Recipe for Molaga Maanga – An instant raw mango pickle
This was the only pickle I liked as a kid, which I had fondly christened- ‘square maanga’ because it was cut in a square dice. In the hot summers of Bombay, curd rice would taste divine anyway. A tiny bit of this square maanga with the curd rice would always take it to another level of divine. Often, my granny would mash the rice and curds until smooth and give one big spoonful of this in my hand with a small bit of this pickle on top of it, all ready to be gobbled up. No chewing required. I can guarantee you that using the above tactic, a small mountain of thairsaadam (curd rice) can be easily demolished even by someone who claims to hate this Tamil comfort food.
In weddings, this pickle is usually made fresh on the morning or the previous day and when served with the wedding meal, it is still crunchy. The caterers often give the leftover pickle to the family and it actually tastes a lot better after 4-5 days of soaking in the spices, gets a lot more softer with more rounded flavours.
For this, use fresh, raw mangoes, with a very firm flesh. No need to peel the skin. I’ve used mangoes from the tree in our Chennai house. I don’t know the exact variety, but this one has a very small stone and plenty of flesh. 3 mangoes yielded roughly 10 big ladles of finely chopped pieces- I’d assume this would be roughly 7 cups in terms of metric units. I’m sure different families have different recipes for this, but this one is from my amma & chithi, joint instructions provided over the phone. Make sure all the utensils used for pickling and throughly clean and dry or the pickle has a tendency to spoil quickly.
Wash and dry well 3-4 raw mangoes. No need to peel the mango. Chop the flesh into a fine dice. I’ve cut them into thin strips this time, but I prefer them to be cut into tiny cubes. Remove as much flesh as you can from the stone and dice it. Collect this in a large bowl.
Use a dry ladle, katoris or measuring cups to check the quantity of diced mangos. You can use any such utensil to measure the diced mango, just that you need to use the same utensil to measure out salt, red chilli powder and other spices. The main measurements are those for salt and red chilli powder, the rest can be adjusted easily.