Avakaya or Mango pickle Andhra style takes me back to my childhood when I had tasted it for the first time. Baffled? You should be because I tasted it in the small town of Unnao close to Kanpur which was my maternal grandparents’ home. My aunt’s sister-in-law belonged to the city of Hyderabad, which was as exotic as Paris or London for us because we only heard tales of such places far far away. So this lovely lady once served us parathas with this mango pickle that tickled our taste buds and enticed us with its fiery deliciousness. Intrigued, mom immediately asked her for the recipe. But back then women held their recipes close to their chests. Little did I know that one day the city of Hyderabad would hold a very special place in my life. It is my sasural or in-laws place and I’ve not only had Avakaya multiple times but have made this pickle myself as well. 🙂 Life, I tell you!
So here goes the recipe. It is simple but one has to be a stickler for proportions. Also remember to maintain absolute hygiene or the pickle can spoil.
1 Kg. green firm and sour mangoes (the ones with fibre that are meant for pickling)
200 gm. mustard seeds
200 gm. red chilly powder
200 gm. sea salt
2 tbsp. fenugreek seeds
½ cup garlic cloves whole
500 ml. sesame oil
Soak the mangoes for a few hours in water. Wash well; remove any dried sap. Dry them thoroughly and cut the mangoes into quarters. Discard the seed. Remove the white skin that is attached to the kernel. Now spread them out on a towel to dry for a few hours (either under the fan or in the sun).
Sun dry your spices like mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds etc. so that they have no moisture. Powder mustard seeds in a blender. Add chilly powder and salt and mix well. Now add fenugreek seeds and garlic to this spice mix and add half the oil. You will get a mix that is slightly wet. It must not be runny.
Now take a few dry mango pieces at a time, coat them with this spice mix and then put them in a barni (earthenware or ceramic container used for pickles). Repeat this till all the pieces have been well coated. Any leftover spice mix can be added on top of all the pieces. Add some more oil on the top. Save the leftover oil for later.
Now close the lid and tie it with a muslin cloth. Leave it in a dry, dark place for 4 days. After 4 days, open the pickle jar. You will find that the volume of the pickled pieces must have come down by half. Give everything a nice stir with a dry ladle or spoon. You can use your hands as well. You will find that the pickle must have become oily by now. Taste it to check for seasoning. You should not need to but if it tastes less salty, add some more salt. The oil must cover the pickle and float on top. If not, add the leftover oil that you saved earlier.
Now let the pickle mature for 4 more days after putting the lid on and covering it with a muslin cloth. On the 8th day, open the jar and you can begin consuming the pickle. Always ensure that a layer of oil covers your pickle. This prevents it from spoiling.
Have it with your regular meal or like me with parathas and curd rice. It is delicious. It will last you easily for a year. It generally gets consumed before that.
- Do follow the instructions to the T. You may change the proportion of the spices to your taste but if you are making it for the first time, I would suggest sticking to these quantities.
- Every masala must be completely dry, so must the mango pieces, pickle jar and your hands.
- You may use the spicy chilly powder or use half the spicy chilly powder and half Kashmiri chilly powder for the bright red colour.
- Use cold pressed sesame oil and not refined one.
- Since we do not use any preservative, salt and oil are the only preserving mediums.
- Once the pickle is ready, take some quantity in a smaller jar/bottle for daily consumption. Keep the remaining pickle in a cool, dry place. Always use dry spoons for taking out pickle.
- You may substitute garlic with chickpeas. I prefer garlic.