Friday, August 9, 2013

Sweet and sour mango pickle....

In India pickle has its own special place. Pickles are made at home with utmost care. Family-favorite traditional recipes are handed down from one generation to the other. Indian pickles are very different compared to Western pickles. Indian pickles are strong, sharp, and most importantly spicy in nature. Both fruits and vegetables are used for making pickle. Mango is one of the favorite and most commonly used fruit for pickling. During summer, Mango is one fruit that is available in plenty, and is used to make various types of pickle. The intrinsic diversity of the Indian subcontinent is even reflected in the way pickles are made in different regions of India, each varies distinctly from the other.

Today I made one of my favorite mango pickle, a sweet and sour pickle, 'tok-misti aamer achar' as we say in Bengali (tok=sour, misti=sweet, achar=pickle).  As the sweetening agent is jaggery or gur, we also call it 'Gur-aam', (aam is mango in Bengali and gur is jaggery).

As a kid I have seen the whole process of making pickle almost every year and so many of my childhood memories are associated with it. My aunt used to make the whole year's supply of pickle for our entire family. I remember the wedges of raw mango smeared with salt and turmeric kept under hot summer sun to dry. The sun drying helps to reduce the moisture of the mango and leads to a longer shelf life of the pickle. There are  of course certain rules regarding how long one need to keep them for  drying in the sun and it is determined by the type of pickle to be made. The mangoes for sweet and sour pickle does not need to be dried for long. I still remember those  lazy and hot summer afternoon, when my aunt used to make this sweet and sour pickle, and the whole house used to be filled with that heavenly aroma of the spices. The pickle filled jar were then placed under hot sun for curing, a very important step for pickling. But we were not supposed to touch any of those sacred jars. They were very well protected from our dirty hands, to ensure the health of the pickles....then again who can stop a bunch of naughty kids, determined to taste some of the pickle without letting the adults know. I know this is not a very good example to set as a parent, but the joy of sharing those looted pickle with your cousins are priceless, golden memories of childhood.

Let's not get any more nostalgic and come back to the sweet and sour pickle recipe.

Things needed to make Sweet and Sour Mango Pickle:

  • Raw Mango: 1 kilo (2 lb)
  • Sugar cane jaggery: 1 kilo
  • Salt
  • Turmeric powder
  • Fennel seed: 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seed: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seed: 1 tsp
  • Nigella seed: 1 tsp
  • Mustard seed: 1 tsp
  • Dry red chili: 4-5
  • Mustard oil: 1 tsp

Steps of making Sweet and Sour Mango Pickle:

1. Wash the mango and pat dry. Peel the mango and cut into wedges. Discard the white soft-stone from the center.

2. Smear the mango wedges with little salt and turmeric powder and keep under hot sun for 1-2 hrs.

3. Take the spice seeds and two dry red chilies in a flat pan and dry roast, till nice aroma releases, about 2-3 min. Take care not to burn them. Let it cool down. Coarsely ground the seeds. Just give few pounds to break the seeds, no need to powder them. Keep aside.

4. In a pan add very little water and the jaggery cubes, cook over medium heat till the jaggery melts. I used sugar cane jaggery for making this pickle, as that's the one traditionaly used to make Bengali pickles. Switch off heat, keep the jaggery warm.

5. In another pan heat a teaspoon of mustard oil, as the oil is hot add a teaspoon of the freshly made spice and rest of the whole dry red chilies. Add mango wedges, give a quick stir. Add the jaggery and mix well. Cook over low-medium heat till the mangoes are done. Stir in between. When thew mangoes are completely cooked, bring it to boil, and keep boiling for 4-5 min, be careful not to splash any hot jaggery. Switch off heat, sprinkle the rest of the freshly made spice, mix and let cool down.

6. Take a sterilized glass jar with tightly fitted lid, pour the mango pickle in the jar. Cure under hot sun for 6-7 days. Relish your pickle with your meal or after your meal. I prefer to do the latter. Store pickle in a dry place and once a week cure under hot sun.

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Sweet and Sour Mango Pickle
Raw Mango: 1 kilo (2 lb)
Sugar cane jaggery: 1 kilo
Fennel seed: 1 tsp
Fenugreek seed: 1 tsp
Cumin seed: 1 tsp
Nigella seed: 1 tsp
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Dry red chili: 4-5
Mustard oil: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder

1. Cut raw mango into wedges, smear with salt and turmeric, dry under sun for 1- hrs.
2. Dry roast whole spices and two dry red chili, coarsely ground them, keep aside.
3. Melt the jaggery with little water.
4. In a pan, heat mustard oil, add 1 teaspoon of the spice and remaining red chilies.
5. Add mango, stir, add jaggery. Cook till mango is cooked. Boil for 3-4 min. Sprinkle rest of the ground spices.
6. Keep in a sterilized glass jar, cure under hot sun for 6-7 days.

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  1. finger licking pickle.sounds so delicious.

  2. It looks so mouthwatering.... very nicely captured as well

  3. Umm....I am licking fingers.

  4. Oh beautiful pickle.We make something similar with ginger.Those jaggery pieces look so cute.I have never seen that shape in Indian stores here.

  5. You got me thinking of my best friend too with this. Love your recipe and it looks yummy. My friend always gave me a bottle whenever I visited Bangalore on vacations. Love this, thanks for sharing this lively recipe.

  6. One of my personal fav.. My amma makes this too & I just adore the blend of the flavors in it !

  7. looks yummy..nice presentation..lovely clicks..

  8. this is gorgeous ! i love the pictures, literally mouthwatering

  9. Question : can i make it in olive or vegetable oil ?

    1. Simi, sorry for a such late reply. You can use vegetable oil.

  10. The pickles look so yummy. But i love sweet mango pickle.
    More at:-

  11. Wow awesome recipe! thanks for sharing with us, I would like to share regarding an offer from picklemasti(dot)com ,along with love and care, Picklemasti offers you a sample of Mango Pickle (100gms) at your doorstep absolutely FREE!!!! Limited offer Indian pickle Just avail this sample by paying a minimal amount as shipping charges.

  12. Wow awesome recipe! Excellent images, thanks for sharing with us, Have you heard about offer from picklemasti(dot)com, they are offering free a sample of Mango Pickle (100gms) at your doorstep absolutely FREE!!!Great offer isn’t! So, grab this opportunity as Free Indian pickle

  13. Why should we add sugar in mango pickle ?

    1. Please, go through the recipe. There is no mention of adding sugar. This is a traditional Bengali mango pickle which is prepared using jaggery.