Mango pickle is one of the most commonly made condiment in Indian homes. Each region has a different recipe, style or way of making it. AVAKAYA is a popular pickle variety from ANDHRA CUISINE, a cuisine well-known for its hot & spicy foods.
Avakaya is one of the regularly used condiment to accompany rice, ghee and plain dal in most Telugu speaking homes. I had a few requests last summer for avakaya recipe but could not share it. I did share this simple Instant mango pickle recipe which I make at home here in Singapore.
Making Andhra mango pickle is not difficult, using the right proportion of ingredients and then bringing them together in a Bharani or a jaadi is all that is needed. It is super simple to make but avakaya is mostly not made in small portions hence it becomes a tedious task.
It has a good shelf life of a year without refrigeration if the entire process is followed carefully. My mum used to make this pickle with 75 to 100 mangoes every summer. For years I have carried away a portion of that each time I traveled back from India. For the past few years, I stopped carrying since I am not very good at handling them when I travel alone with 2 kids. Last week I thought of making it myself and got this recipe from my mum and tried it with just few mangoes.
The pickle recipe I am sharing is a standard and traditional one. It is the same in almost all the homes with minor changes depending on the community or region.
Preparation to make 1 to 2 days ahead
1. Wash ceramic jars called as Bharani or jaadi or glass bottles thoroughly with diluted dishwashing soap. Make sure no dirt, grease or grim exists. Rinse thoroughly a few times. Sundry them well until jaadi or bharani are hot. In case using glass bottle, make sure they are at least warm. Exposing them to hot sun for very long may also crack them. After taking away from the sun, allow it to cool down completely. Cover and then set aside in a clean and dry shelf.
2. Clean and then sun dry mustard seeds, crystal salt, methi seeds and red chili powder for few hours. This is done to ensure they are moist free. Transfer them to clean and dry jars. Set them in a dry place.
3. Wash thoroughly mixie jars, 2 large utensils, a measuring cup, few spoons, a bowl and 2 large and 2 small cotton clothes. Dry them very well to make sure they are free from moisture. Store these in a dry place.
4. The pickle variety mangoes are very hard and tough to cut them correctly. In most homes men cut these with the help of a special traditional cutter. Since I did not have this, hubby cut it with a large sharp knife. You will have to wash and sun dry the cutter or knife as well.
Note: Keep your nails trimmed, no polish, and no rings on your fingers for hygiene purpose. You will need to use clean and dry hands to mix the spice powders. Using a ladle or a spoon may not be appropriate, especially if you make in large quantities.
How to choose mangoes for pickle
1. Choose fresh, sour, hard and mature raw mangoes. Special pickle variety mangoes are available in the market. They come in medium size and are dark green in color.
2. Mangoes that have fallen off the trees or the ones with bruises are not suitable to make avakaya.
3. You can also make this mango pickle using any other good sour variety mangoes that are pulpy, but I guess the taste may change after 4 to 6 months.
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 4 to 6 cups cut mango pieces (refer notes)
- 2 cups oil
- 1 cup mustard powder
- 1 cup red chili powder
- ¾ cup crystal salt plus 2 tbsp
- 1.5 tsp Methi powder or methi seeds (refer notes)
- ½ cup garlic or about 70 grams (refer notes)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for avakaya pachadi
- Wash mangoes thoroughly and soak in a large wide pail or bucket for 1 hour. This is done to remove any dirt deposited on them.
- Remove them from water and allow to dry.
- Wipe them with a cloth and spread them on a large cotton cloth. They must be completely moisture free and dry.
Preparing the work area
- The place where you intend to make the pickle has to be absolutely clean, dry and free from moisture.
- Move the mangoes to this work area and all the preparation has to be done here to prevent spoilage. Get all the other things we prepared the previous day to this place .
- Remove any portions of stems still on the mangoes. Cut each mango to half, with the shell and kernel intact. Mango can also be wrapped in a cotton cloth and then halved to prevent slipping or injury. If the shell or the covering of the kernel gets separated from the pieces, then they are not used for pickle since they turn soggy and the taste of the entire pickle changes.
- With the help of a spoon, remove the kernel and discard. You can also see a thin layer in between the kernel and the inner portion of the shell. Remove that as well. Use a spoon to remove that completely. Wipe off with a clean dry cloth.
- Cut each halved mango to 2 (quarters) and then further to 3 pieces each. This way a medium sized mango gets about 12 pieces. Make sure each piece also has a shell part on it.
- Measure & place these cut pieces on a cloth or utensil.
- Peel the garlic cloves. Set them aside. We also crush lightly 10 garlic cloves. This is optional. If the garlic cloves turn green, do not use them.
- Powder the mustard seeds. Measure 1 cup and add it to a large dry utensil. Set aside the left over.
- Powder the methi seeds if using. Add this to the same utensil along with mustard powder.
- Powder the crystal salt. Measure ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp powdered salt and add it to the utensil. Also measure and add red chili powder, garlic. Mix all these.
Making avakaya or avakkai
- Pour 1½ cups oil to another dry utensil. Dunk the mango pieces in the oil a handful at one time. Take them off from the oil with a deep frying spatula or slotted spoon. Add them to the spice mix. Coat them well with spice powder and add it to the bharani/ glass jar.
- Repeat this process of dunking a handful of them in oil and then in the spice mix. Then to the bharani/ jaadi. Once you are done, there will no spice mix left. You may be short of oil for the last few batches. Then use up the rest of the half cup.
- When you are done with this, if you are left with oil or any spice powder, just add the spice powder and then pour the oil to the jar.
- Cover with a lid. Place a cotton cloth and then tie up with a cloth ribbon or a thin long piece of cloth.
- Keep this in a dry shelf for 3 full days. We wait for 72 hours.
- On the fourth day, open the lid and then mix up using a dry ladle. We use strong wooden ladles when made in large quantity.
- Taste the pickle and add little more salt if needed. Wait till the next day to check if there is a layer of oil floating on the pickle, if not add the rest of the oil.
- Do not skimp on the salt and oil, they act as natural preservatives to preserve pickle for a year. If there is not enough oil or salt, pickle may get spoilt.
Tips to follow for a good shelf life.
- Do not serve pickle directly from the jar especially if you have made in large quantity. Opening the jars frequently will diminish the quality, color and flavour of pickle. Always take a portions of this to another glass bottle for everyday use.
- Always use dry hands, ladles and spoons while handling the pickles. We usually heat them up a bit near the gas flame.