NAARTANGAI GOJJU/HERALEKAI GOJJU
Sweet, sour, hot ( spicy ), salty, bitter and astringent are the six types of tastes that our taste buds can perceive. According to Ayurveda each of these tastes ingested through the food plays a significant role in keeping our system balanced and in good condition.
The taste buds are numbed by all the sweets, savouries and other delicacies after indulging in grand feasts. The fresh and bitter tang of naartangai / heralekai / citron tickles and sharpens the taste buds. The bitter sour Citron is good for a heavy stomach and it stimulates and refreshes the entire digestive system.
My mother always stores a bottle of "uppu naartangai' ( Salted and dried citron pieces ) in a jar. She loves to chew a small piece after her meal even if it is a simple one.
Naartangai / Heralekai / Citron - 1
Tamarind - one small lime size
Jaggery ( powdered ) - 1 tbsp
Salt - 2 tsps
Sambar Powder - 2 tsps
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - one pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tbsp
Rad chillies ( broken ) - 2
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Slit green chillies - 2
Chopped fresh ginger - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Dry roasted and coarsely powdered sesame seeds - 2 tbsps
1. Wash and cut naartangai / heralekai / citron into medium size pieces.
2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract a thick juice.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard seeds splutter add the fenugreek seeds and the bengal gram dal.
5. When the seasoning turns golden in colour emanating a pleasant aroma, add the broken red chillies.
5. Add slit green chillies, ginger and the curry leaves.
6. Turn down the flame to medium and add asafoetida and turmeric powder.
7. Immediately add the naartangai /heralekai/citron pieces and stir well.
8.Cover and cook on medium heat for two or three minutes.
9. When the citron pieces soften a little add the tamarind extract, salt, jaggery and sambar powder.
10. Cover and cook till the citron becomes soft, stirring now and then.
11. When the gojju is fragrant and the oil separates add the roasted and powdered sesame seeds and switch off the flame immediately.
( If you prefer a liquidy gojju , make a paste with a spoon of rice flour and water and add it to the boiling gojju when it is still in a liquid state as soon as the citron is cooked and the raw smell is gone. When the gojju thickens a little add the sesame powder.)
Enjoy with hot steaming rice topped with a spoon of fresh ghee.