Nellikai is Gooseberry in English and Amla in Hindi, thokku with regards to a dish, in tamil means to be mashed.
I already have a Amla Pickle recipe here. This is a drier version of that.
Since I dont have access to fresh gooseberries, I use frozen ones.
If you get fresh gooseberries, you would wash them, pat dry and cut and either directly move to step num 3
(this takes more oil but lasts longer)
or pressure cook first (this takes lesser oil compared to the above but if you are like me, the pickle may not last more than a month, (in the bottle, I mean))
Sesame oil is optional, I love the flavor it brings to the pickle, you can use any oil you prefer.
The Chili Powder I use to make pickles is from Hyderabad. It gives it a good color and is equally spicy.You can use any chili powder, you have access to.
To make the thokku with two standard frozen bags you need.
2 bags of Frozen gooseberries / Amla/ Nellikai
3 Tablespoons Indian Sesame oil or Gingelly oil
2 tsp of Mustard seeds
4 Dry Red chilies
Salt as needed
Chili powder - approx 1/4 of the amount of Cooked Gooseberries
Methi Seeds - 1 tsp or Methi Powder
Hing - a generous 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
-----> Put the frozen gooseberries along with a 2 tsp of salt and pressure cook them.
----> Once the pressure is down, you wait for the amlas to cool down and patiently take out the seeds, otherwise it may bother you by taking more space in the jar
Always cook in Med Flame
----> In a kadai, add the oil and let it heat up and once its hot add the mustard seeds and let them burst
----> Add the dry red chili , methi seeds, turmeric powder, and hing and immediately add the de-seeded gooseberries to it and start to mix everything well
----> In a few minutes, everything will be incorportated in to the pickle, now mix it up with your ladle and divvy the mixture in to four parts and add the chili powder so that it covers 1/4 of the mixture completely. If you like it spicy, then add a little more for good measure, add about 1 tsp of salt and mix and taste for salt and if necessary you can add more.
----> In under 15 minutes, you will notice the gooseberries start to wilt and it will be easy to mash them up.
----> At this point, turn off the stove and let cool
----> Transfer the pickle to a dry jar and keep it in a cool place
Make sure you dont insert a wet spoon and nothing falls in to the jar accidentaly. This will make sure the pickle doesnt go bad. Made this way, you can use little oil and not feel guilty about eating pickle!