Mango pickle, or Aam Ka Achaar, is enough to turn stodgy food into a delicious, heartwarming meal. In Hindi, there’s a common phrase that signifies the importance of achaar in Indian cuisine: "Khichadi ke chaar yaar: ghee, papad, dahi, aur achaar."
Not just Khichadi, but several dishes like parathas, puris, Hyderabadi dum biryani, vegetable pulao, tomato rice, etc. are served with achaar/pickle. Do you remember eating a puri or aloo fry with mango pickle on any of your long journeys? Not just you, but probably every Indian has such beautiful memories.
A few of the popular Indian pickles are Mango pickles, Red Chilli pickles (Mirchi ka achaar), Lemon or Nimbu ka achaar, and Amla or Gooseberry ka Achaar. Among them, Mango pickles are the most loved pickles globally.
Let’s learn how to make mango pickles in the traditional Indian way, so you can get a taste of nostalgia wherever you are.
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Traditional Significance of Pickles in Indian Culture
India’s relationship with pickling spans thousands of years. Pickling is the art and science of preserving raw fruits and vegetables in a mixture of salt, spices, and lots of oil. They can last for many years when kept in cool, dry conditions.
Pickling was also a technique used to consume these fruits and vegetables in the off-season or in times of famine, drought, floods, frost, etc. when the supply of fresh food staples was limited or unavailable.
Seasonal fruits like raw mango, amla (gooseberry), and vegetables such as garlic, red chillies, green chillies, jackfruit, carrots, cauliflower, etc. are used to make pickles for the various seasons of the year.
The world has learned ways to pickle everything edible. There are more than a hundred varieties of pickles available in the world. Each culture has its own way of pickling. Some use vinegar, some use oil, etc.
In India alone, the flavour of the mango pickle varies from state to state. Each region has its own traditional mango pickle recipe, which is passed down from one generation to the next like a heritage.
Let’s explore how to make mango pickles traditionally.
How to Make Mango Pickles Traditionally in Three Ways ?
Every family has their own pickling recipe, passed down through generations like an heirloom. Pickling used to be a community event where families would come together to make pickles while singing and chit-chatting about their lives. It was a bonding exercise that yielded delicious pickles and strengthened relationships.
It is a common site to see mango pickles drying under the sun on every rooftop during the summer. Mango pickles take about a week to get ready, with each day assigned to a specific step.
Let’s learn more about the science of Indian pickling and how to make Mango pickles in Northern, Punjabi, and Andhra styles.
Northern Style Raw Mango Pickle
Mango pickles in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh are prepared in Mustard oil. This recipe is by Rujuta Diwekar, a food nutritionist.
Here’s what you need to make 1 kg of Mango Pickles.
- Kairi, 1 kg
- Rai (mustard seeds), 100 gms
- Methi seeds, 10 gms (you can add a little less if you don't like the bitter taste)
- Salt, 100 gms
- Chilli powder, 3-4 tsp as per the taste and type of chillies used.
- Kashmiri chilli powder, 1- 2 tsp for colour.
- Turmeric powder, one and a half teaspoons.
- Hing, 1 tsp
- Oil, 250 gms.
Steps to Make Mango Pickle in North Indian Style
Day1 and 2
- Wash raw mangoes well. Dry them completely, and cut them into small pieces.
- In a big vessel. Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt (preferably sea salt). Heat the salt in a pan so that no moisture remains in it.
- Coat the raw mango pieces with turmeric and salt and keep them overnight.
- Spread the mango pieces on a sheet or plate and place them under the sun for a day or two, till they feel dry.
- Grind mustard seeds (Rai brown or black) to make a fine powder.
- Fry methi seeds in oil until crispy. Crush them in a mortar and pestle.
- Add rai powder, methi seed powder, and chilli powder to the raw mangoes. Mix well.
- Take mustard oil in a pan, heat it, and add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add 1 teaspoon of hing and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder.
- Allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Pour the oil on the raw mangoes, mixed with all the spices.
- Transfer the pickle to a glass jar or barni (a ceramic pot especially made for pickles).
- Ensure that there is enough oil to float above the mango pieces.
Day 5 and onwards
- Place the jar or barni in sunlight to ensure there’s no moisture in the pickle for a day or two.
- The pickle is ready.
That’s how to make pickles traditionally in North Indian style. Let’s see how Punjab celebrates its raw mango pickle.
Punjabi Style Raw Mango Pickle
Punjab’s flavour is known all over the world. It’s spicy, tangy, and one of a kind. Their Mango pickle is perfect for any Indian meal. Let’s see, this recipe is by Dassana Amit, a food blogger and Chef, to learn more about Punjab’s Mango Pickle.
Here’s what you need to make 1 kg of Mango Pickles.
- 1 kg raw mangoes, chopped.
- ¼ cup mustard seeds – 40 grams, black or yellow, or 40 grams split yellow mustard seeds
- ¼ cup fenugreek seeds – 45 grams or 45 grams split fenugreek seeds
- ¼ cup fennel seeds – 30 grams
- ¼ cup nigella seeds (kalonji) – 30 grams
- 3 tablespoons turmeric powder (ground turmeric) – 15 grams.
- ¼ cup red chilli powder or cayenne pepper – 25 grams.
- ½ cup rock salt (edible and food grade) – 125 grams or add as required; you can also add regular salt or pink salt.
- 3 cups mustard oil – add more if required.
Steps to Make Mango Pickle Punjabi Style
- Take the fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds in a jar and grind them to a coarse powder.
- Rinse and wipe the raw mangoes, and let them dry naturally in the sunlight.
- Chop the mangoes into 1.5-inch pieces. and add them to a bowl.
- Take the chopped mangoes into a large mixing bowl.
- Now add the ground fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds first, followed by fennel seeds, nigella seeds, or onion seeds, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and salt.
- With a steel or wooden spoon, mix very well so that the spices uniformly coat the mango pieces. Check the taste of the pickle masala mixture or 1 to 2 mango pieces. The taste should be slightly salty. If not, then add some more salt.
- Next, pour ½ cup mustard oil and mix very well.
- Spoon the prepared pickle mixture into a clean ceramic or glass jar. Use a clean spoon.
- Cover with a lid and keep in sunlight for 3 to 4 days.
Note that the sunlight should be very good with the strong rays falling on the pickle jar directly. It should not be cloudy or dark.
- Every day after sun-drying in the evening, open the lid and give the pickle a gentle mix with a clean spoon.
- Take the mango pieces settled from the bottom upwards in the jar and give them a thorough mix. Basically, mixing and tossing need to be done every day.
- In the evening, get the jar inside and keep it in a cool, dry place. The next morning, keep in the sunlight again.
- After storing in sunlight for 3 to 4 days, add the remaining 2.5 cups of mustard oil. Again, with a clean spoon, mix very well.
- The oil should seep inside and reach the bottom of the jar. All the mango pieces should be surrounded by some oil.
Note that you do not need to heat the mustard oil. You can add more mustard oil if required.
- Keep in mind that the mustard oil should float above the pickle by 2 to 3 inches. Always remember to keep the oil floating above the pickle.
- Seal with a lid and keep in a cool, & dry place for 4 days until everything gets mellowed and pickled.
- Enjoy this Punjabi Mango Pickle with any Indian meal.
Andhra Style Raw Mango Pickle
The Mango pickle made in southern parts of India is spicier and has a unique flavour. It is made using sesame or groundnut oil. Let’s uncover more about how to make mango pickles through the recipe by Sapana Behl, a chef and food blogger.
Here’s what you need to make 1 kg of Mango Pickles
- 1 kg raw mango cut into small pieces
- 15-20 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup mustard seed powder
- 1/4 cup red chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons fenugreek seeds roughly ground
- 1/2 cup salt or to taste
- 1 cup sesame oil
Steps to Make Mango Pickle Andhra Style
- Wash and wipe the mangoes with a dry cloth. Cut the mango into 1-2 inch pieces.
- Peel the garlic and keep just one thin layer intact with the pod.
- Now take a big bowl and mix the mustard seed powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Stir and mix until everything is mixed well.
- Add the mango pieces to it, mix well, and apply the mixture all over the mango pieces with your hands. Add methi seeds and garlic pods to the mixed mixture and combine well.
- Add sesame oil to the spice-coated mango pieces and mix well. Transfer it into a sterilized glass jar.
- Sun bask the pickle for 3 days. Shake occasionally.
- On day 3, if you see the oil floating on the pickle up to an ½ inch height, then it is perfect.
- Store it at room temperature.
Now, before we conclude our guide, let's delve into some valuable tips to ensure you make the perfect Mango Pickle
A Few Tips to Make Perfect Mango Pickle
- Make sure the spices are within their shelf life and have not gone rancid.
- Use good quality mustard oil, preferably cold-pressed or wood-pressed.
- Instead of mustard oil, you can use sesame oil (made from raw sesame seeds) and sunflower oil. But keep in mind that the taste and flavour of the mango pickle made with either of these oils will be different.
- Make sure to pat dry the mangoes properly. If there is any water or moisture, the pickle might get spoiled.
- This pickle is supposed to be spicy, but if you don’t prefer as much spice, you can add less or more red chilli as per your taste.
- Make sure to coarsely grind the mustard and fenugreek. Do not make a fine powder.
- Normally, you don’t need to heat the sesame oil before adding it to the pickle.
- Sunbathing will help the pickle get ready soon, but if you don’t have the privilege of getting enough sun soon, then it might take 7-10 days to get ready.
FAQs: How to make mango pickles?
Is it OK to eat mango pickles every day?
Yes, it’s completely fine to eat a little pickle every day. Pickles are good for increasing the digestive fire and improving metabolism. They are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your health.
Which oil to use for mango pickle?
You can use mustard, sesame, groundnut, sunflower, or any other oil available to you. However, the best mango pickle gets its flavour from mustard oil. If you love South Indian pickles, then you should use sesame or groundnut oil to make mango pickles.
Why are pickles kept in sunlight?
Sunlight is essential for pickling. It removes any moisture present in them, ferments, and cooks or cures the pickles slowly over time by slightly heating the whole mixture.
The warmth of the sunlight provides an adequate temperature for the bacteria to grow and start the fermentation process. Also, sunlight destroyed the bad bacteria and extra moisture, ensuring a longer shelf life.
Time to Conclude "How to Make Raw Mango Pickle?"
Mango pickles are an essential condiment in Indian homes, capable of enhancing the flavour of any dish. A touch of pickle brings life to any boring plate of food. That’s why mango pickles can be found in homes, hostels, hotels, and food stalls. They are served everywhere!
Now, armed with knowledge of North, South, and Punjabi styles of raw mango pickle recipes, you can try your hand at making your favourite at home.
Remember, to make raw mango pickles, you need time, patience, precision, good-quality ingredients, and lots of sunlight. However, if you don’t have all the above, you can still taste the best mango pickle from the comfort of your home.
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