Mango discourse in the South Asian diaspora is focused almost entirely on nostalgia for varieties not available outside the home countries—a condition that leads some to overpay by some orders of magnitude for fruit flown in by small scale importers and distributed via ad hoc channels. I miss my mangos too—especially the langda, daseri and chausa—but I find this to be folly. Far better to embrace the good mangos that are available in the US—see the ataulfo, for example. And also to embrace the easily available unripe, green mango and all the excellent things that can be done with it: from Bengali kaancha aamer chatni to aam panna (the green mango drink that is as central to surviving South Asian summers as ripe mangos are as a reward) to Kerala-style curries to various pickles and chutneys. But then I understand that not everyone can be as tranquil and reasonable as me. Speaking of aam panna, this recipe is one I improvised this summer on a day when I boiled and mashed mangos for a batch of aam panna that would have been so large as to challenge even my ability to consume it over a couple of weeks. So I kept a third of it aside and made this versatile chutney that works great as a pickle (with dal and parathas/chapatis or rice), as a sandwich spread, and even as an accompaniment to cheese (like manchego, for example). And it’s very easy. You’re welcome.
Note: as with most of my jams and pickles this has not been ph tested for long term storage. I make a little at a time and finish it quickly. And I store it in the fridge.
- 2 large green mangos, total of 1 lb or so
- 1-1.5 cups sugar
- 1 tblspn extra hot chilli powder
- The following lightly toasted, cooled and ground to a coarse powder: 2 tspns cumin seeds,1/2 tspn fenugreek seeds
- 1 tblspn crushed ginger
- 1/4 tspn hing/asafoetida
- 1/2 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Boil the mangos till soft, drain and set aside to cool.
- Once the mangos have cooled, peel them, remove the seed and scrape out as much of the soft pulp as you can, making sure to scrape it out of the peel and off the seed as well. Place the scraped pulp in a large bowl and crush with a fork or potato masher as necessary.
- Add all the other ingredients, stir and wait for a thick syrup to form.
- Add the contents of the bowl to a large skillet, bring to a boil, reduce to a high simmer and hold, stirring often to prevent sticking, till at your desired consistency. Taste as you go, adjusting salt as necessary.
- Spoon into jar(s), let cool, cap and use within a month or two.
- The amount of sugar is a bit vague as really it depends on what you want the balance of sweet and tart to be. And also keep in mind that unripe mangos can be of varying degrees of tartness. Taste and adjust to your preference.
- Similarly you can adjust the amount and heat of chilli powder and also how much you add of the other masalas. Add them a bit at a time and taste as you go.
- You do want to thicken it somewhat as you cook it but the final consistency is really up to you—I like to make it thick; runnier would be fine too. The mango is already cooked before you start simmering it with the spices; so the important thing is tasting as you go. Stop when you have it where you like it.
- This ends up very close to a stove-top or quick method of making the Gujarati chhundo or chunda, though considerably hotter and considerably less sweet. The other important difference is that for chhundo the mango is typically grated and is cooked raw with the sugar. Plus there’s typically no ginger in chhundo, I don’t think.