Saturday, June 27, 2009

Recipe: Manga Kootan

Raw mangoes are used for preparing tasty gravy dishes to be mixed with rice. The raw mangoes provide the tanginess which is a must for any south Indian gravy dish. The Malayalam saying goes, ”Aaru maasam marapuli, aaru maasam manga puli,” which means for 6 months in a year one uses tamarind and the remaining 6 months one uses the tangy mangoes. This dish can be prepared with tangy raw mangoes and also with just ripening (a little sweetish) mangoes. This is an important dish on Vishu day as the Vellarikkaya from the Vishukani is used in making this dish. Though I have mentioned this dish many times in my blog I have not given the recipe yet. Here we go.

Raw Mango: 1 (Big)
Drum sticks: 2
Kani Vellarikaya or Ash gourd : 200gms.
Sour curds: ½ cup
Coconut: 1 cup
Green chillies: 3
Red chillies: 3
Methi seeds 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp.
Jaggery: a small piece
Salt to taste
Oil 2 tsp.
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp.
Curry leaves: a few sprigs.

Heat ½ tsp of oil. Add ½ tsp of methi seeds and 2 red chillies cut into pieces. When the methi seeds turn reddish, remove from heat. Cool and grind with coconut and green chillies. Use beaten curds to grind the coconut to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Cut the mango into big chunks. Cut the ash gourd into 1” squares. Cut the drum stick into 2” pieces. Cook the vegetables in enough water with turmeric powder and salt. When the vegetables are cooked add a small piece of jaggery (This will balance the tanginess of the mangoes). Mix the ground paste in the remaining curds and add to the cooked vegetables and boil. Remove from heat. Add a few curry leaves.

Heat the remaining oil in a kadhai. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, remaining methi seeds and 1 red chilli cut into small bits. When the mustard crackles, add the curry leaves and pour the tempering into the manga koottan.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recipe: Manga Curry

This is a pickle which is made in small quantities more often during the mango season as this pickle does not keep well for long. Whenever a fresh lot of mangoes is brought home, one bottle of manga curry is made which will soon disappear.

Big raw mango cut into tiny pieces: 5 measures
Salt powder: 1 measure
Chilli powder: 1 measure
Hing: a small piece
Methi seeds: 1 tsp.
Gingelly oil: 1 tbsp.
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp.

Heat ½ tsp of oil and fry the hing and methi seeds. Cool and powder.
Wash and dry the mangoes and cut into small pieces. Add the salt, chilli powder, and the methi and hing powder. Mix well. Heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add to the pickle. This will be ready to use in 2 hours. This pickle will keep fresh longer under refrigeration.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Recipe: Manga Chammandi/Mango Chutney

Chammandi is Malayalam for chutney. Once the mango season arrives, every other day we have manga chammandi. As I mentioned earlier it was either mango koottan or chakka kari or chakka molakoottal and manga chammandi. This is a delicious chutney and goes well with plain rice, idli, dosa, or chapatti. It is the best side dish for any type of molakoottal.


Raw mango: 1 no.
Grated Coconut: 1 cup
Urad dal: 1 tsp.
Red chillies: 2 or 3 nos.
Hing powder: ¼ tsp.
Jaggery: a small piece
Salt to taste.
Curry leaves: few
Coconut oil for seasoning.

Cut the mangoes into small pieces. Heat ½ tsp of oil in a pan and add the hing and urad dal and red chillies and fry till the urad dal turns pink in color. Cool. Grind the mangoes, coconut, fried spices, curry leaves, salt and jaggery to chutney consistency. The moisture for grinding will come from the raw mangoes. This is thick chutney and hence, add only very little water during grinding if required. Serve seasoned with 1 tsp of coconut oil.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recipe: Kadugumanga, Kannimanga

I hope to give all the recipes of the mango preparations listed in my previous post. We shall start with Kadugumanga and Kannimanga. Kadugumanga is the favorite pickle of all Keralites. It is also healthy as it is an oil free pickle which keeps well for up to 2 years.

While we were strolling inside the colony where we live, I noticed that the mango tree in the next compound had lots of small mangoes. Now this house had been lying vacant for more than a year and nobody ever goes near this house. That is when I remembered the mangoes my son’s assistant had brought for Aavakkaya last year. I called him and asked him to get me some small mangoes from the same tree. He came back and said, “mummyji, they are too tiny.” I asked him to bring them all the same. He just could not understand what I would do with such tiny mangoes. He brought a handful of small mangoes and said apologetically, “they are too small, mummyji.” I jumped at the correct size of mangoes for kadugumanga, which I have not prepared for quite sometime now and asked him to bring more. The next day he brought more of them and I got into kadugumanga preparation. Though it is a strenuous job, years of watching my mother and grandma preparing kadugumanga at home in huge quantities helped. When the mango season arrived there was a festival atmosphere at home, especially for children. Since these would be the season’s earliest mangoes, we would go on eating although they were very acidic and our teeth would become so sensitive we were unable to eat anything else for a few days afterwards. These fresh mangoes also secrete a resin where it is attached to the stalk and this burns the corners of the mouth if the mangoes are not washed properly before eating and many children would sport this scar at the corners of their mouth. Since there was no powdered salt available those days, salt for the pickle was prepared by boiling crystallized salt in large quantities of water and straining the solution to remove the impurities and then evaporating the solution to get salt grains. Chilli powder was prepared at home. The maid pounded them in the stone mortar in a separate building in our yard called Rendankattu or second part of the house which was a little away from the main house and also housed the cattle. We children were not allowed to go there when chilli was pounded as the pungent chilli dust would burn the skin. Still we managed to peep in to see the blood red chilli powder. “Get away children,” the maid would shout at us. The maid would get one cup full of gingelly oil for an oil bath after this task to remove the effects of all the chilli dust she had to suffer.

Kadugumanga and Kannimanga are the earliest preparations one can make at the start of the season. The mangoes should have just come out of the blossoms and started taking shape. They could be as tiny as one can possibly get. Kadugumanga and Kannimanga are listed together because the initial process for both preparations is done together. To make it easy, I am giving below the measurements by volume. Once the ingredients are assembled the process itself is very easy. At home kadugumanga was prepared in large porcelain jars as the quantity of kadugumanaga prepared was some 20kgs or more. While preparing smaller quantities any glass jar would do.


Tiny mangoes: 6 measures
Salt: One measure
Good quality chilli powder: 1 measure
Mustard powder: 1/8 measure

Wash the mangoes thoroughly and spread on a clean cloth to remove all the moisture. Put the mangoes and salt in layers in a jar and keep aside. Keep stirring the mangoes every day. By the second day, water would have started oozing out of the mangoes. Keep stirring daily until the water level reaches above the mangoes. Take this water and mix in the chilli powder and mustard powder in clean bowl and add to the salted mangoes. Keep the jar covered air tight and keep in a cool dark place. Keep stirring every day for another week. The pickle will be ready to use in a week.

Kannimanga Or Uppumanga

As the name suggests this are just tiny mangoes in brine solution without chilli powder or any other spices. The brined mangoes are used to make chutney called arachukalakki and are also used as a side dish for curds rice during the lean months of monsoon. The brined mangoes are especially good for the intestine and believed to heal ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract.

The process for preparing Kannimanga is similar to Kadugumanga and you stop at the stage of adding salt to the mangoes. The mangoes will remain in the salty water.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mango Mania

This is the first time I spent all the summer months in Hyderabad and what an experience it has been. For a person who has lived in Bangalore for 35 years where the maximum temperature never exceeded 34 deg C, the day temperatures of 45 deg C for a continuous period of almost 3 months is an experience. We just got roasted. Not used to this high temperature and losing essential minerals and salts by perspiration one always felt exhausted and tired with muscle cramps and summer boils. However, I learnt to beat the heat by drinking juices with added salt, and having kanji with added salt for dinner. At last the monsoon rain reached Hyderabad yesterday evening. We had a heavy down pour for about 20 minutes yesterday and we have been having sustained showers since the afternoon. I hope the temperatures come down.

The best thing about summer is the surfeit of mangoes. We had plenty of mangoes this year and we really enjoyed them. For a true Keralite no amount of mangoes is too much. There is a saying in malayalam, “Aaru maasam chakkayum mangayum, Aaru maasam anganeyum inganeyum,” which means Keralites live by jackfruits and mangoes for 6 months in a year and somehow manage the remaining 6 months. The saying was of course true only in the olden days when, as I have always said, people lived by the seasonal fruits and vegetables of that particular region. Especially in remote places like my maternal grandparents’ home, where we used to spend all our summer holidays during our childhood, we actually had only mangoes and jackfruits curries and preparations on all days. It was either manga koottan or chakka kari or chakka kootan and manga pachadi. Did we ever get tired of eating so many mangoes and jackfruits? Never. These days with all types of vegetables and fruits available all through the year, people don’t have to depend on chakkayum, mangayum. And yet, give me a manga pulissery or chakka kari any day and I would enjoy it immensely. Even the younger kids of our family, though they don’t like most of the traditional dishes prepared at home, devour manga kootans.

When we were growing up we had large mango orchards both at our paternal and maternal grandparents’ homes. In our maternal grandparents’ home where the house stood amidst acres and acres of greenery, wherever you turned you could see mango trees and jack fruits trees laden with fruit. Just one breeze and the court yard would be full of mangoes. When you stepped out of the house you could collect any number of mangoes. Any one who came home, from guests to beggars would be sent back with a big bag of mangoes. In our paternal grandparents’ home where we grew up, the orchards were far from home and only baskets and baskets of mangoes arrived as headloads. The mangoes were spread on hay in a room upstairs and we ate mangoes as and when we pleased. That was also the time all the cousins who were living outside the state would come home for summer holidays and our Kalathappa (our grandfather was called Kalathappa by all) was beside himself with joy seeing all his grandchildren enjoying the fruits of his labour. “Thinuungo, Thinnungo, Thinnin, Thinnin” (eat as much as you want), he would say.

Mangoes and Jackfruits in all forms are used by Keralites . From this size for kadugumanga

to this size for manga koottans, pachadis, aavakaya, manga curry, manga chammandi, pachakadugumanga.

And fruits as well. We also make special dishes with the mango fruit.

Similarly with jackfruit.

Big jackfruits.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Important festivals in June 2009

There are no important festivals that are celebrated at home in June. However, the full moon day in the month of Vaikasi (May-June) is celebrated as Vaikasi Vishakham in all the Subramania temples in the south. As we have seen, all full moon days are celebrated as special days in the Hindu calendar. Vaikasi Vishakham is considered as the day Lord Subramania was born. The purpose of his birth was to kill demons like Tharakasura, Soorapadma etc. It is considered good to donate fruits and grains to the needy on this day. Since this is the season of mangoes and jack fruits these fruits along with banana, called muppazham (three fruits) are given to Brahmins as a good karma.