There are an insane number of pickles made using raw mangoes, across India. Come summer, when the markets are flooded with the best of unripe mangoes, people in every part of India get busy pickling. The raw mango is so very versatile too, lending itself beautifully to so many different pickle avatars. Today, I am sharing with you all our family recipe for Manga Thokku, one of the many types of pickles made from raw mango in South India.
A bit more about Manga Thokku
In Tamilian households, Manga Thokku is an emotion, more than just another pickle. It is a favourite with so many people I know, including myself, slathered on everything from dosas and rotis to bread. It is with the humble curd rice, though, that the Manga Thokku makes the best pair.
If you are still wondering what Manga Thokku is, let me tell you that it is an instant pickle made using grated raw or unripe mangoes. Redolent of sesame oil and fenugreek seeds, this is a beautiful sour-and-spicy pickle with a hint of sweet. The cooking of raw mango shavings, along with a few other ingredients, on a slow flame gives the thokku a consistency not unlike jam.
About our family recipe for Manga Thokku
The different states of South India have their own popular styles of making Manga Thokku, as far as I understand. What I’m sharing today is the Tamilnadu style of making the pickle, a heritage recipe that has passed on through the generations in our family.
The making of this Manga Thokku is rather simple, with no fancy ingredients or elaborate cooking techniques involved. This makes it suitable for beginners, those who are new to the process of pickling, but would love to get initiated.
This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It can be made entirely gluten-free too, by skipping the asafoetida used in the recipe – I wouldn’t suggest that personally, though, as I think asafoetida is a critical component of Indian pickles. However, most Indian brands of asafoetida contain some amount of wheat flour and are, hence, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. If you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.
Our family recipe for Manga Thokku
The detailed proceedure follows.
Ingredients (makes approximately one 200 gram jar):
Tips & Tricks
1. We always use Totapuri or Kilimooku Manga to make this thokku, and that is what I have used here.
2. Use good-quality raw mangoes when in season. The mangoes should be raw and firm, not at all squishy or damaged.
3. Adjust the quantity of salt, red chilli powder and jaggery powder as per personal taste preferences.
4. Sesame oil or nalla ennai works best in the making of this thokku. However, if you do not have it, you may use any other variety of oil you prefer.
5. You may skip using the jaggery powder if you so prefer. However, we love adding it in.
6. Use a heavy-bottomed pan to make this thokku. Cook the thokku on medium heat.
7. Do not skimp on the amount of oil used. The oil ensures the pickle tastes lovely and stays well for long.
8. When refrigerated and used hygienically, the thokku stays well for at least a couple of months.
9. Make sure the top of the thokku is always covered with the pickle oil. This will prevent fungus from forming on the top layer of the thokku. This is a common problem with the thokku, even while it is refrigerated. Stirring up the thokku once in a while, with a clean and dry spoon, will bring the oil to the top of the pickle and prevent the fungus from forming.
10. Some families add powdered roasted fenugreek seeds (methi) and asafoetida at the very end, after the thokku is done cooking. We add these ingredients at the start, along with the other stuff used in tempering.
11. Don’t overcook the thokku, as it will become quite hard. Cook till it reaches a nice, spreadable consistency only.
12. For a good Manga Thokku, don’t grate the raw mangoes too thick. Grate them fine or medium-thick so they integrate well with the other ingredients and attain a nice, jam-like consistency.
13. Once the cooked and cooled Manga Thokku has been bottled, add some steamed rice to the pan, and mix well with the oil and pickle residue left over in the bottom of the pan – trust me, it tastes heavenly!
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!