Friday, October 26, 2012

Simple mango pickle

There are pickles and then there are more pickles. Every state, every street and every house in India have their own tried and tested pickle recipes. There are elaborate ones which require 3 or 4 paatis* to sit around on a summer afternoon chopping and mixing the ingredients. Then there are simple ones that take about 5 minutes to make and even lesser time to finish eating it.

I love raw mangoes. Even more than the reknown banganapallis, rhumanis and neelams. I was always envious of people who had mango trees at home and would look wistfully at those laden trees enroute to school and wonder why we have the boring coconut trees at home instead of the interesting mango. You can't climb them, you can't make pickles from coconut, and you don't wait in anticpation of summer  - they are laden throught the year. You see the point! but anyways nobody listened to my logic and we still have those boring coconut trees. And no I am not going to experiment on a coconut pickle.

So As a child, every summer I eagerly look forward to the bounty of mangoes sent in from various neighbours who were blessed with mango trees. And every day, I would search various corners in the kitchen and pantry for the mangoes hidden from my eyes so that I wouldnt eat all of them at once. (Maybe thats why they never approved of growing mango trees at home. Would have been tough to hide a tree).

I vividly remember one season, when a grand aunt of mine prepared the authentic avakkai pickle at home. Each mango washed and dried by hand, cut into the right size with a little bit of the kernel stuck on it (to stop it from spoiling soon), careful measurements of pickle powders mixed into it and pouring ladle full of oil and allowing the mixture "to rest". What she actually forgot was to put the "jadi"** away from me. Like crows that crowd around vathals in the sun - I happily picked away at the pieces every time I walked past the room with the jadi. (I did walk past quite a number of times. Busy me). By the time she realized it, well what shall we say -  a jadi half full is better than one thats empty.

The reason for the story is to highlight my impatience when it comes to making pickles. So why take elaborate efforts at avakkai and vadumangai pickles, if its going to be eaten during the making itself. 

This simple and almost instant pickle recipe below is one that is served in most South Indian wedding meals. An instant pickle of diced mangoes in chilli powder,salt and oil mix. I have also added pickle powder to give it a zing but that is totally optional though I would recommend it. It may not have the longevity of the traditional pickles, but is a delight on a plate. It normally goes well with curd rice. But I eat it with everything. (I eat it as a snack too.)

** Ceramic jars used to store pickles, salt and tamarind.

Recipe Source: Own


Raw Green Mangor - 1 cup, diced
Red Chilli Powder - 1T
Turmeric - 1t
Salt - 1T (or to taste)
Gingelly Oil (Indian Sesame seed oil) - 1/4 cup

Pickle Powder (Optional but recommended):

Mustard - 1t
Fenugreek - 1/2t
Cumin - 1t


Mustard - 1t
Asafoetida - 1pinch


Dry roast the pickle powder ingredients separately and grind into a fine powder.

Wash and dry the mango thoroughly and dice it. (You can leave the skin on if you prefer it. I havent.)
Mix the chilli powder, turmeric and salt with the diced mango and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and splutter the mustard seeds and add asafoetida.
If using pickle powder, add half a teaspoon of it to the oil and immediately switch off the stove.
Pour the oil mixture onto the mango pieces. Taste and adjust the spices.
 Mix well and allow it to rest for half an hour. 

Serve with curd rice.


This pickle will last for a day in room temperature and in the fridge for 2 days depending on the quality of the mango. I havent tested this as there is nothing left at the end of the day.
The remaining pickle powder can be stored in the fridge for later use but the flavor is reduced. So would recommend grinding only required quantity.
  • You can add finely chopped garlic if you like the taste.
  • The salt and chilli powder can be adjusted according to your taste.
  • You can totally omit the pickle powder and still make it with just chilli powder and salt along with the rest of the ingredients. It would still taste awesome.
  • The pickle powder is quite pungent. So add a little at a time to arrive at your preferrred taste.

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