In a pickle
|Ready to go|
Pickled green mangoes
Making pickle is for grannies – at least that is what I used to think. In fact I actually used to pooh pooh the idea that pickles should be made only by women who were not menstruating. What connection was there between a woman’s hormones and pickles? Obviously it seems that there was some and more.
|2 kg of Ladva mango|
Yesterday for the first time ever, I actually made a mango pickle. I have made pickles in the past but they were mainly of prawn and mutton. I have also made a mango chutney and a mango jam but never really a mango pickle. My father always used to say that a pickle on the table was the sign of a lousy/lazy cook. Pickle and rice or pickle and chapati was the easiest meal to dish out on the table and anything drowned in oil and spice is bound to taste good. So my mother assiduously kept the pickle jar as far as she could from our dining table, bringing it out only when absolutely required – like on a wet monsoon afternoon when we sipped hot tea on the verandah, with piping hot sheera whose sweet edge was balanced with a spot of lemon pickle ; or when the mild mannered curd rice was jazzed up with a fiery hot mango pickle. I actually used to love sucking on the thick mango skin eking out the last bit of tangy spice.
|Chopped and ready|
Everytime I visited the market I would see the mango seller chopping off huge green mango ( of the LADVA variety) with a mean looking chopper into pickle sized pieces. While cutting a kilo or more, his wife would attend to a phone call from a customer asking for the mango pieces to be kept ready for her cook/cook’s assistant to pick up on his way back from the market. I used to be fascinated by these ladies who pickled and always told myself that one day I too would buy some mango.
Getting down to pickling
|A mean mango pickle|
Unfortunately, I never really did anything about this till yesterday when I actually bought myself 2 kg of the firmest green Ladvo Mango. I came home and dipped it in water to remove all the dirt from the market. I then spread it out to dry on a cloth . And while the rest of the dinner was cooking, I measured out the red chilli powder, turmeric, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, garlic, dried red chilli and salt. When all the water had drained off from the mango piece, I added the hulled mustard seed, red chilli powder,powdered fenugreek seed and salt to the cut mango. I heated up all the oil to boiling point and let it cool. About half a cup of oil was heated separately to which I added mustard seed that had to crackle before I added the asoefetida, turmeric, garlic and red chilli. Once this was cooled I added it to the rest of the oil and then poured the whole lot over the mango pieces.
|All bottled up|
I watched with glee as the mango drowned in the oil and stirred it up so that all the pieces were evenly coated. Then I packed it off in glass jars, to take pride of place on my kitchen shelf. Finally, I too had joined the pickle club and will mark the end of summer with a jar of spicy hot mango pickle.
This pickle will need to sit on your shelf for at least 10-15 days before the spices seep in and soften up the firm mango pulp. That’s when it is ready to be eaten – when the first rains come in – to remind you of yet another summer gone by.