Yesterday, I spotted a bag of frozen aamlas at the Indian store and grabbed it greedily. This was the first time I had laid eyes on amlas in the 5 years that I have lived in the USA. Well, I should say, this was the first time I noticed. Last month when I spoke to amma, she said aamlas were available for Rs.10 a Kg. What I bought was maybe a 200g bag of frozen aamlas for $1.99 (quick and rounded calculation – Rs.100). I could have bought 10 kgs of amla for the same price!
It has been a while since I did such calculations. New to this country as a student, back in 2001, it was my regular habit to convert dollars to rupees for every purchase and go ‘Rs.2000 for a week’s worth of grocery?’ or ‘Rs.150 for a cup of coffee at starbucks?’. But now, when I go to India, I do the calculations other way around and feel happy about how much I saved. I still can’t tune my brain to work in miles, faranheit and pounds though. Why the US doesn’t follow the metric system still beats me. The ‘think metric’ photo at Mythili’s blog really made me smile.
Anyway, back to aamlas. The best way I like to eat them is by soaking them in brine for a few days, which is what I did right after getting back home. You need a glass bottle with a leakproof lid. Make brine with water and required amount of salt. I would say about a tablespoon for every cup of water. Add some turmeric and drop in the aamlas. Make sure you give the bottle a good shake once in two days. In about 4-5 days they will soak up the salt and swell up with flavour. Enjoy!