As soon as the Mango season began in early April, baby green mangoes were making their appearance in mounds in markets everywhere here in Bangalore.
The very sight of baby unripe mangoes just like “baby anything”, is simply irresistible. It must be the size. Miniatures are always so irresistible. Especially tender, baby unripe mangoes which we locals call as Midi Maavinakayi or simply Maavina Midi. Because, they mean one thing. Awesome oil free pickles!
People buy as much as they can to preserve, to consume a little now and more throughout the year until the next season arrives.
I had been dreaming of pickling for ages. I had never pickled baby mangoes and here was my first chance. As my mom makes the yummiest pickles in the family, one of my agendas among several others after returning to Bangalore was to learn to pickle just as Amma does.
I bought the freshest baby mangoes one day and called Amma home. I wanted to make the pickle all by myself. So Amma instructed and I followed. I knew, the only way to remember the art of pickling is to do it yourself (myself!).
And the sight of the baby mangoes floating in brine was so worth all the effort.
I cannot tell you how satisfying it was. The whole process. You’ve got to do it yourself to feel the feeling. To experience slow living.
These days, pickles are looked down upon for the fear of the oil content, the heat and the amount of salt. People try to avoid pickles. But more of us need to realize that pickles have an important role to play in our holistic approach to eating and health. When consumed in moderation, pickles help in supporting the good bacteria in the gut. And we all know that immunity is in our gut, right?
The more I think of it, the more I appreciate how beautifully the combination of curd rice (probiotic) accompanied with pickle (fermented food) has been made a big part of the staple South Indian diet. My mom tells me that my grand mom always told her that eating pickles makes for a strong body. I nod in agreement.
So, go to your mom, aunt, grand mom, mom-in-law and learn the art of pickling that is unique to your family. Eat pickles in moderation and stay healthy and strong.
Here’s my mom’s version of the South Indian oil-free Baby Mango pickle.
MAAVINA MIDI UPPINAKAYI | Baby mango pickle Recipe
Things you’ll need:
750 gm (3/4 kg) Midi Maavinakayi/ baby green mangoes
- 1 cup rock salt, powdered
- 1 cup red chilli powder
- 3/4 cup mustard seeds
- 1700 ml capacity glass bottle, washed and air dried.