Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mango Hindi - An Exotic Pickle

When I think about 'Mango Hindi' the pickle that tickles the taste buds and ignites a tinge of exotic taste that lingers on and on, I go back in time and revisit Shivamogga in the mid Sixties, my sister's place where her sister in law Shalakka(Shalini S Isloor) from Sagar used to make this fantastic pickle and bring a big jar full of the pickle during the summer holidays.
The name hindi has nothing to do with the Indian National language, but it rhymes with Indie and perhaps the name was derived from the Kannada word hindi meaning squeezed. In the olden days, they must've been applying salt to the chopped mangoes and squeeze that to get a well brined pickle.

Shalakka was a connoisseur of good taste and her cooking was perfect, whether it was rice bhakri or Mumbri with jhunka or rice and rasam. Shalakka's Hindi was perhaps the best I have tasted in my life, well balanced taste and aroma of finely chopped well grown raw mangoes blended with exotic spices with just the right amount of salt in it. I also used to mix in hindi and gobble up double the quantity of steamed rice than my normal capacity!

Shalakka is not with us today, but the remniscence of her famous hindi makes me drool and crave for it whenever I find good raw mangoes in the summer season. My friend Mahesh Baliga from Kannur in Kerala makes it a point to give me a heap of excellent raw mangoes every season, since last Three years. He didn't disappoint me this year also. The mangoes were in town and Mahesh called me to inform about that, just When I thought summer is over, monsoons are in the horizon, and I'd not get this years quota of mangoes from Mahesh due to some reason, perhaps untimely rains spoiling the crop! He had reserved at least 15 Kilos of Mangoes for me! This summer being too hot and wicked, I decided to share them with my friend Shailesh Bhat, who runs a catering service. Besides, I was too tied up with my professional work and had very less speare time to pay attention to cooking.

I decided to make Four kinds of mango pickles this time, including hindi. I searched for recipes online, but suddenly I remembered Lata Isloor Corry, Shalakka's co-sister's daughter. Since Lata has grown up in the same joint family house hold as Shalakka was in, she must be knowing the recipe. I sent her a private message and asked her for the recipe. She followed it up immediately and asked her mother in Sagar, who gave her the recipe with the list of ingredients. Having known how the pickle tasted when I was small and how sour are the mangoes I got from Mahesh Baliga, I could deduce the exact measurement of ingredients that I can add while making the pickle. I also made small changes to suit my taste, but the pickle turned out almost as good as Shalakka made it! 

Here it is, Shalakka's Mango Hindi, which I am sure, our blog followers will simply love to make every year. I certainly decided to make this again this year and in the years to come. After all, I need to pamper myself from time to time with goodies that made me feel good during my younger days!

Raw Mangoes(Well Grown but unripe with seed) - 500 Gm
Red Chilli Powder - 1 Tbsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 2 Tsp
Salt - 2 Tsp(or to taste)
Mustard Seeds - 2 Tsp
Fenugreek Seeds(Methi) - 1 Tsp
Asafotoeda(Hing) - Chickpea size ball or 1 Tsp powder
Coconut/Sesame Oil - 1 Tbsp

Wash the mangoes, wipe them dry and then finely chop them into tiny bits.
Dry roast salt.
Apply salt to the chopped mango and keep for two days at room temperature.
Heat little oil, roast mustard seeds, fenugreek and asafotoeda till a nice arome emanates.
Cool them and grind in a mill into a fine powder. 
Mix in the powder with the chopped salted mangoes, then add the chilli powders and remaining oil.
Mix well and transfer into an airtight jar.
Keep for one or two days to ferment further, then store in a cool dark place.
For better preservation, keep in a fridge.
Spicy Raw Mango Chutney(Left) and Mango Hindi(Right)
You may adjust the quantity of salt and chilli powder according to taste, depending on the sourness of the mangoes.

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