As a child and even well into my adulthood, I always ended most of my meals with mosaranna (yogurt rice) and uppinkai (pickles). This is a ritual followed in most Brahmin homes across the different south Indian states.
I would not be wrong if I said that mango pickles evoke strong memories in the heart of any Indian man or woman. Up north it would be memories of savouring spicy raw mango pickles with buttered parathas and yogurt on the side. Down south it would be memories of savoring mango pickle with yogurt rice and papad (pappadum or happala) on the side.
And with the intermingling of cultures, most of us would be subject to delicious meals comprising of dishes from the north, south, west and east with the mango pickle by the side.
I have tasted mango pickles made by friends and different family members. In my family, about 7 to 8 varieties of mango pickles are made.
The recipe that Im sharing today is a mix of my grandmother and aunt's pickle recipes. I made this recipe last year and loved it but never got around to sharing the recipe as I got busy with my brother,s wedding and my nutrition exams thereafter.
This year I had no plans of making mango pickles until my mother's parcel arrived bearing farm fresh raw mangoes with the most delicate and fragrant aroma.
While the western world is discovering the benefits of fermented foods, the age old system of medicine in India, Ayurveda recommends eating fermented foods like pickles to stimulate agni or the digestive fire required to digest food.
Pickles also stimulate certain digestive enzymes in our saliva which further enhances the taste and the digestion of food. Once the agni or digestive fire is stimulated it also dissolves ama or toxins in the intestinal tract.
Due to improper research and subsequent propagation of the same, pickles have got a bad reputation in the past decade owing to their salt and oil content.
Considering the points mentioned above, a little home made pickle made with good ingredients and without any preservatives taken with meals will not only provide satiation but also give some medicinal value.
Grandmother's wisdom cannot go wrong after all, isn't it?
Make these pickles while raw mangoes are still in season and enjoy it throughout the year.
Raw Mango Pickle Recipe
Classic raw mango pickle made with pickling spices like mustard, fenugreek, chilli, turmeric and asafoetida.
500 gm (4 cups) raw mango
150 gm (1/2 cup) salt
5 tbsp yellow mustard*, roasted and powdered
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi), roasted and powdered
1/2 cup red chili powder
1 tbsp turmeric powder
175 ml (3/4th cup) oil
1 tsp strong asafoetida or 2 tsp yellow asafoetida
Clean the raw mangoes with water and wipe dry with a clean towel or kitchen tissue paper.
Cut the raw mango into ½ cubes with the skin intact, discarding the seed.
In a heavy bottomed pan, roast the mustard seeds for a minute or two. Allow to cool and blend in a mixer/grinder until it turns into a fine powder. In the same pan add in the fenugreek seeds and roast them on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes until they change colour. Make sure they do not turn darken.
Place the cut raw mango pieces in a clean bowl and add salt over it. Mix well with a clean and dry spoon and keep aside for 1 to 2 hours or until you can see water in the bowl. The interaction of the raw mango with the salt should produce a lot of brine or salted water.
All you have to do next is add the rest of the ingredients, the roasted yellow mustard powder, roasted fenugreek powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder.
Heat the oil in a pan over moderate heat and once the oil is hot enough but not smoking, add the asafetida and turn off the heat.
Once the oil is cool, add the oil into the raw mango and spice mixture.
Transfer the pickles into a clean and sterilized jar (see notes).
The pickle would be ready to eat in 5 to 7 days.
Well made pickle can last for years. Follow these tips, if you don't want your pickles to get spoilt.
- Use squeaky clean utensils for making the pickles.
- Make sure your hands are clean and dry during the entire process of pickle making. Even a drop of moisture can spoil the pickles.
- Before making the pickles, keep the jars ready.
- Wash and clean the jar in which you plan to make the pickles and allow it to sun dry for a few hours until the jar is completely dry.
- Alternatively, heat the jar and the lid in a 150C oven for 10 min. Cool to room temperature before adding the pickles into the jar.
- Use tender, firm and unripe mangoes for best results.