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Mum's Special Mango Pickles

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Hello everyone! I am so excited to share today's recipe for Mum's Special Mango Pickles! Mango pickles are a common side in Indo-Fijian cuisine and enhances any meal that you can think of. From a simple rice & dhal meal to a fancier meal for a guest, mango pickles are always a hit. There are different variations of mango pickles from Fiji but my Mum's version is the one I like the best. Duh.

In Fiji there is a season for mangoes. We eagerly await this season to be able to devour fresh, juicy and sweet mangoes or even unripe mangoes with some salt and chili powder. So yum. Just thinking about them is making my mouth water. Someone please buy a ticket to Fiji for me for mango season! Kidding....or maybe I am not...Of course, we also made mango pickles so that we could enjoy mangoes year-round. This is quite the endeavor. First we have to find mango trees with the right type of mango. Yes, there are several types of mangoes in Fiji but I will not get into all that. Then we have to make sure the mangoes are the right level of ripeness. Once we have identified the trees, then we have to find a crew of people willing to pick mangoes from the trees for us. Usually, these are relatives. Lol. Then we have to find a time and date to go and collect these mangoes. It was great fun for me to run around under the mango trees with my cousins collecting mangoes for pickle making. Really nice childhood memories. Happy heart. Once the mangoes were collected, then the next steps of the recipe starts.

Mum learned this recipe from one of her aunts (Nani) who was someone we were all very close with. Nani also taught mum the recipe for delicious chili pickles that we still use to this day. I still remember Nani coming over to help us prep and make the mango pickles. She was pretty strict and a stickler for doing things the right way even if it was slower. The mangoes and spices had to be prepped just so and the timing of everything had to be just so. The recipe itself is relatively straightforward but it does require a bit of time commitment. First you have to pick mangoes that are half-ripe. In California, you can find mangoes in almost any grocery store. Make sure they are half-ripe. Then cut each mango into eight pieces. Then cover the pieces with generous amounts of salt and let sit overnight. The next morning, wash mango pieces thoroughly and sun-dry for one day on a tray. If you want to store the pickles for several months, then sun-dry for two-three days.

The whole spices should be washed and sun-dried for a day also. Once mangoes and spices are dried, the spices can be ground up to a medium grind. This is your pickle masala. Also, coarsely grind up lots of garlic cloves.

Now, that all the ingredients are ready, we just have to mix away. First we add the dried mango slices to a large mixing bowl. Then we add mustard oil, garlic, pickle masala, chili powder and a generous amount of salt. All that remains, is a good mix so that all the mango slices are covered with all the delicious spices and garlic. Take your time and mix gently but well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

And there you have it, Mum's Classic Mango Pickles! Definitely try these right away! Serve alongside any meal whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. I enjoy them with a simple meal of dhal and rice. For storage, place in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and this should last several months. Check out the recipe below for full measurements!

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