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Green Mango Pickle (Chethumaangakari)

by Ammini Ramachandran

Chethumaangakari is a simple mango pickle with a short shelf life. But it is so tasty there will be nothing left to store after a couple of days. It stays fresher for a week if refrigerated. If you like your food spicy, try it as a relish. It also pairs very well with Mexican and Southwestern dishes.

2 medium size firm green mangoes
Salt to taste
½ cup vegetable, corn, or canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ cup cayenne pepper powder (or less if you prefer a milder taste)
2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds, lightly toasted and powdered
½ teaspoon asafoetida powder
A few curry leaves

Wash and cut mangoes into small thin slices. Sprinkle salt over them and keep covered as you assemble the other ingredients. In a skillet, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add the cayenne, fenugreek, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Reduce the heat to low, add salted mango pieces, and mix well. Remove from the stove and let the mixture cool. Store it in glass bottles in the refrigerator. It tastes best the second day, after the mango pieces have absorbed the spices. Reduce the amount of cayenne if you prefer less spicy pickle.

Makes 2 to 2 ½ cups

Variation: Tart and crunchy green granny smith apples make an excellent substitute for mangoes. Core, but do not peel 2 apples and slice them exactly like the mangoes. Sprinkle them with salt and a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice per apple, and let them rest for a few minutes while you prepare the spice mix. Follow the mango pickle recipe to finish pickling. It stays fresh in the refrigerator for a week.

A financial analyst turned freelance food writer, Ammini Ramachandran, writes about the history, culture and cuisine of her home state Kerala, India, on her web site http://www.peppertrail.com. Her recipes and articles have been featured in The Providence journal, Flavor & Fortune, www.leitesculinaria.com, and www.ThingsAsian.com. She is working on  a cookbook about the vegetarian cuisine of Kerala against a backdrop of cultural and culinary history. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Culinary Historians of New York.

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