Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I am in a PICKLE!!!

When my dad brings all those raw mangoes from the market when it is in season, I groan inside. I can't think of things to do with those mangoes other than using it for fish curries or making pickles. People out there, if you have any more ideas- please, I request, please let me know. Don't tell anyone, but there are times I have had to throw out mangoes when it turned bad! (I know it is not a very good thing to waste food!).

Now, I will waste no more. This time when I went to India for my annual vaccation, I went to my aunt's place for lunch. In Kerala, it is a crime not to have all the small condiments like pappadom, achar(pickle) etc.. on the lunch table. All those chammandi podis, Kondattams, hmmmm..... lunch was so good. Good for my evergrowing waistline and buttline(if there is any line like that!). So, getting to the point, my aunt had this achar kuppi (pickle bottle), on the table, looking at me (I think only achar kuppi's and things like that look at me anymore) from the far end of the table. I told my cousin to pass it over, I tried it with my rice. I asked my aunt why she made all those curries and upperies!!! I didn't want any. This pickle was just right with hot matta choru!

To tell you the truth I didn't ask the recipe. I love cooking and all things related to cooking(including eating), but making pickles are not my forte'. I ask myself why go into all that trouble when you get perfect achar's from eastern, melam, caico and all that! Why do you have to cut the magoes into fine pieces, why clean tiny, microscopic prawns, why wash, dry and fry the whole limes in oil and go through all those tiresome process for a mere pickle? No, totally not worth it!

Even though I didn't ask for the recipe, my aunt told me,”Zeri, this is an easy pickle. Nothing complicated.” When I heard the word, easy I got excited. Pickle and easy??? Tell me, Tell me more!! So she told me, for this recipe there is no particular shape for the mangoes to be cut into. You can just take a knife and start cutting into thick slivers(chethal, as we say in malayalam) in no particular order. I love the recipe already. Next, mix some salt and red chilli powder and start layering the mangoes and the spice mix alternately till you finish with a spice layer. The next step ensures that the pickle is preserved. Heat some coconut oil and fry a teaspoon of asfoetida for a min or so and pour this oil into the bottle. Voila! There you have your pickle that can be used in 3-4 days. What say, ladies? Is this easy or what?

When I was small I used to love eating the raw mangoes with red chilli powder, salt and uncooked coconut oil. This pickle brings back that taste to your toungue.

There is no set amount of ingredients and method for this recipe.(Don't you like it already?)

I made this pickle with 5 raw mangoes. This I sliced into thick slivers.

In the mean time, sterilize the bottle in which you are planning to put the pickle in. I decided I would pickle the mangoes in a traditional "Bharani". So I took a big vessel and filled it with water and put the bharani in it and boiled it till I finished cutting up the mangoes. Not exactly till I finished cutting the mangoes. Half way into cutting the mangoes I switched it off and took out the bharani and put it to dry. So by the time I finished cutting the mangoes I had sterilized, dry bharani ready for the pickle.

Here is my Bharani being sterilized.

After the mangoes are sliced, it is time for the spice mix. Don't get scared by the term spice mix. There are only 2 things, Red chilli powder and salt. I took a nescafe bottle and put 4 spoons (the spoon is the one that is shown in the picture) of chilli powder and 3 of salt. That was my proportion, but you can change the proportion according to how salty or how spicy you want it. Now Shake the bottle so that that chilli powder and salt are thoroughly mixed. Be sure to hold a tissue around the lid, just to be prepared for the leakage from around the lid.

This is the amount of red chilli powder and salt I took.

After shaking up, all the red chilli powder and salt are mixed up thoroughly.

Next, let's take the bharani and make sure the insides and the lid are dry. Then start layering, first the mangoes then the spices(I know it is not a lot of spices, but it kind of has a cool ring to it). Continue till you fill up the container.

Now, for me the bharani could not contain all the mangoes. A slight miscalculation on my part. So I opted for my spice mixing bottle. I did not sterilize it! so I guess we will find out is the sterilization part really needed. Now I have two bottles of pickle.

Since, there was some spice mix inside my bottle and also because I was too lazy to do the layering process again this is what I did. I just dumped in all the mangoes that were left behind and shaked up the bottle.

Neat! right! After this I wondered, why the layering process??? I could have done this all the while! Next time, maybe. The next step is to heat up 1 cup coconut oil and fry a 1 tbsp of asfoetida in it and pour it into the bottles. Close the bottles and let it rest for 3-4 days.

Since, i am writing this post, way after the 3-4 days waiting, I have a picture of what happened after 3-4 days.

This is the picture of the pickle after 4 days and a couple of spoons of tasting later...

And, no - the sterilization was not required. The pickle is fine in this bottle also.What do you ladies out there think about this???

I have not yet opened the bharani. I am planning to open it after this bottle is finished. So will update those photos also.


  1. zerithaaa!!kandittu thannai vaayil vellam varunnu.I will try it today itself.But rite now i dont hav enough coconut oil.So can i try with some diff oil?

  2. shahana,
    i think you can use sesame seed oil, coz all the pickle recipes use it, so it should be fine.

  3. fabiitha and zeriitha... shahana just told me abt this site.... nice... just like shahana said pickle kanditu vayil vellam varunu.... :)


  4. thanks hasna,

    its very easy to make too.. so go ahead and try it, or come to my place. I will be very glad to give it to you!

  5. what a beautiful blog u have here! truly a great attempt with some mouthwatering dishes and pics....keep up the good work :)

  6. Thank you sooo much,

    I have been a fan of your blog since I followed your link from shaheen's blog. It is very encouraging to get such a comment form you. Thanks again.