May is the time for the Mango Tree in our building to bear fruit. Our building has one tree, the adjoining building - Char Dham - has a large Mango Tree and the building behind us has a tree too. The building gardener the Right Hon’Ble Shambhu rigged up a pole by attaching several shorter sticks and set about harvesting the Mango. Much excitement in the building. All the drivers we on hand offering their advice, the watchmen abandoned their posts and looked upward expectantly. A lot of Mango was harvested. Shambhu turned up at our house with 5 kilos of the stuff. I asked is the Mango had been equitably distributed and was told yes.
What do you do with 5 kilos of raw Mango? You make pickle. You will recall in an older post that the recipe we used was one by the Late Mrs Bhicoo Manekshaw. This time we thought we would use a different recipe. We got what looked like a good recipe from a book called “Aharam – Traditional Cuisine of Tamil Nadu” by Sabita Radhakrishna. The recipe seemed good and the South Indian flavour profile attractive. It had a short list of easily obtainable ingredients.
So we set about making the pickle. When cutting the Raw Mango a couple of the fruit turned out to be ripe. These could not be used in the pickle, so, we simply ate them. We were amazed at how sweet the mango was. I mean this is a lone tree with no fertilizer ever added, growing in ground covered by pavers, the tree is never watered or looked after and the delicious fruit it had! I was gobsmacked.
The recipe did not say when the pickle would be ready to eat. So after a couple of days we tasted the pickle. It was ready. It was delicious. It was sour and salty and spicy and with a vibrant red colour. Thru this summer, a favourite meal, during the hot sticky afternoons is ice cold Dahi Bhaat or Curd Rice with lashings of the tangy mango pickle.
The Recipe for Hot South Indian Style Raw Mango Pickle
3 Kgs or thereabouts Raw Mango thoroughly washed and dried in the sun for 24 hours.
2 tablespoons black Mustard seeds
1 tablespoon Fenugreek [Methi] seeds
The Spice Mix
½ and a bit more cup of hot red Chilli powder – Thikalal
½ cup of non spicy red Chilli powder – Kashmiri
2 tablespoons Turmeric powder
½ to ¾ cup salt
500 ml Gingelly [Sesame/Til] Oil
1 tablespoon black Mustard seeds
½ teaspoon Asafoetida powder [Hing]
Cube the Mango, removing the hard central seed. No need to skin the Mango
Dry roast the ingredients for the powder and then powder them
Combine the Powder and the Spice Mix.
Add the chopped Mango and stir well
Heat the oil for the tempering and when smoking add the Mustard seeds. They should violently crackle. Remove from heat, add the ½ teaspoon Asafoetida Powder [Hing]. When cool add to the Mango mixture and stir well.
Store the pickle in a dry airtight glass bottle. It should be ready to eat in a day or two.
Remember that you should have a reasonable layer of oil at the top of the jar. This oil forms a barrier between the air and moisture reaching the pickle prevents the pickle from spoiling.
If you think the pickle is not salty enough, add some more salt and stir. Leave for a day more and then eat.
The Raw Mango
The ingredients for the Powder - Mustard and Fenugreek seeds
The spice mix
The Oil being heated to smoke point
The Mustard for the tempering
The Mustard Seeds popping in the hot oil
The Mango combined with the Powder and the Spice Mix
With the tempered oil added