Monsoon is here, that means the mango season has come to an end and we have to bid the king of fruit goodbye. But the thoughts of mangoes are ever present in our minds and the only way to keep enjoying them is by savoring the mango pickles. India, just like its diversity, also has a variety of mango pickles. Every region has its own version based on the availability of ingredients. For example, in North India the pickle is made with mustard oil but as you move south the oils used are peanut or sesame. However, the majority of ingredients are consistent but the flavours are remarkably different. In my journey across India, I have had the pleasure to savour several delicious mango pickles and here are the top 10 mango pickles you must try but first have a look on how different each one of them are.
1. Punjabi Mango Pickle
One of the most known and consumed pickles is the Punjabi Mango pickle. The Punjabi’s love for mustard is prominent in their mango pickle. You can see the mango pieces are coated generously with mustard powder and oil. Also, you can taste a hint of onion from the Kalonji/onion seeds. The pickle is left to soak up the sun for at least 3-4days which makes the pickles taste even better.
2. Rajasthani Mango Pickle
The royal state of India makes their pickles very indulgent. They let the spices be whole and themselves, no silly crushing and fine powder business. You will find the mango pieces floating in the oil surrounded by whole fenugreek and fennel seeds, which by the way provide a flavourful burst in the mouth complimenting the tangy sour mango pieces. The abundant sunlight in summer helps the pickle develop the flavor in spite of whole spices.
3. Andhra Mango Pickle
Crowned as one of the spiciest mango pickles in India, it is fondly known as “ Avakaya” in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The key ingredients of this pickle are mustard powder, garlic and lots of red hot chilli powder. This chilli powder comes from a city in Andhra called Guntur and its name is Guntur chilli powder. Also, this pickle makes use of groundnut oil which is widely available in the state.
4. Gujarati Mango Pickle
Gujarati’s call their mango pickle Methia Keri nu Athanu. As the name implies, it is a pickle of fenugreek seeds and raw mangoes predominantly. They make use of both whole and split fenugreek seeds along with other spices. Just like the raw mangoes are dried, fenugreek seeds are soaked in hot water for 5-6hrs and air dried until completely dry. So, when you see this mango pickle you will see lots of fenugreek seeds but still the mango pieces shine through making it a wholesome pickle
5. Bengali Mango Pickle
The sweet tooth fetish of Bengali’s is also applicable to their pickles. Deliciously sweet yet spicy mango pickle from Bengal is called “Kacha Amer Tok Jhal Misti Achar”. The pickle is cooked with mangoes, spices and jaggery water. Unlike other pickles, this one is thoroughly cooked such that the jaggery syrup turns into 1 string consistency. This technique kills all the micro-organisms and greatly extends the shelf life. The end result is nicely caramelized mango pieces with hints of spiciness from the Indian spices
6. Karnataka Mango pickle
There is a special kind of mango pickle that’s popular in the state of Karnataka, especially in the coastal regions called “Midi Uppinkayi”. This pickle is made from small, immature- baby mangoes where the seeds aren’t tough called Middi Kai. These whole mangoes are stored in salt to remove the moisture and the resulting brine is used to mix the pickle spices- red chilli powder, mustard powder, turmeric and Asafoetidia. The shrunken/ wrinkled mangoes and spice mix are combined, stored for two months to mature. Although the pickling process is lengthy, this pickle tastes like nothing you have ever tasted.
7. Tamil Nadu Mango Pickle
Majority of the mango pickles are made with cubed mango pieces whereas in Tamil Nadu we find the mango pickle made from grated raw mangoes. Hence the name Thokku. The grated mangoes are mixed with regular pickle spices-mustard, chilli powder, turmeric, Asafoetidia and cooked over the stove in sesame oil until the strands of mangoes are soft, hence making it an instant pickle. The mouthfeel of this pickle comes close to eating a chutney but tastes completely like a pickle.
8. Dry Mango Pickle
Aam ka Sookah achar is very popular in North India. The pickle is slightly dry compared to the traditional mango pickle. Here the mango pieces are cut, salted and dried for 2 days, after which the brine is separated and both mango pieces and brine are kept under the sunlight for 2-3 days. The dried mango pieces are lathered in the pickle’s spices and in the brine, jaggery is added. The jaggery-brine water is added to the spiced mango pieces and packed into ceramic jars kept under the sunlight for 7 days then it is ready to consume. This is a slightly dry pickle when compared to traditional mango pickle, as the mango pieces are thoroughly dried and all the masalas absorb the remaining water but it has a prolonged shelf life.
9. Chickpea Mango pickle
The mango pickle benefits from the goodness of protein found in chickpeas, making it a delicious and nutritious condiment. This is another pickle consumed mainly in northern India. Here the grated raw mango, salt, turmeric and chickpeas are mixed and kept under the sun for 3 days. The water released from raw mangoes is soaked up by the chickpeas and also gets slow cooked under the sun rays making them soft and tender. After 3 days, regular pickle masalas along with onion seeds are added. The pickle is preserved with Mustard oil. Since the chickpeas are soaked in the raw mango juices, so even the chickpeas turn tangy and the pickle masalas bring in the spiciness which balances the pickle overall.
10. Instant Mango Pickle
The most common pickle in every household at the onset of summer is Instant mango pickle. No sooner are the raw mangoes available, they are cut into pieces and slathered in salt, red chilli powder, turmeric with the tadka of asafoetidia and this pickle is ready to eat. The best thing about this pickle is the raw mango pieces have the crunch to them, which is missing in all the fermented pickles. It is a quick fix to quench the thirst for mango pickle. If you are looking for a recipe you can find one such easy one here and there is also a Kerala style Instant mango pickle, made with coconut oil and lemon juice!
These are just a few commonly known mango pickles, but as we all know every household has its very own recipe for the mango pickle. This versatile pickle is enjoyed with a variety of meals and is a huge part of Indian food culture. I truly hope you get a chance to enjoy all of the 10 top pickles and see the difference for yourself.
Lastly, of course the state of Maharashtra also has its flagship mango pickle. We here at FarmDidi make this pickle with a traditional recipe and no preservatives. Moreover, we have our Didi working hard to handpick the mangoes and make the pickle with lots of love and care. So to know how it tastes, order your bottle now!