Amla Launji is a north indian, instant sweet, sour and spicy chutney made with amla(indian gooseberries). It is super easy to make and deliciously pairs with any kind of indian meal.
During winters, a lot of amla recipes like amla chutney, amla murraba and dried amla were made every week at my home with fresh, in season amla. My grandmother truly had a deft hand with spices and her achar (pickles)and chutneys were the best! I especially loved amla murabba and launji because they are lipsmakcingly delicious - a mouthwatering concoction of sweet, spicy and tart.
For years I did not make these recipes since amla was hard to source here in Vegas. It is only during the past 4-5 years that I have started finding frozen amla in our indian store. Still fresh amla isn't available but frozen amla does the job! Recently mom reminded me of this amla launji and I made it last week and enjoyed with parathas and chai. If you like to include amla in your diet, you will love this launji- it has simple ingredients and lasts for about a week in the fridge.
What is Amla?
Amla or indian gooseberries are small and roundish berries which are yellowish green in color. They are considered a immunity boosting superfood in india due to their high antioxidant and Vitamin C content. They find both culinary as well as cosmetic uses and have a prominent astringent taste. When ripe, they are extremely sour & juicy and are used to make chutneys, jams & jellies and candies.
In India, they are in season during the winter months and are easily available in markets. I am yet to find the fresh ones here so I use the frozen amla available in indian or pakistani stores. You will be able to find both whole and sliced frozen amla.
You can read more about Amla and its benefit here.
Why you will love this Amla Launji recipe?
Amla is know to have quite a pucker but can be really delicious if cooked properly!
- Instant Chutney :- Unlike murrabas(sugar syrup preserves), amla launji is super fast to make. It takes about 20 -25 minutes to make this recipe.
- Its so Yummy! - Amla launji has a delicious flavor profile of sour, sweet and spicy. If you love khatta(sour) & meetha(sweet) together, you will really love this gooseberry chutney recipe.This spiced sweetish amla chutney transforms this berry into something really flavorful.
- Lasts for days - You can make a batch and launji will stay well for upto 10 days in the fridge.
- Best Way to eat Amla (in my opinion) - Amla is full of vitamins and minerals. Including amla regularly in your diet may lead to numerous health benefits. This tangy sweet spicy chutney is one of the best things to incorporate in meals. Moreover, I sweeten the launji with jaggery making it refined sugar free. With its delish taste and the goodness of jaggery, in my opinion this is truly one awesome way to consume amla.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this sweet sour gooseberry chutney recipe :-
- Amla(Indian Gooseberries) - Fresh or Frozen
- Mustard Oil - Is used extensively in indian cooking. The taste of achar and launji is best when they are cooked in mustard oil. However, you can use any neutral cooking oil instead.
- Whole Spices (like fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds etc)
- Powdered Spices(Red chilli powder, turmeric, kala namak(indian black salt). Black salt is a pinkish tangy rock salt used in indian cuisine. It can be easily purchased at indian stores.
- Jaggery. Jaggery or gud/gur is unprocessed cane sugar used in indian cuisine. It is available in powdered as well as solid forms. You can buy it online too. The color of jaggery differs from very light(whitish) to dark brown. Hence, the color of launji will differ as well depending on the kind of jaggery you use.
If you do not wish to use jaggery, you can use sugar instead. Please see the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Amla Launji?
Here are the Steps to Make Amla Launji :-
- Step 1 :- Prepare the Amla.
- If Using Fresh Amla :- If you are using fresh amla, wash it thoroughly and steam whole amla for about 10 minutes.(no boiling in water). Steaming fresh amla makes it a tender and it finishes cooking in the launji. Once steamed, you can cut amla is chunks or slices.
- If Using Frozen Amla :- Thaw the amla for a few hours (4-5) and the slice or chop it and use it to make launji. Dont thaw the frozen amla completely.
- Step 2:- Temper hot mustard oil with spices, once they crackle add the amla and sprinkle the turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Saute for a few minutes.
- Step 3: Add powdered jaggery. Mix and add some water. Cover and cook til amla is soft but not too mushy, it should have a bite to it. You can make the launji as thick or runny as you want. Personally, I like it slightly thickish.
- Step 4:- Finish with some kala namak. Store in an air tight container and keep refrigerated.
Which Pans to Use for Cooking Amla ?
The kind of pots or pan that we use for cooking can can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. You can use any kind of pot or pan for making this amla launji except the ones made with pure iron metal. Enamaled cast iron is fine.
Amla has a lot of acid and the taste of launji will be different(a bit metallic) if you make it in lohe ki kadai(iron wok). Please note that this is just my suggestion since my grandmother always used to advise against it 🙂
Once cooled, store the launji in clean, sterile glass containers with a lid on for up 10 days.If you made the launji using fresh amla, you can freeze it for 2-3 months. Make sure to use a clean spoon to scoop. I don't recommend freezing launji made with frozen amla.
How To Serve Amla Launji?
You can serve amla launji with any kind of meal like paratha/roti with sabzi or with dal & chawal. I enjoy it with papad and snacks like mathri & paapdi too.
Few Useful Tips
- If using solid jaggery, break it into little pieces before adding.
- Avoid overcooking the launji, I suggest keeping the shape of sliced amla intact. Cook through the amla without letting it get mushy. The texture of launji is good that way.
- If you can not a fan of chewing on whole spices, you can coarsely pound them in a mortar pestle before tempering the oil. Don't powder the spices else the launji will be super bitter.
- The launji thickens as it sits, so its better to leave it a little runny at the end of cooking.
Amla Launji Recipe
- 8-10 fresh or frozen amla
- 2 tablespoon mustard oil
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon methi dana(fenugreek seeds)
- ½ teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- pinch of turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon extra hot red chili powder, adjust to tolerance
- ½ teaspoon indian kala namak(black salt)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup water (or as needed)
- ½ cup jaggery powder, or to taste
- Prepare the Amla.If Using Fresh Amla :- If you are using fresh amla, wash it thoroughly and steam whole amlas for about 10 minutes.(no boiling in water). Steaming fresh amla makes it a little tender and it finishes cooking in the launji. If Using Frozen Amla :- Thaw the amla for a few hours (4-5). Wipe it dry and the slice it and use it to make launji. Dont thaw the frozen amla completely.
- Heat up oil in a pan/kadai on medium low heat. Once the oil is hot, temper with black mustard seeds and wait a few seconds til they start to crackle.
- Add the rest of the whole spices and hing all together and let crackle in oil taking care not to burn them.
- Add the sliced amla next. Sprinkle red chilli powder and salt. Mix the amla with spices. Add water and let cook for 5-6 minutes till the amla slices are starting to warm through.
- Next add the jaggery and you will notice the launji will get runny. Cover and cook on medium low heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until amla is tender to your liking. Don't let it get mushy. Please note that the thawed frozen amla might cook faster, fresh steamed amla might take a bit longer. Add a little water if you feel that the things are getting a bit dry.
- Switch off the stove,mix in the kala namak. Launji will be a bit runny but it will thicken as it cools.
- Store in clean air tight glass containers for a 10 days. Use a clean spoon to scoop.