Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pickles from Andhra (ఆంధ్ర ఊరగాయలు)-2


I am giving the traditional recipes of the Mango pickle from various regions of Andhra Pradesh. Please read Part I of this post here: 

Now for the recipes....Here we go.... 

Preparing the Mango before pickling...
  1. Choose dark green firm mangoes and very sour to taste. 
  2. If they have long stalks, cut them and place them upside down on a plate or a vessel so that the sap completely runs down and dries off. This sap produces itchy sensation and irritation when comes in contact with our skin. 
  3. Then wash them thoroughly, wipe it clean with out any trace of moisture and leave them for an hour or two till they are dry. 
  4. Or just wipe them well with a damp cloth and then with a dry cloth. But ensure that there is no moisture on them. 
  5. Mangoes have a very hard "stone" inside. This stone consists of a hard shell on the out side and the seed inside known as Jeedi(జీడి) in Telugu. 
  6. The mangoes have to be cut through the stone inside into eight to ten pieces depending on the size of the piece you want. The pieces should not be too big or too small. 
  7. A special type of cutter is used for this. Without this cutter it is difficult to cut the mangoes especially when you have to pickle a large number. Usually in India where we buy the mangoes in the market, people with these cutters cut the mangoes for some money. 
  8. Each piece should have the hard covering of the stone. Without this, the pickle cannot be preserved for long. Remove the seed and a thin film like skin sticking on the inside of the shell. 
  9. Pick and keep aside all those pieces which do not have the shell attached to them. They can be used for making chutneys (will give the recipes separately). However these cannot be preserved for more than a week or so. 
  10. Keep all other ingredients ready so that the pickle can be made on the same day the mangoes are brought home. If not made immediately, they become soft. 

This is the special cutter used for cutting mangoes. The knife is joined at one end and very heavy and sharp. 
This is before cleaning the pieces and removing the seeds.
This is how the seed and the thin layer inside the shell are removed before pickling.
This is after cleaning the pieces. I could not clean the fruit before cutting. Any way it was better this way.
These are the ones without the shell, so separated for making chutney. They cannot be pickled.

1. Aavakaya ( आम का आचार- ఆవకాయ) 

The first one is the simple Aavakaya. Aava means mustard, kaya means fruit -raw one- here mango. So the main ingredient here is the Mustard powder.

This is the mustard Powder(पीसा हुवा राई - ఆవ పొడి)


Raw Mangoes (Big)  15 
Mustard Powder     1Kg 
Red Chilli Powder   1Kg 
(Guntur variety is very hot/spicy and has a good red colour. I prefer that.) 
Salt 1Kg 
Sesame Oil (Gingelly Oil) 1 and1/2 KG 
Turmeric powder 2-3 fistfuls 
Fenugreek Seeds a fistful 
White vinegar one fourth to half litre (optional) 


1. Quantities of Mustard, Red Chilli powder and salt are usually taken in equal quantities. One can vary the ratio according to taste. But this also depends on the sourness of the mangoes and also the size and quantities of the mangoes. Some people want more mango pieces than the spice mixture. In that case, the quantity of spices can be reduced to 750 gms or 500 gms each instead of one Kg. 

2. In addition to the above, I also add 500 gms red chilli powder of the variety (like Kashmir Chillies, Bhadrachalam or other such varieties) which give a very red colour to the pickle but not at all spicy or hot. This colour is maintained through out the year. 

3. Now take the three powders in a big plate or a vessel wide enough for us to mix them freely. Now mix them well with both hands. add fenugreek seeds and turmeric powder and mix well again. 

4. Add a little oil (use around 250 gms to 500 gms and keep the rest aside) at a time to this spice mixture, and mix well until the mixture is wet with oil. 

5. Now add the mango pieces few at a time. Roll them in the mixture until they are well coated. 

6. In a ceramic Jar, first put a thin layer of the spice mixture, then put some pieces as prepared in 5 above. Again put a layer of mixture, then the pieces alternately until all the pieces are done. 

7. Cover the jar with the lid and leave for three to four days. 

8. By this time the mango pieces will marinate in the spice mixture and the spice mixture will be more slushy. 

9. Now take the entire pickle into a plate and mix well thoroughly. Taste it, and add salt or other spices according to your requirement. 

10. Add vinegar (optional) and mix well. Vinegar helps in preserving the pickle, retaining the colour as well as keeps the mango pieces very crisp for a long time almost the entire year. Strictly speaking traditionally vinegar is not added by us South Indians. But as I have experimented with it, I find it very helpful. Though vinegar is acidic in taste, its taste is not at all noticeable in this pickle. So one need not fear in adding it. 

11. Now put it back in the jar and pour the entire quantity of oil over it. It is ready for use though it will take few more days for the spices to sink into the pieces and blend in. Cover the top of the jar with a clean muslin cloth and tie it around the neck with a string. 

12. The quantity required for daily use can be kept separately in small jars. use a dry spoon when ever the pickle has to be taken out from the main jar. 

Here are the pictures....

Colourful spices, ready to go....
Mixing in a little of oil...
Coating the pieces with spicy mixture few at a time...
Storing in the jar...
This is the final product after mixing in the oil and vinegar...
For daily use......

2. Chick Pea Aavakaya ( चनेवाला आम का आचार - శెనగల ఆవకాయ) 

Here all the ingredients and the process is as above. Only thing is Chick peas are added to the spice mixture. Chick peas or Bengal gram is known as Chana in Hindi and Senagalu in Telugu. Around a cup of the gram may be added.

But use the small variety known as Desi chana not the big ones known as Kabuli or Mumbai chana. 

3. Green Lentil Aavakaya (मूँग वाला आम का आचार - పెసర ఆవకాయ) 

Here the main ingredient is the Green gram-but split and husked or skin removed. Split and cleaned Green lentil is known as Dhuli huvi Moong dal in Hindi and Peara Pappu in Telugu. The lentil should be cleaned and kept in hot Sun for an hour or two and then powdered. This is much more tastier than the usual Avakaya and less spicy. 

Split and husked Green Lentil(gram) ( मूँग दाल - పెసర పప్పు)
  • All the ingredients mentioned in Aavakaya (sl no 1) remain the same. 
  • The only difference is mustard powder is substituted by same quantity of Lentil powder. 
  • Two Tbsps to Half cup of Mustard powder may be added if you feel so. Strictly speaking it is not required but some add it. 
  • Fenugreek seeds are not added. But some of my friends said that they add 2 Tbsps of roasted Fenugreek powder. 

Many more Recipes on Pickles in my next posts....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pickling Season

Fiends I  am  sorry I could not post earlier as my net had a problem and it took me so long to fix it.....At last I have completed the first step in pickling of Mangoes as I was rather forced to do so by the season coming to an end and also by Typhoon Laila. :) :) 

Here is a preview...
Its fiery hot but yummy..Yes I could not resist tasting it even though it has to marinate for five to six days.....

Today I will complete the next  step. So I will post various recipes of the Mango Pickles. Keep a watch on my blog.....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pickles from Andhra -1 (ఆంధ్ర ఊరగాయలు )

Before Pickling-The Basics

I think that Pickling began with the idea of storing or preserving the seasonal fruits and vegetables. Nature bestows us with various fruits and vegetables and other food stuffs which grow in that season. But if one wants to eat it even after the season what better way than preserving by some means. Moreover by preserving them, they could be carried on travels which could take long hours or days in those olden days. So many experiments, trial and error methods might have gone into these preservation methods, generation after generation.Today perhaps, all most all the vegetables or fruits can be preserved in one way or another. 

There are many home made methods of preserving say potting, jugging, burying, canning, drying, jellying, fermentation, smoking, salting or curing and sugaring, etc. One of the methods of preservations popular across the world is Pickling. Even in Pickling there are many methods like:
  • Dry : Baking, barbecuing, broiling, grilling, hot salt frying, hot sand frying, roasting, etc
  • Water-based: Blanching, boiling, coddling, creaming, steaming, double steaming, parboiling, poaching, simmering, stewing, etc. 
  • Fat-based : Browning, deep frying, frying, pan frying, stir frying, etc. 
  • Device-based : Cooking using clay pot, microwaving, pressure cooking, etc 
The most basic ingredients used as preservatives in pickling are salt, oil, vinegar, turmeric etc.
Each country or region or area have their own methods handed down over generations. Historically speaking, Indians knew pickling as early as Vedic times. The process might have changed, improved over the vast time period. Countries like India have been lucky to have influences of various cultures, people from different regions, not only on our culture but also over our cuisines. 

India is well known for its pickles. There is a variety of vegetables and fruits that are pickled through out the year that we Indian women are making pickles of something or the other all the year round. No meal is complete with out at least one or two varieties of pickles. Especially the feasts served in marriages, religious functions or on any important occasions, its a must that a pickle is served. 

The method of making pickles and the ingredients used differ from State to State, area to area and region to region within the State. It differs from family to family. It also depends upon the season. For example in winter it is time for tomatoes, lemons, other citrus fruits, tamarind, red chillies etc.

These days pickles are made out of prawns, other such sea foods and and non veg food items. Now in the summer it is time for the famous Andhra Aavakaya (ఆంధ్ర ఆవకాయ ) or the Mango Pickle. Even within my State of Andhra though the basic ingredients remain the same, some additional ingredients differ depending upon the regions of Coastal Andhra, Andhra, Rayalseema and Telangana, giving a different taste or flavour to the pickle. 

Our pickles are so tasty and popular that it is generating livelihood for many families who are engaged in producing these pickles and selling them not only within our country but also exporting them.

Over the years I have collected these recipes from my grandmothers, my mother and also my friends. They are the traditional methods of preparations guaranteed to give the best taste. I have been using therm for the past few years now. Many of my friends wanted to know about these. So here I am. I will start with Mango pickle since it is the season now. Later on I will also post recipes of the other Pickles.

Before Pickling
  • Use the best or finest ingredients as the pickle has to be preserved for at least an year. 
  • Choose good quality mangoes used for pickling. Remember that only few varieties can be used for pickling. The varieties that can be used for pickling from Andhra are: Banginipalli (బంగీనపల్లి ) or Benishan, Jalaalu (జలాలు ), Chinna Rasaalu (చిన్న రసాలు ), Pedda Rasaalu (పెద్ద రసాలు), Neelam (నీలం) etc. 
  • The Mangoes should be hard, fibrous, well formed with well formed stone inside i.e., nearing the ripening stage but not ripened, green in colour without any cuts or blemishes. The fruits should have been freshly picked. It is better to avoid those fruits which have fallen from the trees due to hail storms or winds or other wise and are battered. 
  • The fruit should have green outer skin with firm hard flesh. Never use those which are ripening, i.e yellow in colour or with yellow patches. 
  • They should be crunchy and very sour. 
  • I prefer to buy the cayenne peppers, mustard seeds and other ingredients, clean them, sun them in the hot sun for two or three days and powder them. These days all these are available in the market and even the entire mix for the pickle is also available. Go for the best brands. But, the real challenge is in preparing freshly and mixing the spices as per our own requirements. 
  • The cayenne peppers and mustards seeds and other spices once powdered should be used at the earliest, especially the mustard powder. 
  • Cayenne peppers (or the powder used) should be dark red in colour. 
  • Most people use the smaller variety of mustard seeds for pickling. I prefer the larger one as it is less pungent and more gentle on our tongues and stomachs :) :). 
  • Salt is the most important condiment used for preserving the pickle. So its quantity should be carefully measured out and used. If used more, it will ruin the pickle, if used less, the pickle will not keep for long. 
  • Dont use Table Salt or Iodised Salt. Those are purified ones and will not preserve the pickle. Use the  Common (crystallised) salt (రాళ్ళ ఉప్పు) after powdering or powdered common salt is available in the shops for pickling purposes. 
  • Similarly, the oil used is also very important. Most North and Eastern Indians use Mustard oil. We in Andhra use, Sesame oil. The cold pressed sesame oil or the oil produced from unrefined sesame is best, as it is tasty and nutritious when compared with refined oil. The quantity of oil also plays an important role in preserving the pickle. 
  • All the utensils or tools used for pickling like the plates or vessels used for mixing and the ones used storing, spoons etc should be cleaned thoroughly, wiped and sunned to remove moisture completely. 
  • Its always better to use glass or ceramic ware for mixing or storing of pickles. Plastic and metals should be avoided at least for storing pickles.
  • Pickles are generally stored in huge Jars or Jadis, closed tightly with the lids and then a muslin cloth is tied on the top to avoid any moisture. Small quantities for daily use are kept in small serving jars or glass bottles 
These are the Banginapalli or Benishan variety from my garden (last year). They are very sour to taste. However these are a bit ripened and cannot be used for Avakaya Pickle. 
These are the Ceramic jars used for storing little quantities and for serving on the table.
This is ceramic -we call then Jadi (జాడీ)- may be taken from Jar?
Ceramic Jars, glass bottles can be used for storing pickles for an year or two.

I prefer to buy the spices, clean them, dry in the Sun for two or three days and then powder them. This way I can have the best quality within my budget and the most important thing avoid any adulteration. But it involves some hard work and some time.

In my next posts I will give you the Recipes...So keep watching...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hello Friends

I missed all my friends. Being away for the past two weeks, was difficult and very strenuous too. I could not keep in touch with you all. Now that I am back I will try to post as many recipes as possible. Many of my friends have asked for recipes of pickles, coolers to quest thirst and food that can be eaten during these hot summer days and so on...I will try my best. Some of my friends have asked for beauty related tips. I will post on beauty and health related issues too...Keep watching my blog....