Rita Aunty’s Raw Mango and Green Chili Pickle
Ten days after we had made the big move from the US to Bangalore, we were invited to a get together in the neighborhood. The host, Gaurav is my batchmate from college. As the evening unfolded, we met a lot of new people, made new connections and renewed old ones, all the while sipping on cocktails, dipping our fingers into a creamy hung curd dip and chips, hot momos right off the griddle and so it went. Dinner was served and there was a wonderful spread of food which is all a blur now, but in the midst of all that goodness, sat an unassuming bowl of raw mango pickle, left there more as a matter of custom than anything else. I carelessly spooned some onto my plate, took a bite and my eyes popped out of my head. It was SO DELICIOUS – crunchy and tart from the mangoes, spicy from the chilies and warm from the spices. Upon further enquiries, it was revealed that it was made my Gaurav’s mom, Rita aunty and that she was presently travelling. A few days later, Rita Aunty enthusiastically gave Farah and me a live demonstration of the recipe, in the thick of her grandson’s birthday party (best bday party ever!!) and what’s more, she also generously replenishes my stock from time to time. One would expect to be in quite a pickle when moving from one continent to another, but in my case, a humble pickle rendered a life-affirming experience!
I know what you’re thinking, that you don’t need another recipe for another mango pickle, but this is so incredibly tasty and simple to make, that it seemed worthy of sharing. Still not convinced? Imagine this! Finely chopped raw mangoes and green chilies mixed with an aromatic spice mix of mustard, nigella, fennel, fenugreek and finished off with a generous drizzle of mustard oil. Just yum! Also the pickle powder could be used to pickle other veggies and put the ‘achari’ in any achari curry or preparation. Eat it with roti, thayir sadam (Curd rice), upma, Adai, lime rice, Kozhakkatai, mop it up with a hunk of bread or when cravings strike, I even eat it as is!
- Raw Mango – 1 large
- Green Chilies – 15 nos
- Salt – 1.5 tsps
- Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Mustard oil – 1/2 cup
- Kalonji or Nigella seeds – 2 tbps
- Yellow Mustard seeds – 2 tbsps
- Saunf or Fennel seeds – 3 tbsps
- Methi or Fenugreek seeds – 1 tbsp
- Wash and dry the mangoes thoroughly. Finely chop it yielding about 2 cups.
- Slit the green chili and remove the seeds. Keep them in, if you’d like the pickle spicier. Finely chop them yielding about 1/4 cup.
- Throw the chopped mangoes and chilies together into a bowl. Add salt, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Mix well.
- Heat mustard oil in a heavy bottomed vessel until it smokes. Turn off the heat and bring it to room temperature.
- Dry roast the spices – Nigella seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds just until they emit a nice aroma, say about 2 mins. Transfer into a blender. Pulse into a coarse powder. It should look something like cracked pepper.
- Add the ground spices to the mangoes and chilies and mix well. Finely bring the pickle together by pouring the heated and cooled mustard oil and give it a good mix.
- I used the Kili Mooka Maanga Variety (not sure of the English name for this) and so I kept the skin on . You could use any kind of mango to make the pickle. Taste the mango once before deciding whether to keep the skin on or not.
- Add more green chillies if you’d like it spicier. Adjust the seasonings accordingly.