Chethumaangakari

Childhood memories of the bright sunny days of Kerala summers come flooding back when I make this pickle. The taste of fresh, tart mangoes is simply divine. Chethumaangakari is a simple mango pickle with a short shelf life, but it is so tasty that there will be nothing left to store after a couple of days. It stays fresh for a week if refrigerated. During the summer months, it is always served at weddings and birthday feasts. If you like your food spicy, try it as a relish. It also pairs very well with Mexican and Southwestern dishes.

2 medium-sized firm green mangoes
Salt to taste
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ cup dried red cayenne, serrano, or Thai chili powder (less for a milder taste)
2 tablespoons fenugreek seeds, lightly toasted and powdered
¼ teaspoon asafetida powder (optional)
8 to 10 fresh curry leaves

Wash the mangoes, and cut them into small, thin slices. Sprinkle them with salt, and keep them covered as you assemble the other ingredients. In a skillet, heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the cayenne, fenugreek, asafetida, and curry leaves. Reduce the heat to low, add the salted mango pieces, and mix well. Remove from the stove, and let it cool. Store it in glass bottles in the refrigerator. It tastes best the second day, after the mango pieces have absorbed the spices. Reduce the amount of cayenne if you prefer a less spicy pickle.

Makes 2 to 2½ cups.

AMMINI RAMACHANDRAN