The thing about growing up in a country like India is that one develops a vast palate and eats a variety of cuisines. The food habits are not just distinctive because of religions but also depend on the states, culture and local produce. Along with an incredible array of main dishes we also make a lot of accompaniments and Pickles to compliment our meals. And pickles form an integral part of these meals. We have refined & honed the art of preserving fruits, vegetables and even meat for generations depending on the seasons and availability of local produce.
I am a Pickle lover and cannot imagine a life that doesn’t have it. Unabashedly I can polish off an enormous quantity of pickle and not regret it. There is something so tempting about how our pickles look. Dark, mysterious floating in heavenly masalas and lots of oils I find it really hard to resist the sweet and sour mango pickle or a tangy lemon pickle. And I am almost drooling over the laptop as I type this post just thinking about the pickle 🙂
Being a sucker for pickles, I always buy 2 jars just in case I run out of one and God forbids I have to spend a night without a jar of pickle in my home. Now that I fancy myself as the desi version of Nigella (I don’t have the looks but do have midnight hunger pangs like her) I decided to make my very pickle. Since it is summers here in Perth and it is officially mango season, it made sense to make Mango pickle.
To be honest, I was extremely nervous. We have a million legends associated with pickle making and the women in my family have never been great pickle makers. Not even my own mother in law who is a fabulous professional cook. So there was no one to ask really in case I needed help.I found a fabulous recipe on Alkas blog that was a for a famous Sindhi pickle that I ate a lot while growing up. The recipe was simple and easy, and I tweaked it a bit by adding Sugar in it too.So with some exquisite raw Mangoes in my hand and clean sterilised jars I set out to make my first pickle.
Like any mother, I found myself fretting anxiously and watching it like a hawk. Some nights when I left the jar on my verandah, and it got cold, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night and bringing it back in the warm house. Pickle making isn’t laborious, but the amount of stress I put myself in because of it gave me sleepless nights.
Finally, after a month my labor of love was ready. The Mango pieces shriveled up in the sun inside the jar, taking on the Color of the masalas, and the taste brought me back home in an instant. It was very surreal to see that I had made something I craved for so much, and it almost made me cry.I felt euphoric and proud of myself for trying to recreate the magic that is Pickle making. Being a Summer pickle it needs to be left in the sunshine for several weeks for it to get ready. And when it is ready, let me tell you it is the most delicious thing you would ever eat.
You can visit Alka’s blog for the recipe or find it below.
1 big glass Jar sterilised properly. Here is a link on how to do it. Sterilising the jar is one of the important things as an unclean jar can make the pickles rot faster then you can imagine.
500 gms unripe tender Mangoes
Salt 110 gm – 125 gms (Like Alka I used 125 gm Salt and I used Himalayan Pink Salt)
6 tsp Turmeric powder
50 gms Methi/Fenugreek seeds
50 gms husked Mustard seeds
2 tsp Nigella seeds
2 tbsp Fennel seeds
1 tsp Asafoetida powder
25 – 30 gms Red Chilli powder
2 tbsp Sugar
200 ml Mustard Oil (You may need more as the Pickle must be completely submerged in Oil)
Wash and dry the Mangoes and cut them into chunks, discarding the seed.
Mix the Mangoes with the Salt and Turmeric and add them in the sterilised Jar. Close the lid and leave the jar for a day in a place where you get a lot of Sunshine.
The next day drain all the water from the jar and place the mango pieces on a clean cloth in the sun letting them dry out for atleast 2 days. This ensures that there will be less moisture content in the Mangoes, and the possibility of the fruit catching fungus will be significantly reduced.
On the third day sterilise the jar again and dry roast Fenugreek seeds, Mustard seeds, Nigella and fennel seeds.
Put the cut Mangoes in a bowl and add the Asafoetida and Chilli powder and then add the dry roasted seeds and mix well.
Heat the Mustard oil to smoking point and let it completely cool down. Put the Mango pieces covered in the pickling spices in the sterilised jar and pour the Mustard oil on top of it cover the Mango pieces completely. Mix well and let the Oil settle on top and secure the lid. Keep the jar in sunshine for 20 – 30 days, using a clean spoon to mix the pickle after every 2 – 3 days.
If you feel that the oil is less and not covering the Mango pieces, heat some more Mustard oil, cool it and add to the pickle. If stored well, the pickle should easily last for a year unless you have a glutton like me in your house.
Tip: Always ensure you remove the Pickle with a dry clean spoon and keep the lid of the jar secure