In most South Indian homes, baby mangoes find their way into vadu maangaai, a simple pickle that tastes absolutely delicious. I love vadu maangaai, but I simply adore the stuffed version of the same that I have grown up eating. An elderly cook in one of our relatives’ home specialised in making this stuffed baby mango pickle, and it was at their place that I first tried it out, as a teenager. I went ga-ga over it, so much so that my mother requested the cook for the recipe, which she shared happily. Since then, this Stuffed Vadu Maangaai has been an integral part of our family as well.
This summer, as soon as I got my hands on the first baby mangoes of the season, I got out that age-old recipe and made stuffed pickle, just like the olden days. It was a new experience for the bub, and she watched in awe as her mother and grandmother cut slits into the little mangoes, and filled them with a home-made spice mix. Oh, if only I could teleport the beautiful, beautiful fragrance of that spice mix to you! My house smelled like heaven on pickle-making day! 🙂
Well, the stuffed vadu maangaai is all ready now, filled up in a glass bottle. It has turned out exquisitely delicious, if I may say so myself. The eating of a simple bowl of curd rice on a hot summer’s night has become even more of a pleasure than it always was, thanks to this lovely pickle.
Today, I am going to tell you how to make these stuffed baby mangoes.
First up, get the spice mix ready. Here’s how you go about doing that.
Ingredients for the spice mix (makes about 1-1/2 cup):
- 3/4 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon asafoetida
- 3/4 cup red chilli powder
- 1/2 cup mustard seeds
- 1/2 cup fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 cup turmeric powder
- 1/4 cup gingelly oil
Method for making the spice mix:
- Put all the ingredients into a mixer jar and grind to a fine powder.
- Heat the gingelly oil in a pan till it begins to smoke. Pour it over the prepared spice mix. Keep aside till the spice mix is cool enough to handle.
- Now, mix it well using a dry spoon. Transfer the spice mix to a clean, dry, air-tight container, for future use.
Now, we will proceed to make the stuffed vadu maangaai or stuffed baby mango pickle.
Ingredients for making the stuffed baby mango pickle (makes about 1 mason jar):
- 6 heaped cups baby mangoes
- 1/4 cup gingelly oil
- Spice mix, as prepared above, as needed
Method to make the stuffed baby mango pickle:
- Wash the baby mangoes thoroughly under running water, to remove any traces of grime or dust. Then, place them in a colander for a few minutes and let all the water drain out.
- Gently pat the washed and drained baby mangoes dry with a clean piece of cotton cloth. Then, spread them out to dry on a cotton cloth, preferably in the sun, for at least an hour. Now, they are ready to use and pickle.
- From the stem down, make two long slits in the baby mangoes (in the sign of a +). Slit them about 3/4 of the way through, keeping them intact at the base. Do not remove the seed.
- When all the baby mangoes have been slit this way, stuff as much of the spice mix as you can into each one. Place the stuffed baby mangoes in a clean, dry, air-tight stainless steel container or a large vessel. Add 2-3 extra tablespoons of the spice mix over the stuffed mangoes, for good measure.
- Leave the stuffed baby mangoes undisturbed for a day, at room temperature. Post this, heat the 1/4 cup of gingelly oil till it smokes, and pour the hot oil over the stuffed mangoes. Keep aside untouched for one more day, at room temperature.
- Then, every day post this, stir the mangoes gently using a clean, dry spoon. The idea behind doing this is to ensure that all the baby mangoes are evenly coated with the spice mix and that they all soak equally. By the end of two days or so, you will find that the mangoes have become softer and that they have shrunk. Continue doing this gentle mixing for 5-6 days, by which time the mangoes would have shrunk even more. Now, you can bottle the pickle and even refrigerate it. It is ready to use, but with more time, the pickle gets even more softer and all the more delicious.
- Use good-quality gingelly oil to make the spice mix and the pickle, for best results.
- You can even roast the mustard seeds and fenugreek before you grind the spice mix, but it is not compulsory to do so. Even without the roasting, the spice mix tastes absolutely delicious and the fragrance is out of the world.
- Increase or decrease the quantity of ingredients you use in making the spice mix, as per personal taste preferences.
- Any spice mix left over after making the pickle can be stored in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle for later use in other pickles. It keeps well for about a month.
- Don’t miss out on gently mixing up the pickle from the second day onward. This is an important step, which will greatly enhance the taste of the pickle.
- The pickle should not refrigerated while it is soaking, i.e. for about a week. After this time, you may refrigerate it. You can even store it at room temperature – that is totally up to you. This stuffed baby mango pickle keeps well for about a month at room temperature. Refrigeration would increase its shelf life further.
You like? I hope you will try out this recipe too, and that you will love it as much as we do!