Monday, May 1, 2017

Maa Inji Oorugai - Pickled Mango Ginger

One can put it very generally that Indians love pickles, no matter which part of India one is from and this may be true also. With seasonal produces and a combination of spice blends pickles seem to form an essential part of a meal. They can be had with any dish if one chooses so.While I do not recall my mother going on a pickle curing ritual, I know my aunt does, each year after one. As I type this, I am wondering if she has already done with her vadu mangai, avakkai oorugai for this summer. If mangoes are for summer winter brings a whole variety of other produce. Though nowadays pickles can be picked up from any store, home made pickles have their charm.
I have a vague memory of walking down the streets in the evening with my uncle in Trichy to pick up tender Makali Kizhangu, which it is famous for. There would be vendors who spread their ware over neatly placed gunny bags in mounds. the light from a petromax lamp will light these mounds in a warm glow. In the later years while the scene has only slightly changed, I have been enchanted with the trade in Mylapore market in Chennai.
My mother always made the elumichchangai oorugai, Indian lime pickle at home. When on rare occasions we did get good quality gooseberries they were also done. Otherwise we had those 'ready to use immediately' manga oorugai mostly. Very rarely did we get the manga inji in our town and whenever we did, my mother treated it as a rare find. She would scrape the peel with the blunt edge of a small plate so carefully that the fleshy immediate part will not be wasted. She was disappointed once when I used a peeler and shaved off a bit of the ginger along with the peel.
Between my husband and myself, we are not keen on pickle. If we can put it on a scale I would fare under 4 and his would go in the negative. I keep stock of one tiny bottle purely not to disappoint someone who would like to have with their meal. However, I may have been dreaming pickle when I spotted fresh manga inji in the store the other day. I picked up some and the fresh peppercorns. Now they have been pickled, though in quantity they will last a week. Thus, they are not made with utmost care to last over many days. This is almost for instant use.
Mango ginger, is a part of the ginger family and related to turmeric.The rhizomes are similar to ginger and these have a milder mango like taste. they have some medicinal properties as is common with herbs. These can be made in a variety of pickles. The pickle i have put here today can stay good for a week at its maximum and needs refrigeration.

Maa Inji Oorugai - Pickled Mango Ginger

Makes 2 cups

A dozen mango ginger rhizomes of 2" length each
1 &1/2 teaspoon crystal sea salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon lime juice/ juice from one large lime
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1 &1/2 tablespoons gingelly oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Wash the mango ginger clean. Remove the peel. If the ginger is tender, I have been able to just slide my hand over giving some pressure and it peels off.
Cut thin slices and place them in a glass or ceramic bowl.
Add the turmeric powder and salt.
Squeeze the juice out of the lime and add to the bowl.
Heat the gingelly oil in a pan, add the mustard and allow them to crackle. Switch off the heat and mix the asafoetida.
Transfer this tempering to the pickle.

With the tender ginger the pickle is ready to consume immediately.
Allow a few minutes for the flavours to blend and serve.
Refrigerate after use.
Stays well for a week.
I add it to my salads and thus it gets consumed quickly.

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