June is here, and suddenly we stand on the cusp of summer. Heat at its peak, flora, and fauna at their dullest mood and there is almost nothing inspirational around. The scent of ripe mangoes and musk melon almost overpowering, every time we open the door of the fridge. The daylight lingers till late evening, and the skies have become that piercing bright blue. These – these few of my observations among many – whisper ‘summer is here’. And how to miss making Aam Ka Achaar (Mango Pickle), an Indian summer ritual that is common to almost every household.
I have a soft spot for pickles: there is something about eating them straight from the jar, makes me feel as though I’m living life in a black and white movie. The raw mango pieces are coated in the achaar masala and then drenched in mustard oil. Salty, spicy, savory, Aam Ka Achaar is an amalgamation of all favorite flavors from grandma’s kitchen. The beautiful thing about making Aam Ka Achaar is it’s truly the most intense way to time travel without leaving your own backyard. You can experience the familiar aroma of the ancestral kitchen, childhood summer memories, right at home, if only you venture to try. The Indian summer season is the perfect time to make Mango Pickle – the abundance of raw mangoes and the dry weather are two idealistic conditions to try Aam Ka Achaar Recipe.
The technique and the time to make each pickle is different from the other, whether it is Bharwan Lal Mirch Ka Achaar, winter special Gobi Gajaraur Shalgam Ka Achaar or Aam Ka Achaar, each recipe has a different tale to tell. But one common thing among all pickles is Achaar Ka Masala. These bold, blazing, spicy, sweet, sour, pickles are incomplete without a teaspoon of achaar ka masala. And we always stick to homemade achaar ka masala to prepare the pickles. In some pickles, the masala brings out the flavor while in some the color. In this Punjabi Style Mango Pickle also, we have used the homemade achaar ka masala but you can use the store bought as well for the purpose.
- 1 kg of raw mango
- 200 gm Achaar ka Masala ( see recipe )
- 50 gm turmeric powder
- 50 gm Salt
- 500 ml mustard oil
- Wash the raw mangoes nicely 2 - 3 times in water.
- Wipe each mango with a clean and dry kitchen towel to remove excess water. Make sure no water or moisture traces remain in the mangoes.
- Chop each mango into 4 - 5 equal size pieces. We use a traditional raw mango slicer for the purpose. But the same can be done with a sharp knife as well.
- Combine the mangoes, turmeric powder and 2 tbsp of salt and toss well using your fingers.
- Place the mangoes on a muslin cloth, cover with another piece of muslin cloth and place under the sun for 4 to 5 hours.
- Now in a large vessel add the raw mango, remaining salt and achaar masala ( see recipe ).
- Combine nicely so that each piece of mango is coated with the spice mixture.
- Transfer the pickle to a clean, dry and sterilised jar. Make sure no dirt particles or moisture content remain in the jar before transferring the pickle.
- Bottle the pickle in a sterilised glass jar. Place the pickle under the sun for 4 to 5 days. This pickle can be stored for upto 1 year.
- Seal the opening of the jar with a muslin cloth and keep under the direct sun rays for a day or two.
- Shake the jar in between once in a day. Keep the pickle jar indoor once the sun sets.
- After a day or two, heat mustard oil in a pan till it reaches the smoking point. Turn off the heat.
- Allow the oil to cool down completely at room temperature.
- Add the mustard oil in the jar and shake the jar to mix.
- Now seal the jar with a tight fitting lid.
- Keep the sealed jar under the direct sun rays for a week. By then, the pickle is matured.
- The mango pickle has a tendency to turn more flavorsome and tender with time.
- If stored at right conditions, Aam Ka Achaar stays well for a year or so.
- Serve Aam Ka Achaar with Paratha or Poori.
- You can use readymade Achaar Masala as well. ( Buy it here )