Recipe – Instant Raw Mango Pickle – Maharashtriyan Style

Summer drips in mangoes in Delhi. The king of fruit floods the markets, homes, bakeries, cafés and restaurants. Everything else becomes a blur. I love the juicy ripe mangoes too but one can’t ignore the raw one. Kachchi kairi.. the sour and sometimes sweet and sour taste of raw mango dusted with salt and cayenne pepper.  I love to use it as refreshing aam panna, or sometimes add to the daal or veggies giving them just the right tang, or make chatpati chutnies and chunda  or make manhi,  a Himachali side dish.

I love kairi cha lonche or in simple words raw mango pickle. I like all the variations of the pickle from the delicious panjabi one fragrat with fennel seeds and kalonji to the aromatic north Indian one(a speciality from kayath kitchens). This particular recipe is from my maternal grandmother’s kitchen. My aaji tought it to mom who in turn passed it to us.

It is instant and has all the right flavours. One can keep it in the fridge for a month or just make fresh small quantities regularly during the season.

Goes beautifully with parathas, simple varan bhaat ( dal &rice) , mathris or just about anything. 🙂

In all the Indian houses one can find the traditional pottery pickle jars (Barani) kept in the sun with fresh pickles or lined up in the kitchen with lip smacking pickles of various sorts. They were made in summers when the heat from the sun was strongest. The UV rays killed unwanted bacteria. The high temperature provided environment for ‘low temperature pasteurization’, and diffusion of flavors in the oil.

I have fond memories of pickle making at home. The whole process was like poetry. Most of the time women from neighbourhood would gather and pickle the fruits or veggies with careful precision and expertise. It was a occasion for sisterhood bonding where the younger generation learned the art of pickling under the watchful eyes of the elder matriarchs. Strictly prohibited, the children would often linger around for a chance to steal a little of the flavourful spicy treat. The main barni was handled by ony one person. Small portions of the pickle were taken out in smaller jars/bottles for daily consumption. Everytime a pickles jar opened the whole house got filled with the aroma of various spices.

There was nothing instant in those pickles and they stayed carefully preserved for years. The pickle was always served on the top left side of the plate and without it the meal would be considered incomplete. making, preserving and serving spicy, tangy, deliciously aromatic pickles full of flavours is an integral part of the indian traditional cuisine.

In these times when everyone is in a rush, the art of pickling is slowly fading away. People rely on buying them from the stores or using the pre mix pickle masalas which isn’t bad but there is a certain joy in making your own fresh pickle. Here is a simple recipe that anybody can use and it is sumptuous.

For this no fuss, foolproof pickle you need

4 raw medium size mangoes

Yellow mustard (peeli sarso dali hui )- 2 teaspoon (slightly dry roasted and coarsely ground)

Fenugreek (methi) seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida (Hing) – 1/2 teaspoon

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Red chili powder – 2 teaspoon

Salt – to taste (slightly dry roasted)

Oil – 1/2 cup

For the tempering

Oil (Mustard, sesame oil) –  1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds – 1 full teaspoon

Asafoetida – 1/2 teaspoon

 To prepare the mangoes –

Choose hard and raw mangoes. Wash and pat dry them. You can peel them or just cut them into little pieces with the peel.

Add some salt to the cut mango pieces mix well and keep aside.

*Always use dry utensils for making or storing pickles and keep the pickle away from moisture.Keep your hands wiped dry.

To make the pickle

In a small pan heat the oil till it smokes and turn off the gas. Let the oil cool till it becomes slightly warm.

Meanwhile from the same oil , take a tablespoon full and heat in the same pan, add fenugreek seeds and asafoetida powder and the moment seeds turn slightly brown turn off the gas. Grind this mix of Hing and methi seeds coarsely.

In a shallow plate take the prepared yellow mustard, turmeric power, chili powder and add the mustard,Hing, oil ground mix. Rub all the ingredients together till all everything is mixed well.

Add this mixture to the mango pieces and stir will. Make sure that all the pieces are well coated with the masala mixture.

For the tempering take another tablespoon from the oil we had prepared and heat it. Add mustard seeds and the moment the seeds splutter add hing and pour it over the mango mixture. Add the remaining warm oil. Mix well.

Spoon the pickle into an air tight bottle. It is ready to eat.

This pickle stays in the fridge for 15-20 days, that is if you can resist the temptation to eat it with almost everything. 🙂

Alternately, you can also heat oil, add asafoetida, mustard seeds, yellow mustard dal, roasted fenugreek powder, red chili powder, turmeric, salt and then mix them well. Turn off the gas before you start mixing the ingredients. Add mango pieces and once at room temperature, spoon in the air tight bottle.

Roasting of dry salt and other ingredients ensures that the pickle stays good for longer period.

You can use this pickle instantly with your favorite dishes. You can ajust the ingredients according to the quantity of mango pieces.

Do try and let me know how it tasted.