Green Mango (Atchar) Pickle [Gluten free, Grains free, Paleo, Sugar free, Vegan]
Atchars or Pickles as we know it, are staple in most Indian homes from centuries ago. A spicy food staple that serves as a side relish to all Indian foods. Various fruit or / and vegetables go into making interesting pickle blends and the methods of making pickle varies, but the base recipe remains a clean and pure mix of the chosen fruit or vegetable, salt, spices and oil.
3 weeks ago the Spring rains began in water deprived Pietermaritzburg,KZN. Along with the rains came the first harvest of green mangoes. In my childhood home suburb, households grow their own mango trees, and often, as they bloom and bear fruit, they hang like beads, with each branch holding dozens of beautiful green fruit. The camaraderie among neighbours in our street is an amazing one, especially when it comes to mango season, lol! I’d no sooner landed off my Sunday evening flight and arrived at my mums’ home, when there was a ring on the front gate, with a neighbour visiting for a chat and bearing mangoes 🙂 Such a delight as compared with my Johannesburg area, where households tend to keep to themselves, with minimal interaction with neighbours.
So, while I could write raptures about life in Indian suburbia and, in particular, my dear late mums’ neighbours, I will head on to the actual pickle posting – a quick and easy method, among methods for a delicously crunchy green mango pickle. Noteworthy, is that carrots and green chillies may be added to this particular recipe too. While at least 2-3 days of sun soaking are required for the pickle to absorb all the flavours of the masala and oil mix, it may be eaten immediately too, as I will describe in the method. The drying of the salt sprinkled mango is an imperative to real pickle making, delivering a well rounded crunchy pickle that will not turn mouldy due to water moisture build up, salt also ensures that that mango remains crisp.
This pickle make evoked loving memories from my growing up days, where the precursor to the pickle making was slicing and drying the mangoes first. Visions of mangoes drying on roof tops in the fresh air (if there’s sunshine, rather surface dry inside) and on every available outside surface warms the windmills of my mind…in this make, due to the rain, I dried the mango’s in the oven just below the lowest temperature setting, using the thermofan as the air dryer.
The pickling masalas vary according to the type of pickle preferred. A mixture of roasted and crushed whole spices of dry red chilli as the base ingredient, with cinnamon bark, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and mustard seeds,. Fenugreek seeds feature in some pickling masala blends, this is for the instant pickle variety. The blend that I used in this make contains olive oil instead of sunflower oil, retailed by a health conscious, savy woman.
I used 20 small green, young mangoes for this make, which filled a 500ml glass jar almost to the top. This recipe also caters for a raw honey sweetened version, if preferred.
20 small green, young mangoes, topped, washed, sliced through middle, cored and sliced as desired
3-4 tablespoons rough Himalayan or Sea salt
1 tsp tumeric powder
¼-½ cup pickle masala
5-6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds or powder
a few curry leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Optional: 1-2 fresh carrots, peeled and sliced
A handful of green chillies
¼ cup raw honey for a subtly sweet tasting atchaar / pickle
- Wash and dry the mangos. Cut off the tops, sliced down the middle and slice as desired.
- Add the sliced mangoes in a plastic dish, note plastic – not glass or metal, as both the latter do not support the curing process.
- Now add in the salt and tumeric powder and toss the mangoes well to combine. Cover the dish with a kitchen cloth and leave the mangoes to sit in the salt and tumeric, overnight.
- The following morning, you will note that brine has developed – water released from the green young mangoes, mixed with the salt. Pour the brine into a cup and set aside.
- Lay out the mangoes on a clean surface and air dry. This requires at least 6 hours. You will note that the mangoes shrink and their shape changes.
- Now add in the garlic, reserved brine, and pickling masala to the green mangoes and mix them well to combine.
- Heat the oil on the stove top, add in the fenugreek powder or seeds and the black mustard seeds, when the oil starts to bubble, add in the curry leaves.
- Remove the pot off the heat and leave aside to cool completely.
- Once the oil is fully cooled, pour it into the mango mix and combine them well. If using raw honey, add it to the cooled oil and mix it well with the fenugreek powder and mustard seeds, then add to the masala mango mix.
- Using a clean, sterilized glass jar, add in the pickled mango and close it well with the jar lid. I find the Consol glass jar variety, or similar, apt for pickle storage.
- Sunlight curing for 3-4 days renders the pickle done. Refrigerate once opened, although the pickle should fare well without refrigeration.
- Do not insert a wet spoon into the pickle jar, as it will spoil.
#For instant pickle in small amounts, eg 3-4 mangoes – to eat immediately after it is made, you may use pickle masala without fenugreek, or add 1-2 tsp chilli powder, mustard powder to taste, salt and fresh garlic with about a quarter cup of extra virgin oil, all added to a glass dish, and mix all the ingredients well to combine. Pour this over carrots, chilli’s or mango, mix well, and serve immediately.