Raw mango in salt brine, known as upilitta manga are tender raw baby mangoes pickled in a salt solution to become crunchy and salty sweet. The tart, fruity fragrant, salty crisp bite of pickled mango goes very well with rice gruel or broken wheat porridge . Only raw mangoes are used for this recipe even a slight yellowing indicates ripening and it is unsuitable for pickling.
This quick fix method is most suitable for people who live far away from Kerala and have limited access to choose best variety of mangoes. When you have to buy only what's available in the grocery store and NO access to fresh from the tree. Please be aware that these store bought mangoes may rot or spoil with mold fast . The bad quality of mango, chemical treating for shelf life, old stock or blemishes should be taken into consideration.
This method is a fail proof, fast and easy pickling for using this uppu manga within 2 weeks of brining.
Putting mangoes in a simple salt brine may not work for all kinds of mangoes with thick peel. The use of vinegar helps in breaking down the tough skin. The sugar and salt combination is a age old practice for pickling as the hypertonic solution makes the mango loose its water content and shrink. The high concentration liquid then enters the fruit cell. Adding mangoes to boiling hot water is also plays an important role.it kills the bacteria and destroys any chance of mildew formation on the skin and breaking down the flesh without actually cooking the mangoes. Thus preserving the mangoes better.
Traditional Kerala Style tender mango pickled : History and produce procurement.
Putting raw mango in the salt brine is a practice at least a few centuries old in my family itself as we have those ceramic jars used at that time in my ancestral home and its used for the same purpose over the years.
- A lot of attention to detail is put while making pickled mango. The raw mango in salt brine and preserve it without any molds or mildew and these stay good up to a year or more in sealed jars.
- The mangoes are plucked at a certain stage when the fruit has formed juicy thick meat inside along with seed.
- The seed inside is not bigger than the size of a penny, soft and tender, salty sweet which adds to the flavor.
- Tart variety of mangoes (puliyan mango for kanni manga) are only used here. It has a strong mango fragrance and the stalk has a white sap, it has a distinct aroma. Hence the the fruit and stalk is never detached to keep the aromas intact.
- The plucking of mango from the tree with great care so it does not hit the ground and break. The shape being intact matters a lot so is the size once it shows signs of maturing raw mango goes into other dishes not for pickling.
Traditional Kerala Style raw mango in salt brine : Method
- The mangoes are washed well air dried then wiped with a muslin cloth with clean hands so is the jar.
- A ceramic jar called "bharani" is made use of for the pickle and copious rock salt is spread on a layer of mangoes. This step is alternated till around top of the jar.
- The mango releases its own juices and melts the salt and this forms the brine inside. No other pickling substance like vinegar was in use.
- Then ceramic or wooden lid is used. The mouth of the jar is sealed with a few layers of muslin cloth. Then it is tied tightly with a cloth twine. These sealed jars are then stored in a dark dry spot usually the storeroom or granary called ( pathaya pura) inside the house.
- The jar is opened only after a year.Usually there are several jars in varying stages of pickle maturing. This ensures the household never runs out of stock.
- The mangoes pickled right never rot or disintegrate or break down or melt away but stays intact and juicy inside.
- The store room would have other fruits kept for ripening. Like jackfruit different variety of mangoes, rice before husking kept to mature etc. A full granary view is a different feel, a labor of love and a sight to remember.
How to serve the salt brined mangoes :
These mangoes are salty sweet and it can be served (1-2 only)with porridge rice gruel or such liquid bland soups when no spice intake is allowed especially during sickness.
Serve with anything you would serve pickled cucumber such as salad, burgers or seafood or barbecues.
My favorite is a coarsely ground thick chutney served with rice and every day curries. ( Seen in below picture)
Other pickled vegetables I usually make at home :
Raw mango in salt brine
- 12-15 Mango Raw baby mango
- 3 tsp Salt Use rock salt powdered if available
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 5 Bird's eye chili Use more if you like spice
- 1/4 cup Vinegar Use rice vinegar (not synthetic )
- Rinse the mangoes well then wipe well to dry with a clean cloth.
- Arrange the mangoes and chillies in the bottle and give it a good shake for everything to settle down evenly inside.
- Bring a cup and a half of water to rolling boil. Depending on the number of mangoes and size of the bottle used for pickling.
- Add the salt, sugar and vinegar to the water, stir until the powders are dissolved then immediately switch off heat and pour into the bottle and close the lid tightly. Store this bottle in a cool dry place for two weeks. Then it is ready to use. The mango will be crunch but soft.
Do give this a try and let me know if you like this.