- Submitted by Raji Ramakrishnan
(Vadu Mangai, Maavadu, Raw Baby Mango Pickle, Kannimanga Uppilitathu, Kadumanga achar, Kaduku Manga Uppilitathu)
Maavadu or Vadu Mangai Urugai is a traditional Tamil Brahmin style pickle prepared with tender baby raw mangoes. It is also made in Kerala and known as kannimanga achar or kaduku manga uppilitathu.
During the beginning of summer, around March and April, the mango trees are filled with tiny baby mangoes. This pickle is usually made at this time in huge quantities and stored in huge traditional ceramic jars called 'Bharanis'. Normally, in our native place, the pickle that is made this year is used only the next year. The bharani is kept covered with mud and opened after a year. That is when the real taste of the mango pickle comes. Nowadays I just make in small quantities and it finishes off before that.
This pickle has more liquid content as compared to other pickles. Also, this pickle has little or no oil added to it as compared to other pickles that are soaking in oil. It tastes divine with some cool curd rice.
Recipe For Vadu Mangai Urugai
- Small Tender Mangoes - 250 gm (10-15 baby mangoes)
- Red Chili Powder - 50 gm
- Salt - 6-8 tsp (adjust according to taste and also depending upon the quality of mango)
- Rai dhanas (kaduku podi or kaduku parippu or crushed mustard seeds) - 1 tsp
- Take each baby mango and remove the long stalks. You need a small piece of the stalk intact with the mangoes to preserve the milky sap of the mangoes which contributes to the authentic taste of the pickle.
- Wash and wipe each mango with a clean dry cloth. There should not be any moisture in the mangoes. Also keep some rock salt or table salt ready.
- Traditionally little castor oil is applied on the mangoes to prevent the same from getting spoiled. Since we are making very small quantity, it gets over very fast. So I have done without applying oil. In native place, they make it in large quantities and it is necessary to put oil to preserve longer. Alternatively, you can put a muslin cloth soaked in mustard oil or sesame oil on top of the pickle in the bharani (pickle jar)to prevent spoilage.
- In a bharani or glass jar, put few mangoes and sprinkle some salt. Add some more mangoes and then layer it with salt. Keep layering till you reach the top of the jar.
- Depending upon the sourness of the mangoes, you have to increase/ decrease the quantity of salt. For any pickle, little extra salt keeps it intact. Otherwise it gets spoiled very fast.
- Keep it for 3-4 days. Every day keep on shaking it. You will be able to see water level increasing day by day and the mangoes shrinking. This is the liquid that oozes out of the mangoes and the salt.
- After 4-5 days, remove the mangoes from the brine using a clean and dry spoon. Take required amount of crushed mustard seeds (rai dhana) and red chili powder to mix with the pickle. These days you get crushed yellow mustard seeds in super markets as kaduku podi. If not, you can just dry roast the regular mustard seeds and coarsely powder it. For chili powder, you can use the kashmiri one which gives color without adding lot of heat.
- Mix the red chili powder and rai dhanas (crushed mustard seeds) with the collected liquid. Put the mangoes back in the jar and mix well.
- Let it rest for another few days. Each day keep stirring it two to three times a day. Do this using a clean dry spoon. The more the pieces are soaked in the masala mix, the more tastier it will be. Eventually the liquid level should be above the mango pieces so that the mangoes are completely soaked in.
- When it is done, you can see that the mango pieces would have shrunk and the color changed. It usually takes about 10 days to get to this stage. Now it is ready to serve.
- Vadu mangai urugai and curd rice is a match made in heaven. This combination is mentioned in many poems and songs too.
- It can also be served with sambhar rice, dal rice or chapati.
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