Mangoes – they are an absolute favorite in our home once they enter our kitchen, regardless of the final form they take! When I was a kid, I remember eating really ripe and sweet whole mangoes raw, without any cutting or cooking. Sure, they get messy, but you cannot beat that experience! Another favorite was raw mangoes cut lengthwise, marinated with a bit of chilli powder and salt – the kind they sell by the beach. Delicious and healthy street food!
One of my favorite dishes that my mom used to make was a sweet pachidi. Its not a salad, but its not a curry either, something in between. I gave in to the craving, and decided to make it for me and my brother Arun!
The main star in this dish is of course, a mango. It needs to be about half ripe and firm, and not completely raw or completely ripe, so that it does not break down when cooked.
In addition to the fruity sweetness from the Mango, Jaggery [cane sugar] adds sugary goodness to the pachidi. I boiled about 5 tablespoons of Jaggery in about 3/4 ths to a cup of water. Boil the Jaggery until it dissolves completely, strain the liquid to remove impurities, and keep in a separate container. I simply love how the jaggery looks in this picture – a good contrast between its color and the utensil it is in!
Now for the all important seasoning! Mustard, asafetida, curry leaves and a pinch of turmeric. Add mustard, curry leaves and asafoetida to about a tablespoon of oil and let the mustard splutter.
I like this dish especially for its combination of slight heat, tanginess and sweetness. A perfect combo for me! The heat for this dish comes from green chillies.
I used about 5 to 6 green chillies, slit lengthwise. You can add 3 or less if you need only very mild heat. Add the green chillies after the mustard starts spluttering, and just give it a toss. Add the mangoes next, and mix well. The green chilli in the picture below seems to have a character of its own, doesn’t it?
Then add the boiled Jaggery water to the mangoes, followed by turmeric, and a pinch of salt (not more than a pinch, or the dish will turn salty).
The mixture thickens with some more boiling, but if you add about a teaspoon of rice flour to the mixture, it thickens well. My mom always added about a tsp of coconut at the end, but I usually skip coconut and keep it simple. The end result is a tangy, sweet mango pachidi that goes well with rotis or rice. I never have needed a special occasion to prepare a sweet dish, or one with mango as an ingredient (:-) Enjoy the recipe and let me know how it turned out.