Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tasty Traditions This Week: Pickles -- Mango Thokku

Hi everyone! Here is a simple and delicious mango thokku recipe. Mango thokku, also called thogayal maangaai, is a pickle prepared in kitchens in the South. When mangoes abound in the Summer, we prepare this pickle for the season. The thokku, properly stored and maintained, lasts for up to 6 months; I like to store my pickle jar/bottle in the fridge to retain its freshness.

A word about the mangoes for this pickle: the only kind of mangoes to be used are specific varieties of green/raw, mature, sour, mangoes. The sourness is a very important criterion, as are the maturity and the rawness. These types of mangoes may not be available all over the world (see picture -- these are fist-sized mangoes). In Tamil we refer to the mature, raw mango as "kottai mutriya maangaai," which means, green mangoes with hardened, mature stones (seed-shells).

Another word about the oil: If you want the amazing taste of tradition, DO NOT resort to any oil other than virgin sesame oil for this pickle (NOT the roasted sesame oil you get in Chinese stores). Virgin sesame oil has great properties and is very healthy when used in regular cooking. Idhayam, Anjali, are just some of the brands I am familiar with in India.

Yet another word about the chilli powder: There are many kinds of chilli powders available in the market. I usually get the long hot dry red chillies, and get it powdered in the mill and keep it ready (varattu podi). If you buy pre-made powders, ensure that it is both very spicy and has a vibrant red color.

Now the recipe.....

Mango Thokku


Green/Raw mangoes, peeled, grated -- 4 C (standard American measuring cup)
2" piece of dried turmeric root or turmeric powder -- 1 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds (methi or vendhayam) -- 1 tsp.
Asafoetida (hing or perungayam) -- 1/2" cube (or asafoetida powder, 1 tsp.)
Virgin Sesame Oil (nallennai) -- 1 and 1/4 C
Black Mustard seeds (rai or kadugu) -- 1 tsp.
Plain hot Chilli powder -- 3/4 C
Salt -- 3/4 C


1. Dry roast separately, the turmeric, fenugreek, and asafoetida, until fragrant. (Use medium heat so that these turn golden brown, and not charred black. The asafoetida will puff up if using unpowdered). If using turmeric powder, keep it aside for adding later.
2. In a non-reactive pan/kadai/wok, heat half the oil.
3. Add mustard seeds and wait till it splutters.
4. When it splutters, add the turmeric powder (if using), and the grated mangoes. Stir briefly.
5. Add the salt and chilli powder, and turn the heat down to medium.
6. Keep stirring from time to time. You don't have to cover the pan.
7. When the quantity reduces to two-thirds of the original amount, add the rest of the oil and stir for about 2-3 minutes.
8. Add the powdered spices, and stir thoroughly. Keep on the stove for a minute more.
9. Remove the pan off the heat. Keep aside uncovered until cool.
10. Store in a clean, dry bottle, and cover tightly.


1. Add 50 grams of peeled, finely grated, fresh ginger root with the mangoes.
2. Add 15 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced with the mangoes.
3. Add both ginger and garlic as above, and a little extra salt (1/4 C) with the mangoes.
4. Optionally, you may add 2 Tbsp. of powdered or grated jaggery (gur or vellam), along with the roasted spice powder.

NOTE: Always use a VERY dry spoon each time as any little bit of moisture can spoil the pickle. This can be used instantly. Serve with rice, dosas, roties, as a sandwich filling, upma, etc.

Happy pickling!

Vasi Maami


  1. Amma, looks great! This will go well with some creamy curd rice! I'm hungry now. Mmmmmmm....

  2. Naakule Jalam oorardhu enaku... YUM!
    Fantastic idea to share your tasty recipes :)

  3. Hey,
    Mango thokku!!!!!!!!!!!. I want eat this with Dosai. Amazing opening of the tastytraditions blog spot. All the Best

  4. Great idea mami! Will ahve to try it this summer

  5. Athai, ennaku ippo pasikardhu :(

    Ippadi neenga blog panna regularly - will be super! I forwarded this link to some friends and also am going to link your blog from my website during its next update once am back in Pune.

  6. Mami, this is a lovely idea.. My husband and I love to cook and we are always on the lookout for authentic recipes. Am linking ur blog from my site.. If and when I require some recipes, I ll send you an email, please do post them as well...All the best...

  7. Nice one!.. Please do post more interesting recipes... :-)! Thanks!

  8. Hi Vasi maami, this looks very delicious.. am so happy to see someone who loves cooking to blog about it.. it wud help us all this blog..

    I will visit ur site daily from now on...

    i will look forward to traditional recipies


  9. Amma
    Great!! Amazing!! Keep it up!! It reminded me of the good old days, where I used to go around and pick the leaves from various places, for the Citron leaves.

  10. Excellent recipes and it tastes good too.

  11. I would have never imagined I can do Vepillai katti myself, one of my favorite side dishes for thayir sadam. Now that my neighbour has a citrus tree in her backyard, she is wondering why I want leaves out of her tree and not the fruit. Keep adding more traditional stuff mami.

  12. Super blog, maami:-) It'll be great to try the vepallai katti. It's my favorite side-dish for thair saadam, along with 'more molaga'. Look forward to many more traditional recipes.

  13. Aunty -
    Tried the dates, ginger and greenchilli Pickleawesome ...
    I loved the "atthiribaachaa" story.... Looking forward for more traditional recipes.

  14. I am so happy to have stumbled upon yr blog. We all could use yr guidance :)

  15. Vasi Athai samaithaal...

    You could start an online book

  16. Hello Maami :)

    I am married to an Iyer but do not know many traditional recipes. Can you please post some simple traditional recipes with which I can start.

  17. Hi Vasi, Could you please post the traditional recipe for Inji Sorasam? I need it desperately. Thanks in advance.

  18. Brim over I assent to but I contemplate the brief should acquire more info then it has.

  19. Digital Memory sure is becoming cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. I wonder when we will finally hit the rate of $0.01 to 1 GB.

    I'm eagerly anticipating the day when I will finally be able to afford a 20 TB hard drive, haha. But for now I guess I will be content with having a 32 GB Micro SD in my R4i.

    (Submitted by Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] Ting2)