Avakkai Oourgai / Avakkai Mango Pickle

When I hear the word Avakkai, my mind races back to child hood. Mom is a specialist in making this pickle and she even has so many fans. Whenever someone makes pickle at home, the first comment would be that it is not so good as mom's. Avakkai is made with the raw mango which is rounder and has a thick shell inside. The worst thing about making this pickle is to cut the mango with the shell intact. I made it with 4 mangoes and I had severe ache in my hands for a day. But imagine, my mom used to cut at least 50-60 mangoes and she never complained. She used to make it in huge ceramic jars and whenever her sisters or brother visited home she used to send some with them. This pickle would last up to an year but in our house I don't think we allowed it to last. The procedure of making this pickle other than cutting the mangoes is quite simple. There is no cooking or heating involved. Just add mangoes and some spice powders along with salt, pour enough oil and mix. The mixing part could be a problem if you are using a huge number of mangoes. But as I made it with just 4 mangoes, it was easy breezy. And then every single day you need to mix it atleast once. This goes on for a week. Then you can store it in a ceramic jar and take a little for use now and then. Brown chickpeas are used in this pickle in raw form. So the pickle needs 20-30 days to get ready. We never had patience for 1 month so even the chickpeas are not ready, we used to eat it any way. This pickle goes very well with curd rice, sambar rice, dosas, chapathi etc. 

Mustard Seeds-1/2 cup
Red Chilly Powder-2/3 cup - 1 cup
Salt-1/3 cup
Sesame Oil-2 cups
Brown Chickpeas-2/3 cup

1. Wash and wipe the mangoes. Take care that there is not even a single drop of water in it.
2. Grind mustard seeds to a fine powder.
3. First cut the mango into 2 parts. Remove the seed inside but keep the shell intact.
4. Now cut each half into 2 equal pieces and then each quarter into 4-5 pieces.
5. After cutting all the mangoes, transfer to a plastic or ceramic container which has a tight lid. Do not use aluminium or stainless steel container for this.
6. Now add the chickpeas on top of the mangoes.
7. Add red chilly powder and mustard powder on top. 
8. Add salt and immediately add the oil. If the salt is left out for just a few minutes then the mangoes will start letting out water and the pickle will be damages. So add oil immediately.
9. Now with a long handled ladle, mix the pickle until everything is incorporated.
10. Cover and let it sit on counter.
11. Daily you need to mix the pickle and make sure it is immersed in oil.
12. Keep on doing this for 7-10 days.
13. Now the texture of the pickle will be very different from the first day. Even the chickpeas would have doubled in size.
14. Now transfer the pickle to a ceramic jar where you want to store it. 
15. Cover the jar with a clean piece of white cloth and secure it with a thread. 16. Now place the lid on the jar and place it in a cool and dry place.
16. Make sure that the pickle is immersed in oil.
17. Transfer a little pickle to another small jar for daily use. Do not take the pickle from the huge jar for daily use. 
18. Enjoy!!

These are the mangoes apt for the pickle.

Cut into two. There is a small seed inside. Remove it with a knife.

Now cut it into small pieces.

Transfer to a container. Add the chickpeas.

Add red chilly powder and mustard powder.

Add salt on top.

Immediately add oil and mix. The pickle may seem very oily. But do not worry. it will become a delicious pickle in 20 days.

See the next day the colour is different and the texture is also different.

Aftyer 7-10 days transfer to a ceramic jar and make it sure that the pickle is immersed in oil. Not even a single piece of mango should be above the oil.

Tie the jar with a clean piece of cloth.

Cover with lid and store it.

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