Thursday, March 27, 2008

The king of pickles

One of the best reasons to look forward to spring, is the advent of the mango season. And it is heralded by the appearance of those tiny baby mangoes. Which brings forth a load of nostalgia.

I have fond memories of my mom using the stone container to marinate the tiny mangoes. And of me finishing half of them before she got around to adding the spices. Older than that memory is the one where I sneaked into my paati's maavadu jaadi, grabbed a handful, washing them in the warm tap water and happily snacking away.

Ever since coming here, I had to satisfy myself with store bought bottles of maavadu, supposedly just like homemade. None of them really had that special taste. Then my uncle-in-law recommended the thangam brand from thaayaar dairy (for the uninitiated, it is near Mambalam station and I highly vouch for it). We were hooked. My luggage on return trips from India definitely included a couple of packs. They are packaged nicely for such trips.

So, when I saw these baby mangoes at the Indian Grocery, I was tempted. I was unsure, but was willing to give it a try. I called my mom for her recipe and tried my hand at pickling. Maavadus can easily spoil if not pickled properly and I was worried that it might not marinate well. So I was shaking the bottle every chance I got, to make sure that they were pickling nicely.

I was hesitant to try it, mainly because I made a very tiny batch and was afraid it would be gone quickly, just like the huge batch of mango pickle (molaga maanga) from last week. Anyway, I found the courage to inaugurate today and I have to say, it has turned out ok. May be not thangam maanga ok, but close. I am thinking I could have made a bigger batch. But then that would have invoked the most famous cooking law - the smaller the amount, the tastier it is - or rather, its corollary.


anantha said...

Recipe please :D

And where did you get jaadi for marinating? Or is it just a sealed bottle?

Munimma said...

Used a glass jar with a tight lid.
If you find a stoneware or ceramic jar, might work better.

Wash and dry the mangoes. Absolutely no water/dampness allowed.
Rub gingelly oil (nallennai) over the mangoes. Cover them well with salt. You will need a lot of salt to make sure it doesn't spoil.
Close it and leave it out. Don't put it in the fridge.
Everyday, it has to be shaken nicely, a few times during the day.
After a couple of days add the spices - mustard seeds, chilli powder, a little bit of hing and a touch of fenugreek seeds, all as dry powder. The shakings need to be done everyday for a week or so. And then let it marinate for another week or two.

Bikerdude said...

Hey here's another recipe. Ok I don't know it exactly, but its how the Iyengar folk make it.

Wash & dry the mangoes. Add kall uppu, and one sombu of boiled water (upto level of mangoes), coarsely ground mustard paste and perungayam. Thalichify with mustard and gingelly oil.

Uber simple but aha what a lovely. In fact the mustardy 'chaaru' of the mangoes is much nicer than the suringified vadus themselves. You can add chilli powder if you like but it won't be authentic.

Munimma said...

I didn't know you could avoid the karam. That is the best part for me.

I didn't add hing/fenugreek. That was the other type I made.

A-kay said...

Thanks for the recipe. Now, where did you buy the maavadu?

Munimma said...

At the Indian grocery store. But it is usually around for a very short period of time, around the start of spring season or a little before that.

A-kay said...

Will have to wait for next year then :( Couldnt't find it the last time I went to one.