Recently, I had an opportunity to travel for work to God’s own country- Kerala. Whilst enjoying the beautiful backwaters and scenic views I encountered most delicious meals. But one that stood out is the Sadhya- a vegetarian feast which can consist of upto 28 dishes! Although each dish brought its own peculiarity to the spread, the thing that caught my eyes or my tongue (to be precise) was the smallest serving of the mango pickle hidden in one corner of the long plantain leaf.
The Kerala-style mango pickle is called Nurukku Manga achar. It’s an instant pickle which is easy to make with raw mangoes. The pickle has crunchy raw mangoes accompanied with a variety of simple spices. But the key component is the curry leaves. I have eaten far too many mango pickles but none had the curry leaves in them. I enjoyed savouring this pickle with the rice and other dishes laid out on the leaf. The pickle had my mouth watering and craving for it more. So I went in search of preservative free homemade mango pickle made with fresh, organic ingredients.
My search ended in a village near Ernakulam, I found a 85yr old grandmother making the traditional mango pickle since she was 18yrs. This mango pickle is the legacy that has been passed down to her by her mother. The uniqueness about this pickle is that it is stored in the sanctum and treated as a treasure. Probably that might be the sole reason why it tastes so divine.
The key to a great pickle is the raw mangoes. Choose the mangoes that are less fibrous and sour. The pungent taste comes from the native species of whole peeled garlic and southern Indian flavour comes from the curry leaves. For the tadka/tempering it is recommended to use sesame oil.
Raw Mangoes- 500g
Sesame Oil- 4tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1tsp
Asafoetida- ¼ tsp
Garlic cloves- 10-12
Curry leaves- 15-20
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder- 3tbsp
Lemon Juice – 4tbsp
- Clean the raw mangoes with a kitchen towel after washing them. With the skin on, cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Throw away the pit. 500 grams of mangoes are required. You can choose between 2 giant mangoes and 3-4 little mangoes.
- Add 2 teaspoons of salt in the mangoes.
- Mix well and keep aside for 30 minutes.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of sesame oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds and fry on medium heat for a few seconds.
- Add ¼ teaspoon asafoetida, 8-10 whole peeled garlic cloves and 15-20 curry leaves and fry for 4-5 seconds.
- Add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 3 tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder. Now add the mangoes and mix well.
- Remove the pan from heat. Cool the pickle and transfer it to a sterilized container. The pickle is ready to serve.
- Add the lemon juice and mix it well.
- Store the pickle in ceramic jars and in a cool dry place. Pickle is ready just after a day to consume