I feel apprehensive and unsure but also a little excited. Nearly those feelings that are evoked on a first date. But no, these feelings are being generated by the ridiculous adventure I am on today- making mango pickle for the first time ever. It is a bad sign when the feelings that are evoked on a first date are showing up at the prospect of mango pickle.
I just don’t see myself as a pickle-making kinda girl. I like to think of myself as cool and all that. And isn’t making mango pickle something your grandmas did every summer? But here I am,dear reader, intently chopping tart,raw mangoes into bite-sized chunks to create my first mango pickle ever. Valiantly defiant that my coolness quotient is rapidly dipping southwards with every incision I make into my beautifully green mangoes.
My Punjabi and Rajasthani friends used to bring a green mango pickle in their lunch boxes to school–chunky pieces of raw mango that looked as though they had tons of fun rolling around in a bed of fragrant spices and mustard oil all summer. Just a tiny bite of that pickle with some chapatis or fried rice sent an explosion of flavors through your system. Unfortunately, none of the ready-made mango pickles that I have tried buying from the Indian store ever match up to that taste. Also, they are dripping in oil and artificial colors.So the only option left for me is to make my own mango pickle.
I will report to you in a few days how this experiment turns out. I thought of Aita (my grandma) a lot today. Aita spent hours making large quantities of mango, lime, green chilli and mustard pickle every summer. When she passed away in 1995, I did not even know how to make a cup of tea.The kitchen was the last place I wanted to be at. Wherever she is, she must be so tickled by the idea of me making a pickle.
MANGO PICKLE RECIPE
I adapted this recipe at http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/punjabi-mango-pickle/
The only change I made was I rubbed salt on to the mango pieces and put it out in the sun to dry for 4-5 hours before I rubbed the spices on to them. The trick is to get the mango pieces absolutely dry of moisture, but the flesh should still be a bit moist. Otherwise, it is difficult to preserve and spoils in a few days.