Nelli Mojito and food styling practical


The plain nelli cordial with sugar.



Scientific name phyllanthus emblica 🙂 nelli in sinhala.

I managed to get a bottle of nelli all the way from sri lanka to dubai and got a luggage weight of 31 kilos.  The officer at the check in counter was very friendly enough and assured the weight was just fine when inquired if I’ve exceeded the maximum weight.

The first thing i did with nelli was just dilute it in water and drank with a bit of added sugar.

Suddenly it clicked to my experimental mind that why not try making a mojito out of this nelli cordial.

So here is how i managed to pull it together.

Its an experiment right?

So i just did a glass for myself.


Half a lemon

2 tablespoons nellisyrup or cordial

Sugar as required

6-8 mint leaves

Water as required


1. Squeeze the lemon in a large glass

2. Add the nelli syrup or cordial

3. Add the mint leaves

4. Pour water

5. mix well and add sugar to taste

6. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving


Nelli is a fruit thats also called as indian gooseberry (confirmed by a fellow blogger ishita g) also called aamla according to Wikipedia.  We sri lankans call it nelli.

In sri lanka we have two varieties and the normal one is commanly use in making pickles, achcharu, nelli syrup or cordial and dosi which according to indian cuisine is knowns as murabbah.

The other type of nelli is medicinal and is recommended for diabetes patients. Its called maranthu nelli and is quiet bitter even it’s cordial is very bitter.

The ways which we have it with a shortnote recipe-

Nelli Achcharu – partially boiled nelli eaten with salt, pepper and chillie.

Nelli thosi – nelli cooked in sugar syrup and soaked in sugar syrup served with its syrup.

Nelli cordial or syrup – the juice extracted from pure nelli diluted in water with sugar and serve cool.

Below is a link on what i found about nelli fruit nd its helath benefits just incase anyone is interested in learning more am not very sure of tha facts but hope googling might work well 🙂

Have a great week ahead.

Mafaza haleem


Sri lankan falooda

I know two types of falooda one is the sri lankan one and the other is bombay version, am not quiet sure of the exact difference between the two yet I know for sure that both taste good in their own way. I make falooda at home which is our homemade version of sri lankan falooda and it’s with kasa kasa also known as black poppy seeds. Two years ago I celebrated my 1st ramadan in dubai by hosting an ifthar for friends and co workers of my husband and my husband taught me how to use agar agar with falooda. I really enjoyed it and ever since started following the same technique while making falooda.
Here is a quick and photogenic post on how to make it.
Prepare bowls with different colors.
Add agar agar into boiling water quantity to be followed according to instructions on packet.
Pour the agar agar mixture through a sieve over the prepared bowls. Mix well and let them set. As they set grate using a grater.
Sprinkle on top of a glass of falooda made with rose water, condensed milk and cool water.
In a few minutes see the colors seperate and create a shade of colors on your falooda.

How to make this agar agar –
Boil 4 cups of water
Add 1 pack agar agar and stir continuously until the agar agar melts and the mixture thickens.
To check consistency pour a drop onto a dry surface and see if it sets partially if so its ready to pour. Another way is to pour a drop onto a bowl of cold water if the drop curdles.
If so take off heat.
Add color after the mixture is thickened.

Down memory lane : foodie tour

Childhood as a foodie

Childhood memories are sweet. My childhood was sweet with sweets. I did groceries for the house, have my meal during the intreval at the school tuckshop and mostly we ate out. I always looked for something new at the school canteen and tried it.
I get myself a couple of idly, wada,  thosa, noodles or bun during my interval at school. I also had an ice cream or soft drinks with some kind of sweets. It was fun at that age. After buying a grocery item for mum I would get myself a few sweets from the grocery.  There is a wide range of sweets that I have not much space to mention or discuss about.  A few I can are pol toffee (coconut rocks), milk toffee, small jaggery, puhul thosi (made of pumpkin) and ice palam a frozen drink usually packed in a small packet which we used to suck the ice by making a small hole in the packet, it was fun.
Buying sweets from the shop and eating on the way back home is also another sweet memory. I still enjoy going to the shop just to buy a bottle of drink or a few sweets and chocolates.
When ever I go to India it’s the same I go to the shops nearby and get myself something. Thats how I food memories as a kid.
I used to make small side dishes after school and have with my lunch. I remember once walking to the shop next door to get a packet of soya, soon after the school van dropped me at home and I cooked it by following the instructions on the package.  It did turn out well. Sometimes I make pol sambol and umbalakada sambol (Maldives fish sambol) to have with plain rice. It was so delicious.

Cooking disaster

As a kid I had a few cooking disasters and one recipe made me tremble in fear as the food got stuck in the plate and the plate cracked. The worst part was It wasn’t my mums plate but my grannma’s.
It all went on as follow –
I’ve got a cousin sister who used to make these pol toffees(coconut rocks). I’ve watched her make and she did explain the recipe. I wanted to try making it and gathered the ingredients.  My assistant was my younger sister. We had to melt the sugar but what went wrong was we caramalized the sugar and added the coconut. Without checking the consistency we spread it onto a glass plate and ended up with no sweet and a broken plate.
Did I give up trying out new recipes? Not at all.

After that cooking failure I learnt how to make cutlets, laddu and a few other types of food at my home economics class in school.

The cutlets I made tasted good but cracked open before I took it off the oil pan.
But I never gave up practicing,  as they say

practice makes perfect

I got my cutlets uncracked as time passed by.

The laddu I made also cracked but I never wanted to try it again. I dint like the taste of laddu (semolina laddu).

I used to make banana milkshakes and it was perfect.

Trying potato halwa my mum’s recipe was a bit tough. The first time I made it the potatoes were raw and the halwa dint come together which we had to lick the condensed milk as it was so delicious we dint wanna throw. This particular recipe I never gave up. I kept trying and trying till I made it right.  The second time the potatoes were perfectly cooked and the consistency was just right but I took off heat too early and it was not set yet tased good. The thrid attempt was a success and finally everyone was happy as I wouldn’t be finishing anymore of the potatoes and condensed milk.

Then started my urge to cook and try new things which has followed until today and will be with me till the end.

Now wondering what age I was talking about? Well I was 11 when I forst started making the soya curry and pol sambol,  its not too early but still its too young.

Now am an adult and on vacation in sri lanka I have been revisiting the memories by tasting the sweets and snacks I had in my school days.

A few images of my so called sweets are to follow –


Coconut rocks or pol toffee


Milk toffee


Faluda magic popsicle


Soya meat curry.


Thalaguli (a sweet made of sesame seeds and jaggery)


Gal siyambala (tamarind family) it so sour and tangy. You’ve gotta remove the shell and you’ll find a soft skin coated over a very tiny seed inside. You eat the skin and throw the seed. One of my after school favourites.

Jumbo jolly its so juicy and delicious. One of my favorite after school popsicles.

Pol sambol (coconut sambol) with rice and papadam


Candied peanuts

More food stories to follow in my next post hope you enjoyed reading my childhood food stories.
All images are mine and please ask if you need to use them.

Thank you