Recipes: Instant Mango Chunda

If it’s summer, then it’s time for pickles. Everyone has their favourite type of pickle and while I enjoy a good lemon or mixed pickle, any mango pickle is by far my favourite. If given a choice, I would pick mango over any other pickle. The Mango Chunda is also one I enjoy, but it is S’ favourite pickle. Every trip from India, whether it is us or my parents, had to involve at least a few bottles of the chunda.

This pickle is from the western state of Gujarat and does not involve any cooking. The pickle is made from shredded mangoes and is sweet and sour, with a hint of spice and is made by keeping all the ingredients in the sun for up to a month until the sun cooks the pickle. But because we had not been to India for a while, one day, I found the instant version of the pickle and decided to make it.  It was an instant hit, so I decided to post it here, so I can reference it later.

Instant Mango Chunda

Ingredients:

  • 2 large green mangoes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp roasted cumin powder

Method:

  • Rinse, dry and peel the mangoes. Grate them and keep them aside.
  • Measure the grated mangoes and put them in a large pan
  • In the same pan, for 2 cups of grated mangoes, add 2 cups of sugar
  • Add the salt and turmeric powder and mix well.
  • Switch on the gas and let the sugar dissolve. Once the sugar dissolves, reduce the flame to low and let the sugar syrup cook to single string consistency. This should usually take about 6-8 minutes and you will know when it reaches one string consistency when you take a drop of the syrup and your index finger and thumb and move the fingers apart and you can see a string forming.
  • At this point, and this is very important, switch off the flame and immediately transfer the mixture to another bowl. Don’t forget to do this step. If you don’t transfer it immediately, the chunda will become hard. I did this the first time I made this recipe and since then have learnt my lesson.
  • Let the mango sugar mixture cool down completely.
  • Once it is cooled down, add the chilli powder and cumin powder and mix thoroughly.
  • Store in a dry glass or ceramic container and it will remain fresh for up to a year. Though if your family is like mine, it won’t last that long.

Notes: I used country sugar instead of white sugar, hence the dark colour. You can also substitute brown sugar or jaggery. Also I used the same quantity of sugar to mangoes, but if your mangoes are especially sour, you may need to increase the sugar to compensate for the sourness. You can also increase the chilli powder according to taste.

Recipes: Raw Mango Thokku

A thokku is a pickle which is cooked down to a paste. In normal pickles, you don’t cook them (or barely cook them) allowing the vegetables (or fruits) to absorb the spices from the spice paste that coats them. In a thokku, you cook it down until there is no moisture left in the vegetable (or fruit) and this can also be made with herbs like coriander (or cilantro as it is called in North America) or curry leaves.

A thokku can be eaten not only with rice or flatbreads, but you can eat it as a stuffing in a sandwich. The raw mango thokku is an all-time favourite pickle and I have been known for eating it as it is, that’s how much I love it!

Last year in December, when my mum was with me, one day when I was wondering if I should make my instant mango pickle with the raw mangoes that S brought home, she asked me if I wanted to make this raw mango thokku. Me being me, I instantly said yes and learnt it from her. Since then I’ve made it at least once a month, fine-tuning my recipe. I am now confident of this recipe enough to share with everyone.

This is an easy recipe, just a little tedious. For around 4 largish mangoes, it usually takes me an hour from start to finish. If you are making more, perhaps for the whole year, then yes it can even take the whole day!

Raw Mango Thokku

Ingredients:

  • 4 large raw mangoes
  • 4-6 tbsps gingelly oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 tbsp red chilli powder (approximately)
  • ½ cup jaggery
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seed powder
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Wash and dry the mangoes thoroughly.
  • Peel the skin and chop the flesh into small pieces, the smaller the better. Discard the seed.
  • In a large pan, heat the gingelly oil and when it starts smoking, add in the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, pour in the chopped mangoes and stir well to cover all the pieces with the oil.
  • Stir well and cover and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Then add turmeric powder and salt and stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Now add the chilli powder and continue to cook. You can do a taste test at this point to check for seasoning and the level of chillies in the thokku. When you feel it is slightly spicier than you can handle, that’s what you are looking for.
  • Add the jaggery (optional, you can omit this completely or even add some brown sugar) and let it cook till the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add more oil if your thokku starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Just when it is ready, add the fenugreek powder and remove from the gas.
  • When the thokku is cool, remove it to a jar and enjoy!

Notes:

  • I have found that the best way to cut the mangoes is to peel them with the peeler (after you have removed the skin).
  • Peel the flesh until you come to the seed, and then chop the remaining flesh finely. This way, the flesh breaks down fast and you get a smooth paste like thokku.
  • In the photo below, (I made this version about a month back), I have chopped the flesh and you can still see the slightly grainy cubes which have not melted into a paste.
  • You can also grate the mango flesh.

Recipe: Instant Raw Mango Pickle

instant-mango-pickle-4Last year when I was in India, my mum made this and I really fell in love with the recipe. I was actually eating it like a snack, it was that tasty. I saw how she made it and came back and replicated a couple of times at home. I made this recently and thought to share it with everyone.

It’s a very simple and easy recipe with all ingredients (except the mangoes) which can be found in your kitchen. It also hardly takes any time to make, with only the cutting the mangoes the slightly tedious task.

This pickle stays good for a couple of weeks in the fridge, but it’s best to eat it soon. It also does not have any curing time, unlike traditional pickles.

instant-mango-pickle-1Instant Raw Mango Pickle

Ingredients:

  • 1 green, raw mango, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 2 tbsps gingelly oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

Method:

  • Wash and dry the mango and chop it into very small pieces
  • In a large pan, add the chopped mangoes, salt, sugar (if using), red chilli powder, turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp asafoetida and mix well.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the gingelly oil and when the oil starts smoking, put the mustard seeds and let them pop. Then add the asafoetida and pour the hot oil into the mango mixture. Mix thoroughly and store in a glass jar in the fridge.

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instant-mango-pickle-5

instant-mango-pickle-3

 

Recipe: Puli Inji aka Sweet Sour Ginger Chilli Sauce/Pickle

img_6105An essential part of a Tamil brahmin wedding feast, Puli Inji is one of my favourite parts of the fest. Sweet, Sour and also slightly spicy, I love this dish, and always want more, though the servers would only put a small tsp in each banana leaf.

The other day, with a whole bunch of ginger at home, I was wondering what to make which will use the ginger up and then decided to make some puli inji. I make a slight change to the traditional recipe. In the traditional recipe, the chilli and ginger are chopped into tiny pieces, while I blended it up so the end result was more chutney-like than a gravy-like which is how it is usually made. This recipe can be stored for a couple of weeks when refrigerated.

img_6107Puli Inji aka Sweet Sour Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ginger, peeled, chopped and ground into a rough paste
  • 1 cup green chillies, peeled, chopped into a paste
  • 1 lemon sized ball of tamarind
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsps of grated jaggery (more or less depending on the spice intensity of the chilli plus your spice tolerance)
  • Salt to taste

To be ground into a powder

  • 1 tbsp Urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves

For the seasoning

  • 1-2 tbsps Gingelly oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

 

Method:

  • Soak the tamarind in hot water and keep aside for 30-45 mins. When it cools, smash it well and extract all the juice. Throw the pulp and reserve the tamarind water. You can also use store-bought tamarind paste and use a couple of tsps for this recipe.
  • In a dry pan, dry-roast the urad dal, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves till they become brown and crisp. Keep aside to cool completely and then grind this into a fine powder.
  • In another pan, add the oil and when it warms up, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Now add the asafoetida and stir for a couple of seconds. Next, add the ginger and let it brown. Now add the chilli and let that cook for a couple of minutes.
  • When the ginger and the chilli are brown, add the tamarind juice, turmeric powder, salt and let it come to a rolling boil.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, add the jaggery and the ground powder and let it come to the consistency that you want and switch off the flame.
  • The mixture will thicken as it cools, so do switch off the flame before it reaches the final consistency you want.

img_6106Yummy Puli Inji is ready. This is great as a side to any south Indian dish as well as a chutney for bread. You can also use this as a dip.

If you want a more textured dish, chop the ginger and chillies and then make it as per the recipe.

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