the idea of adding all these yummy spices and making a “pickle”. Always love your (unadultered) Instagram pics 🙂

    1. Any sourish fruit is great in a Pakistani or Indian-style pickle. I also do a carrot pickle and an eggplant one that are pretty good too. So, it’s not all exotica over here!

  10. Sandy Sneddon says:

    My mouth is watering at the thought of making and tasting this. We lived in Pakistan and love food from from there.

    1. Wow, Sandy. I did not know that. What a change living in Scotland 😉 Do let me know if you make this pickle, but I trust you will put your own Sandy spin on it. I know you will have more experience with the right flavours

  11. The chutney looks amazing, can it be made with other fruits/vegetables?? Very interesting to read about your thoughts on Instagram too, maybe it’s time to resurrect my account…?

    1. Carrots! I do carrot pickle a little differently but mostly the same flavour profile. Aubergine! Same deal. Revive that IG account and let me know when you do 🙂

      1. I’ve done it, I’m foodbodelaine 🙂 I have aubergines and carrots right here 👍👍

      2. Woo hoo! Consider yourself well and truly followed my friend 😉 PS let me know if you make the pickle. Have fun with the flavours – freestyle!

      3. Ha ha! Thank you xx by the way if you don’t edit or specially light your photos you’re obviously just naturally a brilliant photographer!!!

      4. Oh, I do a little edit sometimes but just the basics you get with Instagram. I would love Whitagram (my daughter raves about it) but it’s not for the likes of us Android users ;-( But thanks anyway!

      5. I’ve never heard of that one!!! there’s so many now 😳

      6. I know, but mainly for iPhone users. I switched to a Sony for the big old-lady screen!

      7. Ha ha!! You do make me laugh, you’re the most fabulous looking old lady I’ve ever met!!

      8. I have a giant filter I carry around 😉

      9. Like one of those old magnifying glasses for TV’s??

      10. Nah. One of those smudgy, lines-hiding ones hipsters use with their Holga cameras. But a 5’6″ sized one. Front and back…

      11. Ha ha!! Only slightly cumbersome then…??

  12. I think everyone should eat more pickles. They really are so good and liven up any drab dish with their spicing and sharp kick. I also love Instagram and how easy it is as well as interesting. We are all so busy that I find this way of sharing the least time consuming!

    1. Me too! On both accounts – pickle eating and the time economy of Instagramming.

  13. Deena Kakaya says:

    Oh Kellie I am glad I’m not the only one! I’m actually ridiculously pleased about someone else (that I think highly of) prefers Instagram surfing to sometimes angsty twitter. In fact I read your words out to my husband who just says, ‘it’s true, do whatever puts you in a good mood’.

    I am totally making this chutney! It looks juicy, it’ll no doubt ve tangy and versatile. Our local pick-your-own farm has loads of gooseberries right now so I am taking the boy and making this gorgeous recipe. Xx

    1. I know you made the pickle/chutney. I hope it turned out okay for you and that you freestyled it a la Deena 🙂

      1. Deena Kakaya says:

        It evoked memories of the Indian pickle shop (yes a whole shop of indian pickles) that my mum used to take me to! I only deviated from your recipe very slightly with the addition of a little kalonji, a bit of lemon and sugar and just slightly less Kashmiri chilli for my tame taste buds, thanks for an awesome recipe Kellie xx

      2. Good tweaks. Actually my carrot pickle has kalonji and less chilli, and this amla version is a tweak on that! Spooky! I am delighted that this recipe evoked a unique childhood memory. I would have loved to have been able to visit a shop devoted to the art of pickles!

  14. narf77 says:

    Most interesting but something that I am unlikely to ever get the base ingredient for because like rhubarb, Stevie-boy HATES gooseberries. I had only seen those vintage style 70’s looking sepia Instagram images and thought that’s all that Instagram was prior to being sent a link to my daughters new Instagram page whereby they mercilessly teased me by sharing images that they were taking of a city on Mainland Australia that they were visiting for the day on a secret day flight over and back… secret…didn’t tell mum… didn’t ASK mum! All day they posted amazing food, fun things that they were doing and I realised that there is SO much more to Instagram. Signed up and am planning a retaliation trip ASAP 😉

    1. What are we going to do with Steve? I mean, no rhubarb and now no gooseberries. The rest of the ingredients go superbly with mango. I trust he likes a bit of mango? Ask him to make some for you and you can Instagram him in an apron and make him an IG star. That’s what I would do anyway. 🙂

      1. narf77 says:

        Nope, not a fan of mangoes either…but that means all of the rhubarb, the gooseberries and the mango is MINE. Always a silver lining to every situation, you just have to look for it :). I fear that if I put Stevie-boy in an apron and instagrammed him the world wouldn’t be ready for it 😉

  15. Lovely! Love tart fruits in many guises. I made a pickle with similar Indian flavours recently, you may like it:

  16. what lovely pictures. I am increasingly loving Insta for its positivity and creative inspiration.

  17. posted before I added that I love pickles and am going to try lots of these over the summer. My main plan is green mango pickle. Love Amla

  18. This sounds so good, can’t believe I have just (literally today) used all my gooseberries to make fool. When I can get my hands on some more I will try this!

    1. I’m glad you like the sound of these. I’m needing to make more very soon to keep up with ‘local demand’ (eg us and a keen neighbour). Luckily they are still around up here. Let me know if you get a chance to make this. Thanks!

  19. I am a huge fan of pickles, chutneys and achar in general. This one definitely stands out and I have not made a gooseberry one to date. I have a few on my site which may appeal to you also. Lovely post.

  20. Wow this looks fantastic

  21. Sandy Sneddon says:

    Just made this with the last of our gooseberries. Added a wee dash of lemon juice to make it slightly sourer (and more to our taste). Looking forward to enjoying this. A masterstroke from whover had the idea of using gooseberries for achchaar!

    1. I usually add lemon or lime to for the same reason. I hope you enjoy it when the time comes to dig in. I have eaten it right away but I think it is more flavoursome with a bit patience. I am very flattered that you made it, Sandy! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I trust you are up at the Foodies at the Festival this weekend??

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.