May 6, 2012

Green Mango Pickle — Manga Achar


After the luxurious quietness, moments of repose, stressing and soul-searching, I couldn’t wait to be back to say hello. Albeit virtually.

I always look forward to this time in the season with much anticipated pleasure.

Back home, it is the time preceding the monsoon rain when the mango trees are abundant with new life and beauty—enchanting, golden flesh fruits basking in the rays of the scintillating sun. Mangoes, ah.

Mangoes herald the start of summer. It always feels like a celebration when the trees have blossomed and the delectable fruits are ripe for plucking.

I cannot help smile whenever I picture those long lost summers in my mind. Summers of laid-back mischief in the country with my dear cousins for company. Wonderfully languorous afternoons under the shade of tropical trees, sun kissed hair, laughter and secret messages, heady fragrance of mangoes, and the pleasure of sucking a lusciously fleshly fruit with childish devotion, careless of the messy juices dribbling down the hands.

Back home the markets are flooded with mangoes during the brief season of March-April. Home gardens are heavy with bounty, local markets bursting with abundance, and the sight of freshly harvested mango cultivars stacked in neat diagonal rows at the street vendors, ready to be squeezed by the buyers, is a gastronomical delight—nothing like the rows of jet-lagged mangoes we get to see in the stores abroad.

So when my husband returned from a short trip to Kerala recently, he brought a box of deliciously popular domestic mango varieties—both ripe and raw—among other tropical fruits like guava, jackfruit, and a local banana called nenthrapazhyam. This is one of the perks of living in the Middle East—you are allowed to bring food in luggage ha. But he somehow missed the pickled mango my mom had parceled. Needless to say, I didn’t have to crack my brain to figure out what to do with the raw mangoes in his luggage. See, the imported green mangoes available at the stores here in Qatar are never as good as the ones fleshly plucked from the home garden—usually their flesh has softened or sweetened a bit in transit—and that’s one reason why I was so happy to take the opportunity to pickle lots of mangoes now.
Pickles are my guilty pleasure. Don’t be mistaken—I’m talking about the intensely flavored Indian pickles known as achar. Nothing beats the tangy, spicy, salty, oily—crazy as it sounds—comfort of achar.

Traditionally served at Indian meals as a condiment, they are served, following the Ayurvedic philosophy, to create a fine balance of flavors. Moreover, they stimulate appetite, and aid digestion too. I grew up eating pickled mangoes, especially tender mango pickles, known as kannimanga achar, a staple in Kerala. As kids we used to snack on slices of raw mango dipped in chili powder, salt and a drizzle of coconut oil. Raw mangoes have a sharp sour taste, and is generally green in color. Did you know that mango—both raw and ripe—is a good tenderizing agent?
There are countless ways to pickle mangoes; in fact achar from each region of India has a distinct taste. While sesame oil is preferred in the south, mustard oil is used in the north. Similar to olive oil, sesame oil (gingili oil) is considered good for lowering the LDL (harmful) cholesterol level. It is also used as a healing oil in Ayurveda.

This is a quick and easy recipe, flavored by south Indian ingredients like curry leaves, mustard seeds, asafetida and sesame oil. No vinegar is used, just oil, spices and aromatics. The high concentration of oil and spices act as preservative, whereas water decreases the shelf life. So this is not intended for long-term storage, but rather for enjoying over the course of a few weeks.

Now that local markets are bursting with mangoes, why not take the opportunity to create this simple recipe in the comfort of your home?
 
Green Mango Pickle — Manga Achar

Ingredients
Prep: 15 min, plus marinating and maturing time

2 cups mango (about 3-4 small mangoes), lightly pared and diced small
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon gingili oil, or sesame oil (nallenna)
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 small sprigs curry leaves
¼ teaspoon fenugreek powder
½ teaspoon asafetida
1 tablespoon Kashmiri chili powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 tablespoon water
Directions

Choose unripe mangoes with firm skin and greenish white flesh. Using a peeler, slightly pare the dark green skin without peeling the skin completely (refer picture)—a bit of skin adds a really nice texture to the pickle. Slice the flesh, cutting around the pit, and then dice into small pieces.

Toss the diced mangoes with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside for 8 hours, preferably overnight. This dehydrates them slightly so that the mango pieces retain their crispness when pickled. Drain the liquid and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they crackle, about 30 seconds. Stir in curry leaves, and spice mixtures—fenugreek, asafetida, chili, turmeric—and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Pour in water and bring to boil over low heat.

Remove from heat, add diced mango and mix well. Taste and add salt, if needed (I didn’t use any extra salt). Ladle into a clean, dry, sterilized glass jar; seal with lid. Shake jar to evenly disperse ingredients and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days to infuse flavors.

The pickle tastes best after aging for 2-3 days. Refrigerate after opening. It will keep several weeks in the refrigerator, if not eaten immediately.

Serve mango pickles with any rice dishes. In fact, pickles perfectly complement any Indian meal, and are mixed and eaten with the other food served, just like chutney.

Personally, I think nothing beats the comfort of achar mixed with steamed rice and plain yoghurt, aha. It is even great as a snack right out of the jar, enjoy!
 
Now that summer is finally here, I’ve been trying to add more fruits and vegetables in our meals. And here’s something my kids always look forward to eating: cool slabs of crisp cucumber with a squeeze of lime, hint of chili and a liberal sprinkling of amazingly zestful chaat masala—one of our favorite ways to enjoy cucumber.
A simple recipe loaded with flavors. Why not give it a try? Get the recipe here.


Submitting this delish achar to the ever popular Kerala Kitchen hosted this month by the my sweet friend, Jehanne, at The Cooking Doctor

48 comments:

  1. omg! my mouth is watering!!

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  2. Lucky you! We did get some mangoes here; possibly from South America. These look amazing!

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  3. Those tiny knick knacks with the spices look so cute, look forward to make pickles and panna with raw mangoes this season. Lovely clicks.

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  4. i like achar too, but so besotted with the lime than mango version..hosting Kerala kitchen this month, so i await all your kerala dishes for entry, with eagerness!

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    1. You like lime eh? I've always enjoyed mango more than lime :) Will be a pleasure to submit this to KK, it's been a while since I've participated in the event. Happy Hosting!

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  5. How i wish i coulf grab that bottle and keep it just for myself.

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  6. Lovely pics...
    Virtual Treat !

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  7. OMG my mouth is watering! Lovely captures :) This is one of my favorites and my mom always makes it, but now being away from India, rarely get to have it. Yummy! :)

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  8. What pictures, wud like to have a bowl of curd rice and the pickle, love those cucumbers too..

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  9. I'm surprised how much you reel back to memories in many of your posts! Happy Smango time!

    I saw some gorgeous floral print plates and mugs today in Westside and thought of you! You would have scooped them off the shelf!

    Gorgeous pics!

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  10. YUM....the pics are making my mouth water.
    Stunning shots

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  11. Ohhhh i loveeeeeeee manga achar..That, rice and curd is my ultimate comfort food ! I have to stop by to get a smack of that..Great recipe and can you post some chicken salad recipes? Trying to go healthy !

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    1. Me too, I have a huge thing for achar, esp manga, chemmeen, fish and meat. I'll sure look into posting chicken salad recipes, I desperately need to lose some inches! ;)

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  12. oh boy brought back memories of summer growing up, pickle making was a family event with mom, grand mom and aunts peeling cutting and cleaning mangoes and shooing aways kids. Love the recipe and if I am lucky to find a green mango sour I will definetly try this.

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  13. Such great photos that kept my mouth watering all the way through the end of the post.

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  14. Vayayill velam vannu...Super achaarum..clicksum..

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  15. Wow your photos are making me hungry.

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  16. oo my my! i cant take my eyes off! Absolutely mouthwatering pickle!

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  17. Of all the mango pickle recipes ..this one is my fav ...looks so tempting

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  18. delicious flavourful mango pickle and
    cucumber look fabulous

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  19. I have got a bottle of mago pickle in my fridge, courtesy my mom...I have never made pickles by myself though, maybe I should try some day.....

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  20. Awesome!!!delicious recipe and so tempting clicks..

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  21. Just in time! this pickle looks amazing and so do all the pictures :)

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  22. Mouthwatering pickle. Wonderful clicks.

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  23. Slurp,mouthwatering here..

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  24. Tongue tickling pickle...looks yum

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  25. lovely pics, esp the one of the mangoes in the basket... pickle looks mouth watering

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  26. Heyyy Cucumber with chat masala.. that's what am having now as I type :D
    I miss Indian mangoes too :( Your husband is really sweet to bring those along and the aachar is making my mouth super watery.

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  27. i was dreaming abt this pickle last sunday...!!..btw the popsicles were a hit!...thank u for inspiring... :) this has to be one of the stupiest questions asked...the spoon with the giraffe...did u pick it up from global village dubai??

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    1. Thanks so much for your generous feedback, Ann! And come on, don't feel shy to ask questions ...I actually picked up the spoon from an African vendor at a global exhibition here in Qatar. So do you live in Dubai?

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  28. Kothiavunnu! The pics look so good! Man! this, steaming rice and curd = yum!

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  29. The Pickle looks so yummy!! The presentation, superb as always :)

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  30. Great appetite opener! This is a real tropical treat, freshness on our dining table. Yum!

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  31. awesome Nashi..Love the recipe & amazing clicks as always!
    Thanks for sharing my dear...
    and..I have a giveaway at my blog,so you can enter if you want to win a few of my handmade creations :)
    Love ~

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  32. liked all your pics. good styling. i recently made punjabi mango pickle and had a tough time shooting the pics. seeing yours i have a second thought of re shooting again... may be i don't as i am so lazy :-)

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  33. My mouth is watering so much I guess I can launch a ship in there.

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  34. gorgeous clicks Nashira! and those cucumbers.. remind me of mom sitting in the veranda with all of us cousins and all eating all sorts of fresh veggies with chaat masala and pickles.. yumm!

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  35. I don't think I've ever seen green mangoes here, but I'll be on the lookout now!

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  36. wow mango achar was never so beautiful...i have missed a lot of ur postg....sorry was busy with a course....achar is my fav and i wanna grab that bowl of rice and yogurt

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  37. Just looking at that mango pickles makes my mouth water. Tongue tickling, we don't add garlic, shud try your way next time..

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  38. I felt water in my mouth after watching the picture of this pickle. What if I taste it?

    Laser Patent Agent

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  39. I miss mango achar so much from living in South Africa where you could find it everywhere. But I remember people telling me that to make it, you have to bury the pot in the ground for a month, and other such instructions I found intimidating/confusing. Maybe I'll try your version, though sounds like it won't keep as long (more fresh/less pickled). Thanks for sharing this post!

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  40. pakistan is very rich in terms of producing mangoes.

    Mango exporter
    Sindhri mango exporter

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  41. Mango is most important crop in pakistan, Pakistani mango is exported to large number of countries in the world.

    Mango exporter
    Sindhri mango exporter

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  42. The way u presenting is very nice...Nice clicks.... pickle

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  43. Mouthwatering pickle...It's my favourite..I want to try this recipe.. pickle

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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