When life gives you unripe green mangoes, it would be rude not to make an easy green mango pickle. Now I am a firm believer in leaving it to the experts when it comes to pickling, but there is something very satisfying about watching fruits and vegetables soften in a sunlit bath of oil and spices. It’s even more satisfying to serve it and savour it when the pickle is ready. There are several ways to make pickle. Choose a sunny week if the weather allows for maximum sun warmth, but if not, keep the pickle in a warm and dark place indoor. The two most important things to remember are to steer clear of any form of moisture and to ensure the highest levels of hygiene – so definitely no double dipping! Mustard oil is excellent for fermenting. If you live abroad don’t be put off by the warning labels on mustard oil bottles – the scientific evidence behind the labels is inconclusive and mustard oil is used widely in India. I've documented the step-by-step recipe in pictures here if you're interested.
Wash and thoroughly dry the mangoes with clean kitchen towels. If you have small ones, you can cut them in half, or you can dice them into small cubes leaving the skin on. Line a plate with kitchen roll; place the mangoes on top and sprinkle over the chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Leave this to dry out on a sunny windowsill.
While it’s sitting, wash the jar and lid well and dry with a clean kitchen towel. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees centigrade and place the jar and lid in there to dry completely – this takes a good 10 minutes. If you’re using a Kilner jar, make sure you remove the rubber seal first – give this a boil in water and again, dry thoroughly.
Now, bring the mustard oil to hot and then toss in the asafoetida, the mustard seeds, fennel and fenugreek sizzling them for a few seconds before turning the heat off and leaving to cool.
Next, tip the mango pieces with their spices into the clean jar. Pour in the mustard oil with its spices into the jar, topping up with the sunflower oil. Press the mango pieces down with a clean spoon to submerge them into the oil, and then top with more mustard oil until the pieces are submerged.
Cover the top of the jar with cling film to make it air tight and prevent spillages, then stick the lid on. Leave this to sit on a warm sunny windowsill during the day, giving it a shake daily to ensure the contents don’t dry out, and then moving it to a warm place indoors overnight (near the radiator, in the boiler or airing cupboard). On day three, carefully open the jar, stir through the contents with a clean dry spoon adding more salt to your taste. Then reseal with fresh cling film and the lid, and continue the daily shaking. Stir and taste again on day six.
On day seven, your pickle is ready. Give the pickle a good stir with a clean and dry spoon, put the lid on and stick the jar in the fridge and enjoy your easy green mango pickle for days to come.
Note: You’re better off making a few small jars of pickle than one large one to prevent it going fusty. Also, this pickle is mild, if you fancy something spicier, replace one tablespoon of the Kashmiri Chilli Powder with Hot Chilli Powder.