Summer is the season when the sight of unripe mangoes hanging on trees drives people crazy. Even the most well-behaved citizen will be tempted to throw a stone at the tree to bring the mangoes down. Unripe mangoes are plucked and brought to the market in large quantities. They are bought for the purpose of making pickles, preserves, and also to be used in curries. In my family, mango pickle prepared freshly (not soaked in salt for weeks together) is a great favourite. Those days, when we did not have the refrigerator, my mother used to store these in ceramic jars. It used to keep only for about 3 days, but even before that we used to wipe the jar clean. Now of course I store it in the refrigerator.
My mother used to cut the mango with the skin (which is how it is served in weddings as well), but I prefer to remove the skin to arrive only at the flavour of the flesh of the mango. I also found that the skin of the mango changed the flavour of the pickle during storage.
As a pickle, this is taken in small quantities only as accompaniment. Its contribution of nutrients to a main meal is almost negligible, but in summer, the high sodium content of the pickle does help replace sodium lost in perspiration. However, for those who are on a low sodium diet, the same pickle could be made with 1/3 the quantity of salt, but bear in mind that the low salt content will change the keeping quality of the pickle if stored for a long time in the refrigerator.
- 2 large unripe Mangoes (kili mukku/kallamai/parrot beak mango)
- 4 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- ¼ tsp Fenugreek Powder
- 3 T Salt, or to taste
- ¼ tsp Asafoetida Powder
- ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- ¾ C Gingelly Oil (Sesame oil)
- Wash and wipe the mangoes. Remove skin. Dice the hard flesh. Discard seed.
- Measure the diced mango. Add 1 T of salt for each cup.
- Add the chilli and fenugreek powders, and mix well.
- Heat the gingelly oil in a kadai or wok. When smoking hot, add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, remove the oil from heat. Add the asafoetida powder.
- Add the oil to the mango. Mix well. Cool.
- Store in airtight bottles in the refrigerator.
- This pickle has to be stored in the refrigerator. It will keep fresh for at least 3 weeks.
- I use Kashmiri chilli powder because it is mild. If you are using any other chilli powder, use only 1/3 the recommended amount.
- Kili Mukku Mangai is the mango I prefer to use as it lends itself well to this pickle. The flesh is hard and it has very little fibre. Its flavour has just the right amount of sourness for a delicious pickle. Of course I use other varieties of mangoes if it is not available 🙂