Manga Pachadi is a thing of real beauty and a source of joy, a big favourite in our family. For the uninitiated, this is a relish made using raw mango, a heritage recipe from Tamilnadu. Similar to but different from the Aam Ki Launji from up North.
Sweet and sour, with just a hint of spice, Manga Pachadi makes for a lovely accompaniment to meals. We don’t miss making this at least once every summer, and I highly recommend you try this too before green mango stocks run out. 🙂
The six flavours (arusuvai) of Manga Pachadi
To balance the sourness of raw mango, jaggery is added to Manga Pachadi. I prefer using unadulterated country jaggery (‘naatu vellam‘), which gives the relish its deep brown colour.
Some people add a bit of red chilli powder to Manga Pachadi, but we don’t. The only heat in the dish we make comes from the tempering of dry red chillies we add in.
This Manga Pachadi falls under the category of ‘Arusuvai‘, or ‘food that includes six flavours’ in Tamil. Experts of Tamil cuisine believe that there are six flavours in all – sweet, salty, spicy, sour, astringent and bitter. It is believed that when you eat foods that contain all six flavours, the brain gets signals of calm and satiety, and that you avoid over-eating and excessive food cravings. We have talked about the ‘sweet’, ‘spicy’ and ‘sour’ aspects of the Manga Pachadi already. The ‘saltiness’ comes from the bit of salt added to the dish, while the ‘astringent’ flavour comes from the turmeric. Wondering where the ‘bitterness’ figures in? It comes from neem flowers, fresh or dried, which are usually fried in ghee and added to the Manga Pachadi!
Manga Pachadi is customarily prepared in Tamilian households on Tamil New Year’s day, which falls in the month of April. The ‘Arusuvai‘ Manga Pachadi reinforces that life is a mix of varied experiences – it is never all sweet or bitter or sour, but that there are several things in between. Just how beautiful is that, right?
In our family, we add in dried neem flowers to the Manga Pachadi only on Tamil New Year’s day, avoiding it at other times.
How to make Manga Pachadi
Here’s our family recipe. Check it out – it’s super easy to make, yet super delicious!
Ingredients (makes about 1-1/2 cup):
1. 1 medium-sized raw mango, a little over 1 cup when chopped
2. 2 pinches of salt
3. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
4. About 3/4 cup jaggery powder
5. 1/2 tablespoon oil
6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
8. 2 dry red chillies
1. Peel the raw mango.
2. Chop the flesh into slices. Scrape off all the flesh from the seed, and slice it up too.
3. Measure out the slices. I had about 1-1/4 cup raw mango slices which weren’t very sour, so I used 3/4 cup jaggery. You need to adjust the amount of jaggery you use as per the quantity and sourness of the raw mango.
4. Take the mango slices in a heavy-bottomed pan, along with about 1/4 cup water, the salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Keep on high flame.
5. When the pan gets heated up, reduce flame to medium.
6. Cook covered on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till the mango slices turn soft. Open the lid in between to check on the mango slices, and add in a little more water if it has dried up.
7. Add the jaggery to the pan, along with about 1/2 cup more water. Mix well.
8. Continue to cook on medium flame, uncovered, till the mixture starts to thicken. This can take 2-4 minutes. The mango slices will further soften. Stir intermittently.
9. In the meantime, prepare the tempering. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow to sputter. Reduce flame, and add in the asafoetida and dry red chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas.
10. When the mango mixture has thickened but is still quite runny, switch off gas. It will thicken a bit more upon cooling. Add the tempering we prepared earlier, to the pan. Mix well. Your Manga Pachadi is ready. It can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.
Tips & Tricks
1. If you plan to store the Manga Pachadi, let it cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle.
2. Totapuri or Kilimooku Manga, which are a good mix of sweet and sour, work best in the making of this dish.
3. Adjust the quantity of jaggery you use, depending upon the quantity and sourness of the raw mango.
4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Manga Pachadi you require. Ideally it should be a bit runny, but thick and not watery.
5. Whole jaggery can also be used in place of the powder I have used here. In that case, you could make a syrup of the jaggery and water, then add it to the cooked raw mango slices. You should filter the jaggery syrup before adding, in case it has impurities.
6. You can also add a bit of red chilli powder to the Manga Pachadi. Some families do that, but we don’t.
7. Don’t overcook the Manga Pachadi. Stop cooking it when it reaches that thickened, but runny stage. It thickens a little more upon cooling.
8. The colour of the Manga Pachadi will depend upon the type of jaggery you use. I have used organic country jaggery here, hence the deep brown colour.
9. Sometimes, curry leaves are added in the tempering too. We usually don’t use them.
10. On Tamil New Year day, about a teaspoon of dried neem flowers are fried in some ghee, then added to the Manga Pachadi, along with the other tempering. Some families use fresh neem flowers too. Except for Tamil New Year, the adding of neem flowers to Manga Pachadi is not usually followed.
11. Ghee can be used for the tempering, instead of the oil I have used here. Avoid ghee and stick to oil for the tempering, for a vegan version.
12. The above recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suitable for those following a plant-based diet. You can make it gluten-free too, by skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent, and are best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely use that.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!