Avakkai Mango Pickle

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I visited my sister house –  she made Avakai at home. She and her MIL are very fond of making pickles.

She described – how she went to the market ? how she selected the mangoes ? What brand of redchilly powder they buy? How she washed the mangoes and selected the best pieces? etc etc.

Her MIL with so much love and interest opened the big bharani (Special container / jar  for pickles) and gave me a bottle of pickle. Frankly, at that time, my conception about pickle was – it is unhealthy and that was a time – actually I stopped eating pickles. She gave with so much love – I could not resist and took it.

Came home and our family was enjoying it.

Then, within few months – In my local Bhogal market – I saw Avakai mango being sold. A fellow was sitting and cutting the mangoes.

I was so thrilled to see that. So many years, I have been visiting the market regularly – but never noticed these mango fellows. I quickly bought a kilo of mangoes. Made him chop and tasted a piece. I ensured that it was sour like the way my sister described. I felt so happy. Frankly, In Delhi, it is not like Andra where we have so many varieties of mangoes. Only 2 varieties, still – I tasted and confirmed.

I brought it with so much of happiness, I washed them and dried them. My son helped me in removing the plastic layer in the seeds of the mango and discarding the bad ones.

At that time, there was no internet and  I never asked anyone  for the recipe. Just took some mustard, methi, redchilli powder and salt. Quickly made the pickle with the description given by my sister.

I was mixing it everyday with so much love and satisfaction. In 20 days , it was ready. I brought the few pieces of mango in a cup to the dining table. I served one piece of mango each. It was so tasty. Do you know from where the taste came from?

My neighbour came home and she saw my pickle and tasted it. The very next day she bought some mangoes and made pickle. My maid saw this and she made pickle at home.

This love is a virus. I got it from my sister and passed it on to others. Cooking is the best way to transfer love. The divine taste comes with love.

Pickles get spoiled if not made with love.

If you just make it as a duty. It is a cumbersome process. If the family is involved in making it – it tastes divine. How can this pickle with so much love can cause any trouble to the body.

Buy tons of bottle of pickles from the store. You might like the taste and want to eat more but if we make it with love – even one piece is very satisfactory.

I saw a small cartoon with my son. In that, Bheem was very hungry – all the gods tried to feed him with food. He was not at all satisfied – all the gods went to bramha for a solution. He said – just get a spoon of kheer from kunthi (the mother of bheem) – he will be satisfied. The gods went and fed him a spoon of kheer made by his mother. Bheem ate it and said – he was full. All the gods were surprised and asked – how is this possible? Then, bramha explanined – any amount of food cannot satisfy the hunger – if it does not have the wonderful element called love.

Best mango for pickle is the most sour ones. They need to be small and very firm.

Get it chopped from the shop keeper.

Wash it and dry it.

Masalas are :

For one kilo of mango. Buy one kilo and cut them it into pieces. Don’t cut and measure one kilo 🙂

Mustard – 100 gms ( 1/2 cup). (Avakai mango is a Andra pradesh pickle. The word avakai is an amalgamation of two words namely-“avaalu” meaning mustard and “kai” meaning raw vegetable pieces. Here, it refers to the mangoes. So, mustard is the most important ingredient for Avakai.)

Red chilli powder – 100 gms (1/2 cup) . (In Avakai – turmeric is not used. So, we need to use the red chilli powder which is really red in colour.)

Methi – 2 tbsp.

Salt – 100 gms (1/2 cup).

Oil – 200 gms ( 2 cups)  (In pickles, the oil is used raw – so there is no cholesterol. We can use any oil which can be consumed raw say, sesame seed oil, Groundnut oil, Olive oil or mustard oil. Andra people use groundnut oil for pickles, In Tamilnadu – they use sesame seed oil, In the north, they use mustard oil. Olive oil tastes wonderful with Avakai.)

Can use white chole and garlic in the pickle (this is optional). Use one or two hand full each.

Traditionally, all the masalas are sun dried to increase the shelf life. Now, we can roast it little bit in the dry kadai. Just for few seconds the colour of mustard and methi should not change.

Powder the mustard in the mixie (once cooled). I have added methi seed (whole) – no need to powder this.

How to make it?

Very very simple just mix every thing (mustard powder, methi seeds, salt, red chilli powder, chole / garlic and mangoes. Pour the oil. )

Keep mixing every day for 20 days. The pickle will ferment and it will be ready. In porcelain / Peengaan vessels – the pickle ferments faster. The traditional porcelain vessel for pickles is called Bharani. Use a porcelain vessel and make the pickle in that and once fermented – store it in glass bottles. Porcelain vessels are the best even for storing pickles – as they have some natural pores – which allow the pickles to breathe.

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