Summer time is picking time. For me at least, summer is when we make pickles. Rather, my mom and ma-in-law make pickles. For a change this time, I decided to take matters in my own hands and buck the trend: the watch amazed and eat even more amazed trend. Pickles always seem to be to be cumbersome work. Even though my ma-s, aunts and all other women who pickle, tell me otherwise. But then I finally found it wasn’t all that difficult. Rather, I chose pickles that weren’t difficult to make!
So much talk on my pickling skills, but this post is actually about a pickle that is a family favourite and not the ones I prepared (those are on hold till next week!). This pickle post is dedicated to the humble Mavadu, pickled small baby mangoes, prepared by my grandma and all of my aunts each year and a standard summertime pickle in most Tamil homes. This year my mom too joined the Mavadu makers club. My Ma’s pickle is still soaking in salt. The spices are yet to be added.
Vadu manga is available only in the summer ones and the plumper they are the better they taste. And oh, the tender seeds are the best part of the mavadu! Ma tells me it really was easy to make, so don’t let the detailed steps fool you into thinking otherwise. Team it with curd-rice and your trip to heaven is as good as confirmed!
PS: BTW the glass jars you see in these pictures are my great grandmother’s! More than a 100 years old!!!
This is my entry for Day6 of Week 3 (Seasonal Dishes) for Valli’s 30-day Blogging Marathon
Vadu Manga (baby mangoes) – 2 kg
Rock Salt – 350 gm (see note 1)
Mustard seeds – 150-200 gm (see note2)
Red chili powder (see note 3)
Turmeric powder (see note 4)
Boiled, cooled water (see note 5)
1. Rock salt is used as it ensures Mavadu doesn’t spoil for one to two years. Using regular salt may not keep it good that long. The ratio of salt to vadu manga is 1:6
2. The ratio of mustard seeds to vadu manga is about 1:12
3. You could use whole red chilies, sun them for a few hours and dry grind them finely or use a good brand of readymade red chili powder
4. Turmeric adds as a natural antiseptic and keeps the pickle fresh and free of insects and moulds for a long time
5. Adding some water to the pickle ensures that the vadu manga remains plump and doesn’t shrivel much
Wash the vadu mangas under running water. Break off any large stems, retaining just a tiny stub. Keep all the little mangoes immersed in water for around 30 minutes. When vadu manga is plucked a little milky substance oozes out and dries on the baby mangoes. This stuff is astringent (thuvarpu) in nature and may affect the taste of the final pickle. Immersing it in water for sometime makes sure that the thing is all washed off
Drain the water and place the vadu mangas in a colander for some time. Later, clean the mangas with a clean cloth and keep aside
Sterilize a glass jar (or jars), dry thoroughly and keep aside
Mix up the dry clean baby mangoes, salt and turmeric powder and dump into the jar(s). Add enough boiled and cooled water to just cover the baby mangoes. Not many people do this. This isn’t a must but the water keeps the mangoes plump without letting them shrink too much despite the action of the salt. It does make the vizhudu (pickle water) thinner but I find the spice levels easier to handle this way!
Line the open mouth of the jar with a clean thin piece of cotton cloth (like cheese cloth for instance) and then cover it with the lid. Using the cloth piece acts like a filter and keeps out little insects and other impurities from entering the jar while also maintaining just a little air to get in
Leave it this way for two days. Give the jar a good shake or mix with a long wooden spoon the next day and every day for the next one month religiously the first thing after your bath (Instructions from my aunt!). Mixing the contents ensures that everything remains evenly mixed and the vadu mangas absorb everything (spices et all) evenly. It also allows for some air to get in preventing the pickle from turning stale
Sun the mustard seeds for a couple of hours and dry grind them. Add along with red chili powder to the jar of salted vadu manga. Mix well. The quantity of water will now be much higher since the salt will draw out all the moisture from the manga
Let the baby mangoes soak in and absorb all the spices for a fortnight (do not forget to mix up the contents daily)
Mavadu will be ready for consumption in a fortnight!