One can wax eloquent about Avakkai - the Andhra-style mango pickle. I got inspired when I saw it here and here.. I found baby green mangoes at the Indian grocery store this weekend, and decided it was time to try my hand at making this traditional pickle.
The mangoes were not as sour as I would have liked. I'm not sure if this is going to impact the taste a lot - I will update the post after tasting it in a week's time.
Traditionally, the mango pieces are cut with the seed wall - I have no idea why - but this requires slicing right through the seed and then pulling out the hard seed and chopping the mangoes with the seed wall. Back in India, the vendors carry special apparatus to do precisely that. My kitchen knife was not sharp enough to cut through the seed, so I ended up chopping the mango flesh alone.
The rest of the procedure is easy - powder mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and mix with chilli powder, pickling salt and turmeric. Mix with the mango pieces, combine with sesame oil and stir well to combine.
4 C Green mangoes, cut into approx 1 inch sized pieces
3/4 C Pickling salt
1 C Red Chilli powder (I used a little more, since the chilli powder was not too spicy)
3/4 C Mustard seeds (powdered)
1/4 C Fenugreek seeds
250 ml Gingelly oil
2 T Turmeric
Clean and wipe the mangoes thoroughly. Cut with the seed wall intact, if possible. Let dry for about an hour under the fan/in the sun. Combine powdered mustard seeds, fenugreek, turmeric, salt and chilli powder and stir well. In a dry bowl, add the cut mangoes and the pickle powder and mix well. Next, add the gingelly oil. Mix well and transfer to clean glass bottles/pickle jars. The pickle needs to be stirred thoroughly using a wooden spoon for about a week, or until the mangoes have absorbed the flavour from the pickle base. The oil will separate from the pickle and collect on top. In case the mangoes were a little ripe to start with, or the seed wall was not used, store in the refrigerator to maximize shelf life. Enjoy with curd rice!!
Update : After tasting, I feel there is something missing from the taste of the mangoes. It is important to pick sour mangoes for making Avakkai, as I feel it makes a lot of difference to the end product.