Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Gooseberry Wine


                                                        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
Sugar- 1kg
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.

Assembly
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.

Fermentation
 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!





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages" -- Louis Pasteur
                  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Picture of the week ~ The Palace of Illusions



 Blogging had been taking away much or whole of my free time for the past 5 years.
 Badly wanting to go back to reading I got this novel after my sister's suggestion.

 The story is all about Mahabharatha, the greatest epics ever since, in Panchaali's (the Pandavas' wife) point of view! Palace of  Illusions took me to a roller coaster ride of emotions :  pride, fear, anxiety, desire, laughter, worry, envy, resentment.... eventually I saw myself in Panchaali !

Her complicated relationship with Krishna which she herself fails to decipher, the way her heart reaches out for Karna... beautifully portrayed!

I don't remember crying after a novel but this one got my eyes brimming, when Karna confesses to Bheeshma, in his death bed, his mingled feelings of passion and respect, he had for Panchaali!
And again, when Arjun doomed after Krishna's sad end, when panchaali confronts the blue corpse wrapped in yellow silk...
Three loud cheers to you Chitra!!

And this mighty lady, Gandhari, removes the cloth tied around her eyes, powering every cell of her beloved son Duryodhan's body with immense strength so as to withstand the war against Pandavas--- goosebumps!
The way Krishna signals Bheema during the duel with the strong Duryodhan, to break the bones high up his thighs ( he was supposed to be naked when he confronted his mother to acquire her supreme strength in him, but he wore a loin cloth) the part of his body where he had his own/lesser power and Bheema who listens to it is cursed, for breaking the rule of duel war as not supposed to hit a rival under his navel, while Duryodhan enters the heaven.....
 Krishna bears the sin and turning to Panchali he says he accepts the sin for her sake, as he couldn't stand the way she was humiliated by Duryodhan in his court and he deserved such a death!
The flashing emotions Krishna sees on her face, the way he gets confused....
Ah! I am losing words here....

After all it's Mahabharatha! which has already found its place to dwell...in my system!!