12 green mangoes
50 fresh chillies, green or ripe
750 ml/1 1/2 pints/3 cups malt vinegar
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
25 garlic cloves, peeled
125 g/4 oz fresh ginger root, sliced
60 g/2 oz ground cumin
60 g/2 oz ground coriander
1.25 litres/2 1/2 pints/5 cups mustard oil
or other vegetable oil
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fresh curry leaves
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon chilli powder, or to taste
salt to taste
Wash and dry mangoes well. Cut each lengthways into 6 or 8 sections, through the seed. Split chillies in half lengthways. Sprinkle mangoes and chillies with salt, spread out on a large, flat basket and leave to dry for 3 days in the sun (or use a cool oven or dehydrator).
Soak fenugreek seeds in a little vinegar overnight, then combine with garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander in an electric blender. Blend to a smooth purée, adding just enough vinegar to facilitate blending.
Heat the oil in a non-aluminium pan. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves, fennel seeds and nigella seeds. When mustard seeds stop popping stir in the turmeric, chilli powder and blended mixture. Fry, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Add salted mangoes, chillies and remaining vinegar. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the oil rises to the top and the spices smell fragrant. Add salt to taste, cool and bottle in sterile jars. There should be sufficient oil to cover the top of the pickle. Add more if necessary.
Cover with non-metallic lids and always use a dry spoon when taking pickle from the jar.
Note: Use 500 g (1 lb) dried mango instead of the fresh mangoes in this recipe and bypass the salting and drying process.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)