Mango Pickle – The pickling process in India differs from other regions mainly due to an additional spice mixture added to them after anaerobic fermentation. Pickles are main side dishes and many varieties of vegetables are used. However, raw mango or tender mango is the most popular variety of fruit used for pickling. There are multiple varieties of mango pickles prepared depending on the region and the spices used but broadly there are two types: whole baby mango pickles and cut mango pickle. Whole baby mango pickle is a traditional variety very popular in Southern India and uses baby mangoes that are few weeks old. There are special varieties of mangoes specifically used just for pickling and they are never consumed as ripe fruit. Baby mangoes are pickled using salt, vegetable oil and a blend of hot spices, in a very careful process which ensures pickles are preserved for years.
Mango Pickle is ideally prepared using a special variety of mango that can stay crisp for longer periods when pickled. This variety of mango is specially bred and grafted for use. However, most raw mango varieties can be pickled if quality is not a concern.
The mangoes are cut into medium-sized pieces approximately 2 cm x 2 cm using strong and especially sharp cutters/knives in swift strokes so as not to structurally damage the pieces. These pieces are wiped clean and dry with a highly-absorbent soft cloth — usually an old sterilized cotton sari with no embroidery, stowed away for this purpose. They are then pickled with powdered mustard, red chili powder (dried and powdered or sometimes dried, roasted and powdered), salt, gingelly oil. The mixture matures for four to eight weeks, care being taken to mix the contents periodically to ensure a uniform marinade.
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