Tastespotted , Foodgawked
Amla or nellikka wine needs no introduction to a Malayalee as it is a common and simple delicacy, brewed at almost all the Christian houses of central Kerala for years during the festival seasons of Easter, Christmas or otherwise.
This had been a recipe which I had wanted to share with you for such a long time and here we go...
Nellikka / Gooseberry Wine (without yeast)
Recipe courtesy- Seba, one of my closest pals in town.
Yield - Three 750 ml wine bottles, +/-
Get ready with:-
Gooseberry / Amla / Nellikka- 1 kg
Water- 1 litre
Preparation of the sugar syrup.
Mix sugar and water to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Switch off stove. Cool down the syrup to room temperature. Strain to remove any impurities. Keep aside.
Preparation of the berries.
Wash the gooseberries well in running water. Spread on a kitchen towel and wipe them one by one completely dry with a clean and dry piece of cloth.
Layer the them in a dry, clean sundried bharani (which I had used in one of the pickle recipes )or the traditional earthen pot. Pour the cooled sugar syrup over the berries in the bharani. Close the bharani with its loose lid with a cloth tied around the mouth.
Stir the mixture everyday with a wooden ladle. If you happen to see a fungal layer on top, which is unusual but may happen for beginners, skim /discard carefully from the surface.
The wine needs to ferment for 21 days.
Strain the mixture using a clean and dry muslin cloth. Retain the berries after liquid part has passed through. Transfer a few at a time to a broad and deep metal sieve and extract the pulp gently from them. You might find them soft as soaked in the wine or a few may be broken too. Discard the remains.
Colouring the wine by caramelising.
The wine thus filtered has a light amber colour or the colour of tears, to be precise!
Caramelising is done to add the colour of the final wine to improve the looks, making it look sexier ;)
Sugar- 1 cup
Hot water -1/2-3/4 cup
Place a clean dry wok on medium fire. Transfer sugar to it and stir continuously till it melts and acquires a golden brown- reddish brown hue. burn. Now, add hot water to this syrup (take care and stay a little away while doing this as it bubbles up) little by little and mix well. There would be lumps at this stage but you can see the colour getting deepened to a more reddish brown colour. Return to low heat and melt them completely by a gentle simmer. The syrup should not boil much or thicken (as a thick syrup doesn't blend with the wine). Cool and add this whole syrup to the wine. Combine well.
The wine would have attained a beautiful deep red colour, now.
Aging of wine enhances the taste and improves the colour.
Check also Swapna's recipe where the uncaremelised wine had acquired its hue naturally as a result of aging!
Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages" -- Louis Pasteur