What a joyful memory this sweet pickle brings with it!! The very thought makes my mouth water. Unbelievably flavourful, perfectly well balanced sweet & sour, with just a hint of spice to tickle your taste buds. Pleasantly pungent yet sweet, and what’s best about it is -my childhood summers in a bottle!
Unlike other pickles / achars or murabbas (sweet pickles), this version is an anyone-can-make one, truly quick and effortless, that can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge without spoiling. Not to forget, you get to add an additional feather in your cap saying, “I TOO can make pickle”, an otherwise tedious and daunting task for many.
Methamba is a fresh pickle made with locally sourced, mildly sweet-mildly tart raw mangoes, simmered down with some local Kolhapuri rich brown jaggery and seasoned with a combination of robust Indian spices. The result is a glowing, rich saffron coloured, mildly syrupy condiment, a riot of flavours bursting in your mouth!! Did that taste sweet? Or sour? Some chilli too…mmm savoury! To be relished at every summer meal, goes best with plain dal-rice, curd rice, roti-sabzi or just by the spoonful as my daughter enjoys it!
I say childhood summers in a bottle simply because my maternal grandmother or ‘Pune Ajji’ as we fondly referred to her as, produced large quantities of it every summer when we children went to visit her. A jovial, welcoming and compassionate lady, she warmly welcomed everyone, be it friends, or relatives with annoying kids, all alike. She enjoyed having an open house and hence it was not surprising for us to meet a whole host of relatives from all corners of the world in her home each year.
A simple home cooked meal and a clean bed for the night is what she had, but extremely large-hearted she was, thinking little of her arthritis-ridden ankles & painful joints. Yes, though it had struck her in her early-thirties, it rarely impeded her busy social routine of Rummy club, bhajan & singing club, two kitty clubs as well as innumerable vociferous political discussions that she thoroughly enjoyed!! What a warm, loving & exuberant persona she had, always smiling and ever enthusiastic.
We all have our own treasure trove of memories, of many a summer well spent in the lap of nature, loads of mangoes & crazy company of cousins, what’s yours?
Recipe for Methamba – Marathi Sweet Sour Mango Pickle
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 500 gms Kairi (raw mango)
- 250gms jaggery / gud, chopped roughly (or as per your taste)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds / rai
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
- ½ teaspoon asafoetida / hing powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder / haldi powder
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or as per your taste
- Salt to taste
- Wash, thoroughly dry & peel the kairi. Cut into small size pieces.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottom saucepan / kadhai. Once hot, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
- Lower the flame, add methi seeds & stir until they darken (do not burn).
- Add hing powder & turmeric powder. Stir for a second.
- Add in the chopped raw mango pieces. Add red chili powder & salt. Mix well to combine.
- Cover and cook on medium heat until the fruit softens, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add jaggery and mix well. Cover & cook for another 3 minutes on medium heat.
- Check for salt & chilli powder & if adding more, cover and cook another 2 minutes.
- Your Methamba is ready to serve.
- You can store it in a clean, dry, air tight jar in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks.
- Do ensure to use only clean and dry teaspoons to serve.
- Avoid using fibrous varieties of raw mango for making this pickle.
- The quantity of jaggery directly depends on the variety of raw mango, with certain varieties being more sour than the other.
- Adjust the quantity of salt, jaggery and chilli powder to your taste.
- Do not add any water & cook the pickle on a low flame throughout to prevent burning.