Mangoes are definitely the silver lining of the Northern Indian summers. Unlike in some southern Indian states (and further east of India) where mangoes are available year round, in Delhi we have access to both green and ripe mangoes only through the summer. Or, maybe, I should say that we have seasons other than summer and therefore, our fruits and vegetables change as the seasons roll! Another silver lining of living in the heat and dust bowl that is the North India Plain!
The superior pickling mangoes, such as Ramkela, arrive after the first monsoon showers. Evey year I make batches of mango pickles though the quantities I now make are more proportionate to the moderate amounts we consume. Amongst the mango pickles I make is the Punjabi kind to which I sometimes add karonde and chickpeas. The Andhra-style mango pickle with garlic and loads of chillies is a favourite of ours, especially the son and I; it makes a great combination with besan-paranthas. Since the last few years I have also started making Shilpa’s (actualy, Varada’s!) konkani-style shredded mango pickle. At the start of mango season, I also make a quick pickle from the fallen Amrapali mangoes in my mom’s backyard using my own pickling spice mix, or, sometimes, the K-Pra brand amba lonche spice mix from Maharashtra.
There is still some time for the pickling mangoes to arrive in the market. The green mangoes that are available right now are great for grinding into everyday mint-coriander chutneys, made into panna, the refreshing, minty, summer cooler drink, or cooked into sweet-sour chutneys/relishes that have a long shelf-life. Inspired by this tomato relish (with the markets full of lovely summer tomatoes it’s time to make this one too!) I tried a green mango relish, a tad spicier than the common nigella-flavoured mango chutney that is very common in Punjab and UP homes.
Aam ki chutney
Green Mango Relish
Prepare the mango as shown above. In a non-reactive pan heat the small amount of oil. Add kalonji and wait a few seconds before adding the sliced mango pieces and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer mangoes till they are tender but not cooked to a mush. Add sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved add the red chilli flakes, and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cook till the chutney has thickened and is no longer syrupy, about 10-15 minutes. It will thicken further as it cools. Transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate.
The recipe can easily be scaled up. In fact, it is better to make a larger batch; this recipe makes barely 6-8 servings. I served it with shukto and it was gone within the day! I like it hot and loved the amount of heat in this. If you use less chilli, the colour will be much paler – yellow rather than red. Since this is a cooked chutney with a good amount of sugar, I would think it should keep well refrigerated. I am planning to make a few extra bottles next time to share with my mom and sister.