June 5, 2012

Marwari Keri - Rajasthani Mango Pickle

As the scorching sun pierces through the wall of windows, I wonder how much Mom would have loved making all kinds of 'athaanu' or pickles in the abundant sunlight. In Kolkata, the high rises make direct, unobstructed sunlight a scarce commodity for those who live on the lower levels. Many a times in the summer months, Mom and us kids would take our pots of 'pickles in the making' to our wonderful neighbors' courtyard (Yes! They had courtyard right in the middle of South Kolkata!) and hope that the Rain Gods would stay at bay. Baa would constantly keep an eye out for dark rain bearing clouds. A tiny dark cloud spotted meant that we had to run to our neighbors', quickly gather all the pots and rush back!!!
'Marwari Keri' is a simple mango pickle Mom learned from a Marwari neighbor -hence the name. This is one of her signature pickles, and a family favourite. So much so that she has to send a jar of this pickle to my cousins in Nagpur every year. It takes a couple of days in sunlight - but is totally worth it. Here it goes.

1 raw Mango, diced into 1" pieces.
2 tsp Haldi/ turmeric powder
2-3 tsp salt
1 tsp Methi/ fenugreek seeds, roughly crushed.
1 tsp Variyari/ fennel seeds, roughly ground
1 tsp Mangrella/ nigella seeds
2 tbsp Mustard oil
1/2 tsp Hing/ Asafoetida powder
1 tsp red chilli powder

  • In a medium bowl, toss the mango pieces in 1 tsp turmeric and 2 tsp salt. All the pieces should be coated in the salt-turmeric mixture. Set it out the sun in a tray/ wide bowl for a day or two, depending on how much sunlight is available. Periodically remove any moisture that oozes out.
Mango tossed in salt and turmeric
  • Tempering: In a small skillet, heat 2 tbsp mustard oil. Add Hing, Methi Seeds and Mangrella seeds.  Add the dehydrated mango pieces and toss. 
Methi and Mangrella tempered mango
  • Spice it up: Add fennel seeds, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Toss again till all pieces are coated with the spices. Set it out in the sun again, for a day. Alternatively - allow the spiced mangoes to cool, and store it in a sterilised glass jar. 
Spiced up
  • Storage: It can be stored it in the refrigerator for months. For storage at room temperature, add enough mustard oil (~2-4 tbsp) that it covers the mango pieces. It keeps well, either way.
  • Enjoy with parathas, roti etc. 
Marwari Keri

Bon Appetit!
Hetal from Houston

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