Maggai - Sliced Mango Pickle

Hot summer months were "Ooragai" days in my childhood. All the people around planed their pickles, specifications like mangoes of one tree for one kinda of a pickle. Sometimes they adjusted their summer travel to suit the "right time" for the Pickle. Mangoes were brought in gunny bags and along came a specialist "a cutter" who would cut the mangoes exactly in half with the shell intact. Washing , peeling and scrapping were kids jobs I guess. All the effort that was spent for "perfect pickle" that had to last a year.

Maggai is an Andhra pickle done with raw mangoes during summer. This pickle has a shelf life up to a year.

Make this and "bye-bye" to store bought pickles. A good side dish with plain rice and curd rice. Use dry hands and keep away from water for a good shelf life.

For this pickle, pick mangoes that are really hard, green and sour. Wash, wipe and let sundry for some time before working on them. This method needs an approximate eye balling; depending on the size of the mango, sourness and etc the spices should be adjusted. The spicey/karam of pickle normally reduces in a few days. Prepare the spice mix only after the mango slices have dried. The quantity of the pieces will shrink after drying.

3 Raw Green Mangoes – about a big handful of slices after drying
2 cups Red Chili Powder
1 cup Fenugreek seeds – Menthulu
A little less than 1 cup Mustard seeds
1½ cup Salt
3 cups oil – preferably Sesame/Gingerly oil
2 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Asetifodia /Hing – preferably crystal hing for more aroma

Peel the skin and make thin slices of the mango flesh, I use a peeler to make the slices, discard the hard shell. Add all the salt and turmeric mix well and store in a warm place for 2 – 3 days. Once a day, mix well and store it back. The juice in the mango will combine with the salt and “oota” will be formed. If you taste a piece, it will be really salty, do not worry, it will settle when the other spices are added. Please refer to photo tutorial of Maggai for pictures.

On the 3rd day, use a strainer and separate the pieces and the oota/juice, using your hand/palm to squeeze out any juice remaining. Sundry them separately. Spread the slices on a basin/plate and the juice/oota in a bowl. Dry them till the slices become dry for about 2 – 3 days. Meanwhile the oota/juice will become concentrated and salt will sediment on the side of the bowl.

On the 3 rd day, do not start mixing the pickle when the slices are hot for the sun, let them come to room temperature.

In a skillet heat 3 cups of oil on low/medium flame and when hot add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and a handful of broken/split red chilies. When mustard seeds splutter remove from flame and when oil settles down, add hing and let cool. Bring to room temperature.

Take 1 tsp of oil in a skillet and add fenugreek seeds and fry them till nicely done and then add the mustard seeds and fry till they splutter. Remove and let cool. Dry grind the mix to a smooth powder, this is called menthi powder.

Mix the dry menthi powder and red chili powder in the oota/juice and then, the dried mango slices. Once that is all thoroughly mixed then add oil and mix well. Leave in the same bowl for 1 or 2 days and keep mixing thoroughly. Then transfer into an air tight container and store in a cool place.

This is a good side dish with rice and also as a side dish with curd rice. As the pickle is getting older, instant maggai pachadi can be made by adding onions, green chili, coriander and grinding to a smooth paste. This can be used as a side dish for dosa’s and upma.

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