Summer in India brings scorching heat but it also brings an abundance of summer foods and drinks.
Cooling drinks such as lassi and rose-flavoured roo-afza, vegetable such as okra, bitter gourd, and cucumber, fruits like cantaloupes, melons and best of all mangoes! The mango season starts in late May and continues until August. Mangoes come in abundance of flavours and varieties such as langra, dussehra, tota, chausa, kesari, alphonso and my favourite, safeda.
I don’t think any fruits comes close to the taste and decadence of mangoes. When we were kids, we use to fight over who will get the biggest mango. And my mom, to this day, makes sure that she gets a bigger share of the mangoes than my dad! She keeps a close tally on how many mangoes that my dad has eaten. And this despite the fact that my parents eat mangoes every day during the summers!
While mangoes are devoured like there is no tomorrow, people try to preserve mangoes in the form of pickles and chutneys to enjoy their golden goodness through out the year. While we have dozens of varieties of pickles in India, mango pickle is one of the most important pickles in the Indian cuisine. It’s as ubiquitous in India as the salt and pepper on the western dining tables.
When we were kids, my mom would make dozen of kilos of mango pickle every summer to last us the whole year. The whole family would get involved and the weekend would be spent in cleaning, drying, peeling, cutting the mangoes, mixing and storing the pickle. I doubted that we kids added any real value as our main motivation was to steal as many slices of raw mangoes as possible to eat with salt!
This is a much cherished recipe from my childhood. It’s one of the best recipes for mango pickle that you will come across. I hope that you will give it a try!
- 1 kg raw mangoes make sure that mangoes are fibrous or have 'jhala' as they in Punjabi
- 50 gram fenugreek seeds methi, coarsely ground
- 200 gram mustard oil smoked
- 20 gram red chilli powder
- 20 gram turmeric powder
- 25 gram onion seeds kalonji
- 50 gram fennel seeds saunf, coarsely ground
- 10 gram black pepper
- 200 gram salt
Smoking Mustard Oil
- Heat the mustard oil on high heat until you start to see smoke coming from its surface.
- Remove the oil from the heat and let it cool it to room temperature. Set it aside.
Making Mango Pickle
- Completely dry the mangoes, the bowls, cutting boards and knives any other equipment that you will use for making the pickle. Even a drop of water can spoil the pickle.
- Slice the raw mangoes into small pieces about 1-2 inches wide and i/2 inch thick. You can either completely remove the mango seed or you can keep the outer hard shell of the seed and throw away the soft inner part of the seed. Make sure to throw away the softer part of the seed as it's quite bitter. Make sure that there is mango flesh on the hard shell if you are keeping it.
- Mix together the 50 gram of oil with all the spices and salt.
- Add the oil and spice mix to the mangoes and mix it well using a wooden spoon (do not use metal spoons) so that all the mango slices are coated in oil and spices.
- Store the pickles in a completely dry glass or a ceramic jar. Make sure to pack the pickles tightly (important) in the jar for a better quality pickle and close the lid tightly. It's absolutely critical that the jar is completely dry and is either made of class or ceramic. Do not store the pickle in a plastic or metal container.
- Keep the jar in the sun for 2-3 days in a row. If you don't live in a sunny area, it shouldn't be an issue except that it will take a little longer for the the pickle to be ready.
- There are two options after this point.
- You can add the remaining oil either after three days or after a week from when you first made the pickle. If you add the oil after a week, the pickle will be ready to be eaten in about ten days time (if it has been sunned). If you add the oil after 2-3 days, the pickle will take longer to be ready. We prefer to add the oil after three days in our home as it results in a firm pickle with a firm bite, which is more desirable. But tastes vary.
- Make sure that all the mango pieces are completely submerged in oil. If you need to add little bit more oil, please add only smoked mustard oil.
- Shake or move around the jar once or twice each day until the pickle is ready. Please do not open the jar for the first ten days other than to add the oil.
- Once the pickle is ready, it's a good idea to take out a small amount of pickle from the large jar and store it in a smaller jar for every day consumption. This will ensure that you don't accidentally use a wet spoon and spoil all of the pickle.
- Store the pickle in a cool and dry place once it's ready.