‘Mangakarri’, or better called manga or mango curry is a ubiquitous item in all Indian kitchens once the Mango season starts. I know this, because, all my friends, from any part of India claim to have their own versions of gravy for both raw and ripe mangoes. It was never a surprise to know that there would be variations all over India, but this one is very special.
In Kerala, we usually use both the raw and ripe mangoes in gravies and pickles; although raw is usually reserved for pickles and also as a tenderizer or to add sourness in other gravies, ripe ones are made into sweet gravies.
In my part of Kerala, ‘Mangakarri’ means just one thing, teary-eye spicy and finger-licking yummy pickles made of big, raw mangoes, cut into small perfect cubes. These are sufficient enough to gobble down a plate of huge brown rice (Kerala Matta), no one would care for any other gravy to go with it. But, eating this alone with rice every single day, seemed too much far-fetched, even if it came from my no-fuss, foodie hubby. When we had this conversation, mango season had long gone, so I just got him a bottle of mango pickle. He was not particularly excited, but I attributed it to the lack of a home-made pickle. Soon, I had realized that I can never imagine to even reach his expectation of a home-made pickle; MIL is the certified best pickle maker in their whole town.
Few months later, at his aunt’s house, I had an amazing curry with rice. The spiciness, sweetness, sourness and richness; it was a deadly combo. Finger-licking me, sheepishly asked for more of the yellow curry. That was when my hubby had decided to notice that there were many other things around him, other than his food. With disbelief, he corrected me, not ‘yellow curry’, but ‘Mangakarri’. OMG!!! I just could not believe it; this was his favourite ‘Mangakarri’. I could not believe it; my humble pickle was nothing before this majestic gravy. Every one of his family were shocked, they could not believe that someone had never ever heard or tasted this heavenly dish. They told me that htis dish is originally from few areas that fall along the borders of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts of Kerala.
So, I rest my case, marry out of your caste, community, religion, or region to experience the best of gastronomic fares. And if you are family, you’ll also get to know some serious secret tips 😉
1/2 kg raw mango, de-seeded and cubed, 5-6 shallots sliced length-wise, 1 small-sized onion sliced length-wise, 2 tbsp chilli powder, 1 tbsp turmeric powder 1 tbsp corriander powder, 1 tsp salt and 1-2tbsp vinegar.
Mix all of these well with hand (I can’t stand the heat of chillies, so I use a ladle) in a mud pot and keep covered for 30-45 minutes
Heat coconut oil in a wok or clay pot. Once hot, add 2-3 big onions sliced length-wise, 3-6 green chillies sliced length-wise, 4-6 cloves of garlic and 1 inch ginger julienned, a twig or two of curry leaves and once the raw smell goes, add 1tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tbsp corriander powder, and fry again. To this add the marinated mango, thin coconut milk (350 mL), cover the vessel and cook on low flame.
The mango would have been well cooked in 10-12 minutes, open the cover and add thin coconut milk or water, if more gravy is needed, and let it boil well, again. Once done, add thick coconut milk (250-350mL – depending on volume of gravy desired), mix the ingredients well and switch off flame.
Add coconut oil in a wok, and splutter mustard, fenugreek (uluva), 10-12 sliced shallots, 4-5 broken big red chillies, 1 tsp turmeric and few curry leaves. Add this to the gravy. Add a few more curry leaves and drizzle some more coconut oil on top, if desired.
This can be served with Rice, Apam, Idiyappam,Pathiri, Chappathi, Bread, Bun etc. The gravy thickens on cooling. Once cooled, can be stored in fridge for up to 4 days easily.