The word ‘Mango’ makes me feel very nostalgic and brings about a lot of good memories of my childhood. It may be an interesting ride for you as I take you down my memory lane.
You could find very few houses in Chennai that have big back/sideyards and ours was/is one of them. My father is so fond of plants and trees that our yard had one of every kind. Coconut, lemon, guava, jackfruit, gooseberry, almond, mango and I can keep on adding to the list. This is apart from the other smaller plant varieties he grew. He cared for every plant like his own children and they reciprocated it equally if not more. The amount of fruits, nuts and flowers our garden produced can simply not be measured. There have been times when we’ve supplied coconuts, mangoes and jackfruits for some of the weddings in the family. As many of you may have known, we typically feed a few thousands of people in Indian weddings.
Our little garden had three huge trees that produced tons of mangoes of one kind, ‘Kili Mookku’ (Parrot Nosed). My siblings and I are three of us in the family and each of us chose one tree each and named them after us. My younger brother (G) chose the one that gave the biggest yield, I chose the next best and left our older brother (M) with no choice. The irony is, M was the one who took care of all the three. He nurtured them and always knew what they needed, while G and I would get active only when it was time to count what our trees had produced. You perhaps would recall the ‘Little Red Hen’ story here :)!
One fine day (well actually a not so fine day), we lost all our mango trees to an unnamed hurricane. My Dad and M gave all their might to prevent them from getting uprooted, but they failed. The trees had a few hundreds of mangoes on them then that they fell prey to the gusts due to their own weight. It was terribly upsetting for all of us in the family and more for M and Dad as you’ll obviously know. When it was calm after storm, the tenacious M and Dad went back to seed some new mango trees. Guess what G and I were doing? We shifted our focus to the coconut trees now and started to fight for the one that yielded the most coconuts :).
Our garden still produces a variety of flowers and fruits (including the new variety of mangoes), but it is sad that none of us are around to enjoy them.
My mother made different kinds of pickles and other things during different stages of mango. Mavadu – with the baby mangoes, Raw Mango Pickle and Mango Thokku – when they were at their peak sourness, Mango Patchadi – when they were just beginning to ripe and Mango Jam – with the fully ripened ones. Read on to know how my mom made the raw mango pickle. It is an instant pickle that can be made in less than 15 minutes.
Prep time : 10 mins
Cook time : 5 mins
Total time : 15 mins
Yield : 2 cups fresh green mango pickle
2 cups finely cut green mango
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspooon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
Heat oil in a skillet, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Now add curry leaves and turn off heat. Immediately, add hing, turmeric, red chili powder and salt, fry them in the oil for just a few seconds. The spices could get burnt in no time, so avoid cooking them under high heat or for a longer duration. Pour oil on top of the cut mangoes and mix gently.
Refigerate and consume within a week to ten days.
Enjoy with good yogurt rice.