My parents are in India. Surprise, surprise. My parents are out there in the world traveling some where. They’re living it up though! About 12 years ago, my dad, who is a professor of engineering, started teaching at a university in Germany. He would go during spring term and for three months he and my mom lived in a little apartment in Konstanz (southern most city in Germany). I even got to visit them over there one year and I completely fell in love with that city. I could see why they kept going back! I actually picture them retiring overseas. Anyway, this year my dad is teaching at a university in India so they’re there until July. The downside is that once again they’re going to be gone for three months and they will be in India during the worst months to visit: summer. The upside is that my mom will be able to visit family in India while my dad is teaching, which is always a win.
My family is huge and they’re all awesome! The women in my family are amazing. They’ve all been through so much in their lives, are very well educated and best of all: they’re amazing cooks.
With my mom in India for three months, and all my aunts living there already, there is something I miss that they all make: Mango pickle, also known to me and my sister as avakaya (ah-vah-ky-yah). It’s this amazing, spicy pickled fruit condiment that is usually served on the side of any dish, but I love to mix it with my yogurt and rice. You can buy jars of it at the Indian grocery store and it will last for months in the fridge and years in your pantry when unopened!
But my aunts and mom make some really, really good mango pickle. My sister told me she has memories of my aunt and mom making pickle in India and then putting the sealed jar out in the sun to help it break down faster. She told me it was weeks before she could eat any pickle, but then realized maybe it was only days and as a kid it only seems like it’s slower ;) Too cute.
This is my aunt. She’s not only a genuinely nice person, but she’s beautiful, an incredibly talented singer and of course, a phenomenal cook. She makes the spiciest and tangiest (and yes those combos can be done!) mango pickle there is. I don’t know how she does it, but I remember my parents bringing it home one year from India and it was wrapped in so many plastic bags to ensure the oil wouldn’t leak all over everything. And it was spicy! I remember everyone saying the spicier the better!
This is my mom. She’s one of the most incredible and beautiful women I know. I see so much of my sister and I in her. Her mannerisms, her kindness, her need to please people (we definitely get that from her!), her temper and maybe one day, we’ll even adapt her cooking style.
She’s taught us well, though, don’t get me wrong! Our husbands are pretty happy with the Indian food we can make them and we owe that all to my mom and the aunts and cousins in our family. There’s nothing like the kind of home cooked food my mom makes. She also makes yummy pickles. She makes good mango pickle and lime pickle (the latter my sister absolutely loves!)
Well because my mom is overseas and most of my family is overseas, I figured it was time to be a grown up and figure out how to make mango pickle on my own. And that’s just what I did! Then when I made it, my uncle sent me my aunt’s recipe and I was so happy to see that what I made is exactly what she makes! Guess it runs in the family ;)
It’s very simple to make too!
Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you. This makes about 1 1/2 cups of pickle and the serving size is about 1 teaspoon…if that. Mine didn’t turn out quite as spicy as I would like, but as a first pass, I think it turned out pretty well!
I only had the spices in whole format, so I just ground up the seeds to make them a powder! I do have a grinder just for spices ;) Brown and proud. What can I say?
- •1 raw (unripe) mango – very green and hard to the touch
- •1/4 cup vegetable oil
- •1/4 cup chili powder
- •1/4 cup mustard powder
- •1/4 cup fenugreek powder
- •1/4 cup salt
- •1/2 tablespoon turmeric
- Cut the mango up into little pieces and put into a large bowl. You can add more chili powder if you want more spice (just remember you can always put spice in, but you can’t take it out!)
- Add the oil and spices and give it a good stir.
- Put all the ingredients in an air tight jar, sealed, and place on the counter for 3-4 days.
- After three days stir around. It will seem VERY salty, but it’s supposed to be. It will continue to break down for another day.
- After the fourth day, give it a taste. It should be slightly salty, tangy and spicy! Tighten the jar again, place in the fridge and it’s ready to go whenever you need it. It should last a few weeks or even months when sealed in the fridge.
It’s literally that simple! It might not be exactly like my aunt’s or moms, but it will definitely work in the mean time. I actually took it to work and some of the Indian ladies there told me it turned out really well; one of the best pickles they had.
So I guess the women of my family taught me well. And maybe one day in the far, far, far, far far future if and when REB and I have kids, I can pass some of those recipes onto them too.
Is there someone in your family who inspires you in the kitchen?