Pickles, South Indian, Vegan

Mango Ginger (Aam Haldi) Pickle

Mango ginger (Aam Haldi, Manga Inji, Curcuma Amada) is a unique spice that resembles ginger but tastes and smells like raw mango. It is an important spice in Ayurveda and has antibiotic, appetizer, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, and aphrodisiac properties among many others. Despite being a ginger hater, I am completely hooked to the distinct smell of this rare spice. Mango ginger is much milder compared to ginger with a light smell and flavor of raw mango. It is also not as fibrous, pale in color (both outside and inside), and has a much smoother and more regular outer surface compared to ginger and turmeric. The dried mango ginger powder, popularly known as aam chur, is the most common form of usage. But you can also pickle this amazing spice.

Mango ginger – 100 gm
Green chilies – 3-4

For seasoning:
Gingely oil / Til oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Asafetida powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – 4-5
Salt as needed

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins

Wash the mango ginger and scrape the skin.
Make thin slices (julienne) or grate the mango ginger as per your preference.
If you are making julienne of the ginger, make thin slices of the green chilies also. If you grated the mango ginger, chop / grate the green chilies finely. Mix well.
Heat a pan, add oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds crackle, add red chili powder, turmeric powder, and asafetida powder. Turn off the heat quickly so that the heat does not burn the spices. Tear the curry leaves and add to the pan.
Mix this seasoning to the ginger and green chilies mixture.
Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Mix well.
A pungent mango ginger pickle loaded with medicinal and nutritional value is ready. For best results store the pickle in a cool dry place for a day and start using the next day. Store in a refrigerator thereafter. Stays good for about a month. Serve with rice.

P.S. – For a simpler version, you can just mix grated ginger and finely chopped green chilies with lemon juice and salt and the pickle is ready.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Pickles, Vegan

Instant Amla/Gooseberry Pickle (Kerala Style)

I have been experiencing hair fall recently despite no apparent diet/lifestyle change. Wondering how to tackle this, I have decided to try including gooseberry/amla in my daily diet. Amlas are considered to be excellent for health and are packed with vitamins. I am not a fan of raw gooseberries but love them in murabbas (candied sweet preserve) or pickle. This pickle version uses very little oil and can be consumed immediately although the taste and flavors tend to be better after a couple of days.



Gooseberry/Amla – 10
Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida/Hing powder/piece – 1/4 tsp or 1 small piece (size of half a marble)
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame/til oil – 1 + 1 tsps
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 3-4 leaves

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Makes – 1-1/2 cups

Heat a thick iron wok and dry roast fenugreek seeds until they change color and you get the aroma of roasted fenugreek seeds. If you are using whole asafetida, roast that along with the fenugreek seeds as well. Powder the fenugreek seeds and asafetida piece using a mortar and pestle (or mixer). Set aside.
Wash the gooseberry and pat dry.
Heat a thick iron wok and add 1 tsp of sesame oil. Add the gooseberry to the oil. Stir occasionally and cook in medium heat until the white gooseberries turn soft and tender (approximately 15 minutes).

Remove gooseberry from the kadai. The oil used to cook the gooseberry remains in the kadai. You can use this again for the tadka. When it cools, cut the gooseberry into smaller pieces and add salt. Mix well and keep aside.

Add one tsp sesame oil into the same iron wok that was used to cook the gooseberry. Heat the wok and add mustard seeds to the oil. Let it splutter.
After mustard seeds splutters, add the curry leaves, red chili powder, powdered roasted asafoetida and fenugreek, salt as required and mix well.
Switch off and allow it to cool.

Transfer to a dry ceramic jar (bharani) or glass jar. Steel and plastic containers are not recommended since pickle is acidic in nature. Refrigerate and use within 1-2 weeks. Remove in small batches for daily use. Always use a dry spoon to serve the pickle.

Notes: You could use whole asafetida pieces for this recipe, but this would take a while to melt and blend in with the amla pieces. Although whole asafetida is more flavorful and aromatic than the powder, for an instant pickle asafetida powder is recommended.
The spice level in this pickle is moderate. You can add more red chili powder and oil as per taste.

Kerala Recipes, Pickles, South Indian, Vegan

Instant Mango Pickle – Kerala Style

Instant Mango Pickle

The Kerala-style instant mango pickle is easy to prepare, tastes amazing, and goes well with almost anything. This mango pickle is the highlight of Kerala sadya including occasions such as wedding and Onasadya. Usually prepared a day before a function or festive occasion, at home we make it whenever raw mango is available and use it daily during lunch. You do not need anything but this pickle, rice, and curd to have a very satisfying meal. On a day that milaga podi and chutney are not available, you could even use it along with dosa.

Raw mango (mature but not ripe) – 1
Red chili powder – 1-2 tsp (as per personal choice of spice level)
Fenugreek seeds (uluva) – 1/2 tsp
Asafetida powder – 1/2 tsp
Gingely/sesame oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaf – 1 strand
Salt – 1/2 tsp (adjust as per taste)

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Makes – 1 cup

Sliced raw mangoMethod:
Clean the mango with water and wipe it dry. Slice the mango into thin pieces. Add salt and set aside. In an iron wok, dry roast fenugreek seeds until they change color and you get the aroma of roasted fenugreek seeds. Powder the fenugreek seeds using a mortar and pestle (or mixer).

Heat oil in an iron wok and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, turn off the flame and add chilly powder and powdered fenugreek, asafetida powder, curry leaves, and stir well. Add the salted mangoes and mix well. Instant mango pickle is ready. You could start using it right away, but it tastes best if you leave it overnight. Or else, let it rest in the same pan for half an hour.

Transfer to a dry ceramic jar (bharani) or glass jar. Steel and plastic containers are not recommended since pickle is acidic in nature. Refrigerate and use within 1-2 weeks. Remove in small batches for daily use. Always use a dry spoon to serve the pickle.

You could use whole asafetida pieces for this recipe, but this would take a while to melt and blend in with the mango pieces. Although whole asafetida is more flavorful and aromatic than the powder, for an instant pickle asafetida powder is recommended.

Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Pickles, South Indian

Coriander Chutney Powder/Kothamalli Chutney

Coriander Chutney powderMoms never cease to surprise! Just when you think you have tasted almost everything that your mom makes, there comes a new one. How I wish culinary skills were hereditary! So, the latest one that mom surprised me with is a coriander chutney powder. This spicy chutney powder is made with lentil and fresh herbs. It is easy to make and totally irresistible.

Fresh curry leaves – 1/2 cup
Fresh coriander leaves – 2 cups
Dry red chilies – 5-6
Urad dal – 1/2 cup
Tamarind – small lime size
Asafetida – 1 tsp, if powder; about one-inch piece, if using whole asafetida.
Salt to taste


Clean coriander leaves and curry leaves using water and wipe dry with a towel. Remove curry leaves from stalk and keep aside. Chop coriander and keep aside.

In a thick bottomed pan, dry roast urad dal until it turns light brown. If you are using asafetida powder, add it to the urad dal just before you remove the urad dal from fire and lightly roast. Remove from the pan and keep aside. Add the red chilies to the pan and dry roast until the raw smell is lost and the red chilies start turning black. Ensure that flame is in ‘low’ because chillies can get burnt easily. If you are adding whole asafetida, dry roast it until it swells and starts giving out flavor. Remove from pan and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the curry leaves. Dry roast until the curry leaves start turning crisp but retain the green color. Before you start grinding the ingredients, ensure that the mixer jar is completely dry. Add the roasted urad dal, asafetida, and dry red chilies to the mixer jar and grind until the ingredients turn into a coarse powder. At this stage, add the curry leaves and grind again. When the curry leaves are also ground, add fresh (but dry) coriander into the jar and grind again until all the green leaves are powdered well. Add salt and tamarind and grind again until all the ingredients are ground and mixed well. Remove from the jar. Adjust the salt to taste. Freshly ground chutney powder might be a little moist because of the use of fresh coriander leaves. You could even make tiny balls out of the ground powder or store it in powder form.

Transfer the ground chutney powder into clean, dry jar. Refrigerate and use. This will last up to a month. This chutney powder can come to your rescue on a lazy day when you are too lazy to make an elaborate meal. Just make rice and serve this chutney powder with warm rice, ghee, and papad. You will not miss sambhar or any other subzi! You can try this chutney powder with idli/dosa also.

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Breakfast, Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Pickles, South Indian, Tiffin

Milaga Podi (Dry Chutney Powder)

There are two items that you will definitely find in every South Indian household – curd and milaga podi (dry chutney powder or gun powder as non-Southies call it). Podi is potent gun powder that can make any food item tasty! It is a must-have in every household as it has a good shelf life and can accompany most food items such as dosa, idli, and even rice. Lazy to grate coconut and grind a chutney? All you need to do is take few spoons of podi, mix some oil in it and serve along with the dosa or idli. You wont even miss the juicy coconut chutney! Podi is also a safe bet when you are packing food for long bus/train journeys.

dosa and idli served with podi and chutney

Every household has their own secret recipe for podi and it tastes different in every house. When in school, I used to taste podi from my friends’ lunch boxes and each of them would taste different. Podi would differ in texture, taste, and visual appeal. Grainy, powdery, spicy, orange, greenish black, they come in all varieties. Recently, I tried MTR chutney powder (they market podi by that name) and I quite liked the taste of it. Unlike authentic Tamil Nadu style podi, this one is tangy. I believe tamarind is an ingredient in that recipe. Though I liked the MTR taste, being the conservative types when it comes to food, I prefer the authentic spicy taste without any tanginess.
This recipe is a mix of 2-3 different types of podis that I have had.

Black gram/urad dal/uzhunnu parippu (white or black) – 1 cup
Bengal gram/chana dal/kadala parippu (optional) – 1/4 cup
Raw rice (optional) – 1/4 cup
Dried red chilly – 10
Black pepper (optional) – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – 6-7 stalks
Asafoetida – size of a marble/2 tsp
Sesame seeds/Til/ellu (white or black) – 2 tbsp
Salt – as required

ingredients for gun powder

In a heavy bottomed pan (preferably iron), dry roast the grains one after the other until the grains turn red. First roast black gram. Then roast chana dal, followed by rice. Okay, I cheated! I roasted chana dal, kept it aside and then roasted the raw rice and black gram together. That works. When the black gram and rice are half done, add red chilies, black pepper, asafoetida, and curry leaves. If you are using asafoetida powder, you can add it towards the end of the roasting exercise. Turn off the fire and then add the sesame seeds and salt. Keep aside and let it cool down a bit.

While the roasted grains are still warm, dry grind them in a mixer. You can choose to make it powdery or grainy as per your preference. Store in a dry air tight jar. Will stay good for 3-4 months.

Gun powder

Choice of oil to be mixed with podi is a personal preference. Podi is served along with sesame seed oil (til oil/ellenna/nallenna) in most parts of Tamil Nadu. No points for guessing the oil that Keralites prefer!

Idlis and dosas soaked in spicy podi are a rage in restaurants these days. Whether you have a chutney and sambhar to go along with it or not, a well-made podi can up the taste quotient of even a poorly made idli/dosa.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Pickles, Side Dishes, South Indian, Vegan

Green Tomato Pickle

Green tomatoes, fenugreek, and chilly powder?

They combine to create something that will leave you drooling and smacking your lips!

Green Tomato pickle

My friend Anjana brought this green tomato pickle to office. Thus began the green tomato movement. Now I am a green tomato pickle propagator!

I leave it to my friend to explain how this can be made in the best possible way. Watch this space. She will be sharing her secret recipe.

Green Tomato Pickle Recipe
The green tomato pickle is a personal favorite. To call it a pickle is actually a mistake, considering that I eat it like a chutney (which is in unimaginably huge quantities).

This is a versatile pickle / chutney. It can be had with idli/dosa, chapati, parathas, upma, rice, and even bread. Two slices of bread with a slice of cheese and this pickle in between must be tried at least once.

It’s actually really simple and hardly takes any time. As a random and irregular cook, I am very bad with the proportions. But my mother, who is a non-random and measured person (pun intended), has helped with the proportions and the method here. She makes the tastiest green tomato pickle that I have ever had.

Roasted FenugreekIngredients:
Green raw tomatoes – 250 gm
Roasted fenugreek seeds powdered (uluva, venthayam, methi) – 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder (spicy variety) – 3/4-1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (kayam, hing) – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Sesame Oil (nallenna, til oil)- 1 tbsp

grind fenugreekDry roast the methi seeds in a pan and powder it. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Let it crackle. Add a little asafoetida. To this, add the chopped raw tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, and let it cook. After about five minutes, when the tomatoes cook (show signs of peeling), add the red chilly powder, roasted methi powder, and the remaining asafoetida.

After about 10 more minutes of cooking, its ready to eat. Tastes best when rested for a couple of hours because it takes some time for the flavors to blend and soak in.

Most pickles that are made during the yearly mango or gooseberry season are shelved in a cool, dry, dark place and untouched for months before they taste their best and are ready for consumption. But some pickles (especially the ones made during Malayali weddings and special occasions are made just the day before). This is one of those ready-to-eat kinds. It does not have a very long shelf life – lasts a week at the most. Hope you like it!

– Contributed by Anjana Nagabhushana

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