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Raw Mango Pickle
A condiment you cannot miss at your dinner table, with a handful of pantry ingredients this recipe is a no fuss pickle that goes well with rice, toast, roti and even with your mac and cheese, don’t write it off until you have tried it. The sourness from the raw mango balances well with the spice from the chili powder and the sweetness of the sugar all of which ties together with the floral curry leaves.
My earliest memory of this pickle goes back to when I was in school. While on our way (Mom, Dad, Brother and myself) to visit my aunt (from Dad’s side – Dad’s roots originate from Kerala, South India) I remember that I was hungry but we were going to my aunts house for lunch so I was told not to eat anything more than a couple of fruits prior since it will be a feast. I had all these images of a feast in my head and what it should like to an 8 year old. The thought of so many diverse dishes with different ingredients and then ice cream with cake for dessert enough motivation to hold onto that hunger until we reached.
On arrival, as Dad parked the car I could smell food in the air all the way downstairs in her building and couldn’t believe the different aromas filling my nostrils. She yelled out to us from her balcony suggesting that we are late and we need to hurry up. So with Mom fixing her make up in the elevator while Dad combed his hair and my brother…well he was just there, the elevator bell rung cause we reached the floor and she was waiting for us with longing warm hugs.
As we entered her house the smell was now everywhere and I didn’t know where to go to find the source of the aromas. Or maybe in hindsight now, I was looking for the food and didn’t care much for the aroma. I found myself wandering the house not bothered to meet the rest of the family relations around and made my way to the kitchen which in my defense had an almost magnetic like force that pulled me towards it as soon as I entered that house.
There was roasted coconut chicken curry, steamed white rice, beef sukha, cauliflower and peas thorand, cabbage thorand, sambar, idlis, mutton stew, egg masala and a lot more am sure but these are the dishes I remember. But through all of this, there was this jar of pickle that caught my eye. It was deep red and had little square bits of some fruit or vegetable floating in a sea of oil. I went to touch it and my Uncle entered the kitchen at that very moment and shouted at as, the jar was heavy and huge so if had dropped it (which most likely would have happened) it would’ve been a terrible mess to clean. With the fear of his shout I started crying and he naturally felt bad, he took my hand and lifted me up to sit on the little space left on the kitchen platform.
Just as I thought he was going to give me a chocolate or ice cream he took a katori (small steel bowl) and put a little hot white rice in it, spooned fridge cold home made tangy yogurt, a teaspoon of the pickle that started it all, a generous spoon of ghee and he crushed a little papad on top. As he handed me the bowl with a kind smile in one hand he whipped my tears with the other, I reluctantly took the katori and tasted the contents inside. It was the simplest yet one of the most honest food memories I had had. The warm rice with the teeth biting cold yogurt and that nose running spicy mango pickle was engulfed with the savory ghee and the crunchy papad was like the icing on the cake.
That pickle became my go to ever since, with time I learned that pickles can be made at home and with a variety of ingredients. Yes this is long story but it is a fond memory I will always cherish and I believe its these memories that have molded my earnest enthusiasm/curiosity towards food.
This recipe takes very little time to make and doesn’t have many substitutes. Ideally you want to make it as the recipe suggests for that delicious Raw Mango Pickle flavor. Coconut oil is a must as it certainly aids in the flavor of the recipe, you cannot skip on the fresh curry leaves as they are a major component in this. Having said that same goes for the mustard seeds as well. The sugar, salt and chili are relative to your taste, I have mentioned quantities that work universally however you could adjust it accordingly. The asafoetida can be substituted with garlic powder but its best to stick to the recipe for the best results.
This pickle is best served as I described above. There is no better joy in relishing it in its simplest and purest form. Having made this at home once you will certainly feel the urge to make it again and the longer you keep the pickle the better it gets. Hence after making it let it sit for at least 1 week minimum before eating, in saying this its good to do a taste test every now and then for quality standard assurance.
I know my pickle is nothing close to Anu Ammuma’s but I also know that she will be proud that eating her pickle was one of those treasured moments I will never forget and although her pickles are sadistically spicy with chili this recipe fits most palates however the spice is subjective to your taste. Happy Pickling!
Raw Mango Pickle
- Mixing bowl
- Chopping board
- Air tight jar
- Small sauté pan
- 2 nos Raw mangoes large
- 5 tbsp Red chili powder
- 3 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Tumeric powder
- ½ cup Coconut oil
- 2 tbsp Mustard seeds
- 16 nos Curry leaves
- 2 Pinches Asafoetida
- Cut mango into 3 (two sides and the center seed), cut into Brunoise aka finely chopped but not minced. Try and remove as much flesh from the seed and discard the seed.
- Get sterilized glass jar ready and transfer the chopped mango into it. Add the salt, sugar, chili powder, turmeric powder and stir. Set aside.
- In a small sauté pan add the oil and let it heat up for a few minutes on low heat. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop.
- Add the curry leaves let them fry in the oil until crisp. Add the asafoetida and let it bubble. This should take around 4 mins. Remove from the heat and pour over the mango mixture.
- Stir well until everything is combined and coated with all the spices and oil. Let it cool completely before covering/closing with an airtight lid.
- Store at room temp in a dark dry place for up to 2 weeks. Then transfer to fridge for over 6 months.
> Mix this pickle with some mozzarella cheese and make the best-grilled cheese pickle sandwiches.