Vishu Saadya Special | Chethumanga Kari, or Chopped Mango Pickle
I don’t know about you but I can’t believe that it’s already April and the first 3 months of 2017 have flown by. It’s already Vishu (Malayalee New Year) today and we’re gearing up for a traditional feast at AK’s cousins’ home this afternoon. It’s one of two Malayalee festivals we celebrate each year and the best part about both is the delicious saadya, or traditional feast that is put together. Well, the best part about Vishu is that I get money from the husband as well as all the elders. But you know what I mean – delicious food is never a bad runner up! The point being, I just cannot wait.
Although I’m a fan of almost all the traditional dishes prepared for the feast, my favourites are the pickles. The cut mango pickle and the pulienji (tamarind and ginger chutney), to be more specific. They are to die for! As soon as kairi (raw mangoes) starts flooding the vegetable vendor, I buy up enough to make a batch of the chopped mango pickle that I hope will last me at least a fortnight. But it never does. AK consumes it like a main course item and not a condiment. To be fair, I shouldn’t blame him alone! It’s such a seasonal treat that we both binge on it without restraint for these few months.
I started making this pickle around two years ago – using a recipe from an old-school cookbook on Malayalee cuisine. But sometime last year, AK’s dad came to spend a few days with us. He’s a fantastic cook and makes one of the best mutton biryanis I’ve had. He patiently taught me how to grind dosa batter and make a few delicious chutneys – always reminding me that Malayalee food is all about using only a few spices at a time and not killing the vegetables by bhoono-ing them the Punjabi way!
Anyhow, while he was here, I bought some raw mangoes to make this pickle according to the recipe I had. But he took over and showed me his way and, I have to say, it tasted much better. It was much more pungent and intense and added more of a kick to the meal. And his recipe (specially the quantities) is so predictably simple to remember that I never have to resort to finding the recipe note on my phone for it. You’ll see what I mean when you see it!
So even though I already have a chopped mango pickle recipe up on the blog, I decided to add another – the decisively better version! And here it is.
Here’s what I used:
4 raw mangoes
4 tsp salt
4 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
4 tbsp gingelly oil (sesame oil)
4 tsp sarson (mustard seeds)
4 tsp roasted methi powder (roasted, powdered fenugreek seeds)
4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
4 stalks curry leaves
(See how everything is a 4? So for each raw mango, you need 1 tbsp of oil, 1 stalk of curry leaf and 1 tsp of each of the spices. Simple, right? I’m dying to say I told you so!)
Here’s how I made it:
First, I washed and wiped the mangoes. Then I diced them up along with the peel. (The first two photos are from the older recipe – so don’t sit around wondering how the kitchen counter colour changes after these two photos!)
I placed the diced mangoes in a glass bowl and mixed in the salt. Covering the bowl, I let the mangoes sit in the refrigerator for an hour until they released a lot of water. According to another Kerala Cookbook that I own, you can leave the mangoes to marinate for upto 3 days – frankly, I’ve just never had the patience to try.
Once the mangoes had released some water, I added the red chilli powder and mixed it in. I know that all the spices mentioned in the ingredients sound like a lot. But trust me. It will be worth it.
Now for the tempering. For this, I like to put on the spices in small bowls so that they are measured out and at hand because we don’t want any of them to burn or stick. That may ruin the pickle. I also wash and dry the curry leaf stalks and plucked the leaves off, keeping them ready.
In a heavy bottomed kadhai (wok), I poured in the oil and let it heat on high. I then added the sarson and let them fry till they crackled. Then I lowered the heat to medium and added the methi powder, stirring for about a minute. Next went in the hing, which too I gave a minute.
Lowering the heat further to minimum, I added the curry leaves and let them crackle for a minute.
Lastly, I added the marinated mangoes and bumped up the heat back to high. I let them cook, stirring for about 2-3 minutes.
Turning off the flame, I let the pickle cool to room temperature in the pan before transferring it to 2 clean glass jars.
So. Incredibly. Simple.
Isn’t it? Go make some today – I promise you will love it.
- Wash & wipe the mangoes. Dice them up along with the peel, discarding the pits.
- Mix in the salt and let the mangoes sit, covered, in the refrigerator for an hour. They will let out some water.
- Mix in the red chilli powder.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed kadhai (wok) on high flame. Add the sarson and fry until it sputters.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the methi powder. Fry for about a minute.
- Add the hing and fry for another minute.
- Reduce the heat to low and add curry leaves (discard stalks). Fry until crackling, about 30 secs.
- Add in the marinated mangoes and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring often, for about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the flame and let the pickle cool completely in the kadhai.
- Transfer to clean glass jars and store in the fridge for upto 2 weeks.
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