I made avakaya you guys! I mean I was never a pickle or papad person and this summer, because I have the time and resources I did both.
We had crazy winds one day last week and about 20 small raw mangoes fell from the trees and I was so sad. I have so far made Maanga Kari and Mango Thokku (which I highly recommend) but had not yet attempted the mother of all Telugu pickles – Avakaya.
I love a good challenge and I kid you not this was not as difficult as it is made out to be.
Every year, the mother of a friend of mine, makes avakaya for me. It is a tradition of over 15 years now and she does a fabulous job. I send pickle to over 15 people across the country and she also looks forward to my order because of the quantity. I also get pickles from friends. It is a very Indian thing to exchange pickles amongst friends and family.
Anyway, there is only so much instant pickle and raw mango rice and kairi ka panha that I could drink to preserve the produce and I wanted to try avakaya. I browsed through some recipes and decided to wing it. This I can tell you is the single most un intimidating recipe you can follow.
Use the sour pickle variant, it lasts longer. I just used what fell from our trees and so each mango may be a different variety.Soak the mangoes in water for an hour, scrub off any debris or sap, dry them with a clean towel and lay them on a cloth in a safe place (I have dogs that like to sniff everything!) to air dry a couple of hours. Make sure everything used is completely free of moisture.Chop them into large cubes and remove just the seed, not the core attached to the flesh of the mango.
Avakaya (Makes 1-1.5 kilos)6 cups Large cubes of raw mango3/4 cup rock salt, ground to a powder1-1.5 cup red chilli powder (adjust as per your spice tolerance)1 cup mustard powder1 cup peeled garlic pods2 cups gingely (sesame) oilHeat the oil and cool it to room temperature. Mix all of the ingredients together in a clean, dry glass container. Can also add upto 1 cup of peeled garlic, tastes wonderful, I didnt have it so may add later.
Let it stand covered for a day at least. Enjoy with fresh hot rice and a blob of ghee.