December 10, 2011

Green Mango Chutney — Uppumanaga Chalichathu — homemade condiment for the side

I miss the sunlight sneaking in through the curtained bedroom window to wake me up. Instead when I open my drowsy lids to the sound of alarm from the cell phone, it feels like the sun hasn’t risen—it’s still dark and cold outside. The kind of cold that makes me long to go back to few more hours of fitful slumber. The house is silent when I stumble downstairs, sleepyhead and disoriented, into the kitchen and switch on the kettle to brew some tea—my pep pill. Once I’m done with a mug of hot tea, I’m almost ready to take on the challenges of the day. One by one. Patiently.

Winter. A season of holidays, joy and traditions. The beginning to an end. The rain has swept us right into the company of winter. Hot humid days of summer are now a thing of the past, with no regrets. I love winter. Especially the mild winter months in Doha. When I take time to reflect on winter, I admit, I don’t have the best memories attached to it. At least not in the past three years. Three Christmases back I was injured in an accident that left me partially disabled for a couple of weeks. Yes, it was Christmas day. And I spent the evening in the ambulance, in and out of consciousness, and a painful night at the hospital bed in the emergency. A year later, I resigned from my job. Again, in December. My New Years came and went quietly, both times, lacking fanfare. And my days drifted into months just as delicately. Those are my most vivid recollections of winter. How can I forget such life changing events? I embrace each New Year with hopes of forgetting the past and finding a future. Hope.
This December, unlike any other, I’m gripped by this strange compulsion to bake. Not every week, but everyday. Yes, I have this big fat crush on baking! Like this week alone I gave into the urge and baked lemon delicious pudding, pepperoni pizza and coconut macaroons. It might be nothing out of the ordinary for some of you. But for me, it’s not. And if I’m not in a mood to bake, I want to cozy up and while away the quiet mornings watching a movie, enjoying a good read, or simply browsing the Net. How peculiar is that?
At times like this, when the hours slowly tickle by and I'm too lazy to cook, I think no further than a no cook chutney for lunch. Chutney served with seasoned yoghurt, pappadam and steamed rice. Surely it can't get any simpler than this.

I am a pickle — chutney person. Period.

Chutneys and pickles are an indigenous part of Indian cuisine. They are served with meals to compliment dishes, add to flavors, stimulate appetite and sometimes even to aid digestion. Usually just one or two condiments are served at a meal, and diners mix a little with the other food for extra dimension of flavors—spiciness, sweetness, tanginess or a combo of tastes.

The variations is Indian chutney are endless. In fact each region and perhaps every family has their own special recipe. Sweet, sour and spicy are the prominent flavors, depending on  ingredients used. The Kerala version of chutney or chammanthy falls somewhere between a relish, condiment, salsa or dip. Chutneys here are invariably tangy with a bit of heat from the chilies and subtle sweetness from the coconut, no sugar is added.
My favorite fruit for making chutney or pickle is mango—green mango. From the months of April to March the trees back home are heavy with local mango varieties like Muvandan, Priyor, et cetera. I cannot help but remember my grandmother—dad’s mother—preparing a medley of dishes with the gorgeous bounty from her garden. She would make pickles and chutneys, and preserve some fruit to enjoy over the winter months. That too plenty of variety. I simply loved sneaking into the kitchen and enjoying generous dollops of her mouthwatering pickles or achar. Mango connects me to these beautiful memories of many summers past. I wish that I could go back in time and embrace it all, let the good times flow, once again. Silly me.

Now, back to the present and to the subject matter without further ado. I’m sharing two chutney recipes with brined mangoes—one with coconut as an ingredient, and one without coconut. If you wish to go the traditional route and brine mangoes, there's a simple recipe for brining too. Otherwise use store bought mangoes in brine to make the chutney.

Here are a few other delicious chutney recipes to try, if you like.

Brined Mango — Uppilitta Manga
Mangoes are summers finest treasures. Make the most of unripe, green mangoes whenever you find them at the farmers market, or in the supermarket shelves by canning them to keep its fresh, tangy flavor on hand. And trust me, canning is no big deal.


2 ¼ cups water
2/3 cup coarse salt
2 green mangoes (sour, unripe ones with green peels)
5 bird chilies (kandari mulaku)

Use a wide mouth glass jar for pickling. To sterilize jar, wash in hot soapy water, rinse well and dry in a baking sheet in the oven at 180oC/160oC fan/gas for 10 minutes just before using. Set aside.

Wash, dry and cut the mangoes into chunks. Discard seeds.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil with the salt, and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and leave to cool completely.

Pack the mangoes and whole chilies into the clean, sterilized jar. Pour over the brine so that the mangoes and chilies are completely immersed. Seal, label and store in a cool, dark place to ferment for at least a week. Potted and sealed fruit has a shelf life of 6-8 months when stored this way. Once open, store in the fridge.

Use it in curries, pickles, chutney, and many other mango-based dishes. This way you can enjoy the taste of summer all around the year.

Green Mango Chutney — Uppumanga Chalichathu
This is more of a chunky chutney with a punchy tang and real kick. If you are not familiar with this kind of taste, tweak seasoning to suit your palate. Traditionally, this chutney is made using coconut oil, which is amazingly satisfying. For a healthier version, use olive oil.

The tart mango flavor really comes through here which makes it a great last minute accompaniment with steamed rice in the absence of pickle. It can also be served as an appetizer to go with crackers like Indian pappadam. 

Serves 3

¾ cup brined mango pieces
2 green chilies, thinly sliced, or to taste
4-5 shallots, thinly sliced
10 curry leaves, chopped fine
2 tablespoon oil, preferably coconut
Thinly slice shallots, green chilies and curry leaves. Set aside.

Crush the mango, few pieces at a time, in a mortar and pestle until mangoes are finely chopped, but not too smooth. Spoon into a serving bowl and squeeze out as much brine as you can.

Tip in the crushed shallots, green chilies and curry leaves, and mix everything together with the mango using your fingertips. Then mix in oil and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Season to taste. In general, there is no need for extra salt as the mango is salty.

Or, if you don't want to do this the traditional way, throw all the ingredients (no need to slice shallots, chilies and curry leaves) except oil in a food processor for a smoother, more refined chutney in mere minutes. Serve as an accompaniment with rice.

This would keep sealed in the fridge, or at room temperature for a few days.

Coconut Mango Chutney — Uppilitta Manga Chammanthy
Adding coconut mellows the flavor and make this a perfect partner for dosa, idli or steamed rice. When mixed with a bit of coconut oil and sprinkled with chili powder, this classic chutney makes a great dip for boiled tapioca. Make it pasty or stiff (as pictured), per your taste.

Serves 4

5 big chunks of brined mangoes, or half a big mango
¾ cup fresh coconut, shredded
5 small shallots
6 dry red chili
2 sprig curry leaf
small piece fresh ginger
1 teaspoon oil
brine, to taste
salt, to taste
In a food processor or blender, pulse all the ingredients, except oil and brine, until ground and well combined. Add a splash of brine if you like it pasty and thinner. Season to taste.

Scrape into a bowl and stir in oil. Taste once more and adjust seasoning as needed.

This will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days if kept well sealed.

In other news, I’m now a regular recipe contributor at Honest Cooking. Check out my first post featured on their lovely website.


  1. yummy looks awesome

  2. beautiful clicks...the pickle is a keeper.

  3. You take some wonderful photos!!! I am amazed every time :)
    This mango chutney is my favourite too! We make ti at home all the time! Sometimes a bit of jaggery or yogurt is added to it for a different flavour. Try it...

  4. Love this chunky are gorgeous as ever Nashira :)

  5. wow awesome chamanthi renovated

  6. Hey my Sweety! its a most yummy post :) really! pickles & chutni type things always inspire girls the most :) haha
    well so many treats in this One yumm..Love your awesome clicks as usual..I really want to see your kitchen outlook any day! how awesome you are...MashaAllah..Khush raho Allah apko buhat kaamyaab kary! aameen! sum'aameen

  7. loving both the recipes, unfortunately we dont get raw mangoes anywhere near by so i will just have to drool :(
    btw you had asked about cakes, well thats a difficult fav would be the french yoghurt cake followed by jewish honey cake, carrot cake and upside down cake :)
    Happy baking

  8. wonderful post....
    both recipes looks very tempting
    lovely clicks :)

  9. Aarthi, Sayantani: Chammanthis and achars are my comfort food :)

    Hey Chinmayie, thanks for the tip.. will try adding yogurt next time :)

    Thank you sweet Priyanak, Raji and Biny for your loveliness!

    Aww, thanks so much Kadeeja! You are truly a sweetheart. Ameen to your dua.

    Nisha, thanks dear. I'll try the French yoghurt then!

    Thank you Aruna!

  10. love the photos, I only wish I were as skilled to go out there and do magic with raw mangoes like you've done! when you decide to start shipping your chutneys to neighboring countries, please let me be the first to know. ;)

  11. I know isn't it brrrrghh cold here even for the GCC standards?? I almost want to cry when the alarm goes off ! Waiting for the pizza and lemon pudding recipes to be put up..What plans for the long weekend..Catch up soon..

  12. Gosh!!! Just going through your recipes is making my mouth water. Can you imagine what your pictures are doing to me? Beautiful recipes and awesome photograph!!! Thanks for shariing Nashira :)

  13. Lovely recipe and out of the world pics... Too good to be described by words..:))
    Keep up the good work dear and Congrats on being featured in "Honest Cooking"...:))

  14. Wow..such gorgeous clicks and wonderful recipes here...wonder how did I miss all this before! Thanks to our twitter interaction, glad to connect.

  15. just drooling..drooling over d clicks..

  16. mmmm..... drooling here over salted mango. Amazing chammanthi. My grandmother used brine the mangoes, during season and use it when ever needed. Lovely collection of snaps.

  17. I am not that much of a chutney fan but I thought it over and over, I have to try your coconut mango chutney! which curry would u suggest best fitting to the coconut mango chutney and would you cook some baji to the combination, with rice of course? I want to be able to wow my husband with an unexpected delicious indian dish. hehe

    You were for christmas in the ambulance? hm... u know I feel with u cause 3 years ago the same thing happend to me. =I

    awesome post by the way, I was hanging behind every word of yours. compliments to your artistic eye, I mean your photos. ;)

  18. Super aayittundu ketto....Just drooling over the pics...awesome...

  19. Wonderful recipe..I love raw mango chutney...looks yummy:)

  20. Hi Nashi
    well thankx for visiting ma place...
    but d blog u visited is ma hindi blog
    i have 2 blogs now
    my two babies.
    Super Delicious chutney. Love the addition of coconut. Beautiful clicks as ever.

  21. Long time since I visited this beautiful place, I mean your blog. Yummy and tongue tickling recipes, beautiful clicks as always.

  22. babe, Amen Amen...what else?

    let's forget the pain; we're on a food trail here...and that too an implosive one!!

    God bless.

  23. Gorgeous clicks and tempting recipes! What else I can ask...

  24. awesome preparation........kothi sahikkan ugran:)

  25. OMG! am drooling here seeing you recipes and your clicks...

    My first time here and luv ur space and especially all your picks and presentation...

    Happy to follow drop in my space when time permits...

    SYF&HWS - Cook With SPICES" Series - CARDAMOM (Dec 5th to Jan 5th)
    100 Friends/Followers & GIVEAWAY

  26. Beautiful clicks and chutney...entammo vishakkune.

  27. I'm here for the first time... I must say I'm hooked... awesome pictures and love the way you write... As for the mango chutney... my mouth is watering already... :)

  28. Have no words,Nash.You wow us with every post.We have a sweet and sour version of chutney also called "achar".Love the mortar.Is it from Doha?

  29. wonderful post. very well taken.

  30. What awesome photographs! I truly enjoyed reading your post and the photographs make you linger on. The chutney recipe is new to me, will try it surely.

  31. first of all you have BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHY. i love it. :D and i am trying to learn more about how to make chutneys. thanks for the wonderful informative post! :D

  32. Nash, your pictures are awesome. Everytime I come to ur site, I am awestruck... amazing pics dear..!

  33. Tangy and yummy, and presentation is mind blowing..

  34. Ho,nostalgic and fabulously flavored.Who can resist..Drooling here.

    Superb Clicks !

  35. lovely pics!!drroling here over the mangoes!

  36. sounds tangy n irresistable..
    excellent photography..;)
    Tasty Appetite

  37. I don't have too much knowledge about Indian food but I would certainly love to try making your indian green mango chutney. Great photos btw!

  38. This looks too good, lovely photographs and I am sure this winter and coming years will be good for you.

  39. Mouth watering recipes & tempting pics, great work as always!

  40. Everything looks amazing! Those are wonderful recipes. Love your clicks too.



  41. Omg, mouthwatering uppumanaga chutney,just drooling rite now here..incredible clicks..

  42. Wow, that sounds delectable! I love green mangoes, and have never made a chutney with them. Your photography is stunning, absolutely gorgeous!

  43. wow....mouthwatering recipes....great clicks too !

  44. Great pictures, great recipes, lovely dishware. No you're not peculiar at all.

  45. I am a big fan of green mango chutney! Delicious.

  46. my mouth waters as I read about uppu maanga.I am a pickle - chutney person too! Love these recipes.

  47. Green mango chutney - just thinking of it makes me very excited. Lots of great pictures on your post and I really enjoy looking at each one of them. I love your simple recipe!

  48. Hey Nashi!! Lovely lovely!! Superbly done. Need to try it all. All the very best!

  49. so sorry to hear about the sad events in your life in december... hope this december is one filled with love and happy memories... green mango dishes are a favourite with me too and lovely using them in the traditional thrissur style meen curry with coconut milk... in fact just cant get enough of them... lovely post..

  50. Now I wonder where do you get so many gems from!Noting down these too.

  51. Wow you know how to make such yummy pickles also!! Mango chutney with coconut is something my parents, grandparents have with their evening Kanji. Looks super appetizing. Slurp.

  52. Yummy pickle with brilliant clicks sply the vase with red flowers too goodddd

  53. I love green mango. Yours looks amazing. There's no doubt why you're featured in Honest Cooking -- your photography is sensational.

  54. your images are stunning! Great job!

  55. Loved it! Our Uppumanga's are small 'whole' ones.
    Slight variation in recipe. :-)

  56. Indeed very stunning images!!!Great work done and would like to visit this blog often!!

  57. Quality work and images really fabulous. Keep it up.

  58. Very well executed the blog is awesome. I would like to have some tips from you. Thanks.


A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi