Friday, April 6, 2012

Kaduku Mango (mango pickle)

I love tradition when it comes to food. I grew up in a strictly orthodox household were many rituals where followed especially during Passion Week. Though I don't follow it much in the same way now, I do like many of the food and ceremony that surround these holidays and occasions.

The week of Passion is one such occasion where much customary tradition is observed. The week ends with Good Friday commemorated in a 3-5 hour church service. The extended schedule is completed with a meal that has become synonymous with Good Friday for those households recognized as Syrian Christian. Kanji (rice gruel or soup) is served only to be enlivened with an array of vegetable/ pulse side  dishes and topped with the tastiest pickled mango. It is the ultimate accompaniment to the piping hot bowl of rice porridge. 

I want to share this highly favored pickled mango recipe that stands out as a known accompanying staple, not only for that Friday, but for many a rice eater and mango lover. Kaduku mango (mustard seeded mango?) is a tangy and a sweetly tart pickled mango curry. Since it doesn't go under an extended brining process, the pickle has a short shelf life. Less brine action means the mangoes retain a fresh, crisp texture .   

Everyone who makes it  to that day long observance  would also make it a point to have (at the very least) one serving of this much- awaited- only- meal- of- the day. Admittedly, my husband 's cue to show up would usually be towards the end of the long day to down an amply topped kanji with his favorite mango pickle. That, together with my mother-in-law's additional, can't- be- beat kaduku mango rendition would be his childhood  Good Friday "tradition".

(loosely adapted from Mrs. B.F. Varughese recipes) 
  •  2 (unripe) mangoes, diced small (with the green skin)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • *2 tbsp sesame oil, otherwise known as gingelly oil
  • 1tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • curry leaves, a few (optional)
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced 
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 serrano(green chili), diced into rings
  • *1 tbsp chili powder
  • *1 pinch of asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • additional salt if needed
Though I must admit, it's great with the rice and gruel and not limited to making only on Good Friday, I've had it as a toast topper, or mixed with yogurt as a dipper for appetizers, all is good.

  • Dice the mango into small pieces. Mix with salt and keep aside for a couple of hours or overnight.
  • Heat oil over medium high heat.
  • In a dutch oven or deep sided pan, temper mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Wait  a few seconds for seeds to crack and jump (use a pan shield so the seeds don't  pop all over the place).
  • Throw in  the garlic, ginger and cut serranos, saute for  minute or two.
  • Lower the flame, stir in chili powder/ cayenne, saute for a minute till you get the smell of the powders roasting . 
  • Stir in asafoetida and take off heat.
  • Combine well the salted mango pieces into this masala  mix. 
  • Pour in the vinegar and stir
  • Store in a airtight jar or container.
Gingelly oil is a cooking oil derived from sesame seeds. It is lighter in color compared to  the roasted sesame oil which is used as a condiment in Chinese cooking. Substitute with any cooking oil if you can't find it.
On chili powder- refer to the notes section here on Indian chili powder.
Asafoetida is a crucial ingredient in Indian cooking. It is pungent in smell and taste and only small amounts are needed to achieve a unique flavor to dishes. It's a known condiment used in Indian pickles.

Of course, Good Friday means so much more to JZ (don't want to call him hubster anymore) and myself today. While, I love many customs that surround this widely observed day, I can't but help remember and be ever thankful for the selfless, sacrificial love that echoes behind it and the freeing miracle it turns out to be.


  1. I don't think I've come across a dish quite like this, and I would love to give your recipe a try! The seasoning looks awesome, and mangoes are always welcome by me. I just tried a champagne mango for the first time yesterday - didn't know they existed until recently...they're super sweet and enjoyable!

  2. Hi Julia! We get a lot of the champagne mangoes here too, they are actually of the variety called ataulfo...sometimes labeled that way too, very good nonetheless. I use unripe mangoes in this recipe..let me know when you try- thanks for the encouragement, friend.

  3. Hi Tisa! After seeing your pics I can almost taste that pickle in my mouth-tart and spicy and totally yummy-just the way I remember it as a child growing up back home:) reading your blog today was like a walk down memory lane:) God Bless the work of your hands!

  4. Thank you for the compliments and the blessings,Shamita...yes, memory lane indeed. I'm thinking this is our Shamita in TX, I can't tell though without the id :) Blessings to you!

  5. just reminded me of my school lunch box... mouthwatering and nostalgic

  6. Thank up Reshmi, I know,right, I am so a fan of plain rice and mango pickle..regards :)


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