Monthly Archives: June 2011

Fiery Fresh Mango Pickle

Fiery Fresh Mango Pickle

Hello! Welcome to This Spicy Life… Happy summer, everyone! Sorry I have been absent again for such a long stretch. We went on vacation for a few weeks in June. I have been trying to catch up with the home and kid stuff – the garden is wild with weeds and veggies and the kids are wild with energy and summer activities.

Today I’m featuring a spicy refrigerator pickle recipe from my friend Leena. We stayed at her house during our vacation and we ate this pickle with breakfast, then lunch and then dinner almost everyday! It was that good! She generously shared her recipe with me so now I am making it a staple in our home. BTW, Leena has a treasure trove of delicious recipes up her sleeve that I hope to include here in the future.

If you have never tried Indian pickles, you are in for a treat. They are spicy, but sometimes sweet, tangy, crisp and salty morsels of goodness that usually accompany simple Indian meals. Meals like rice and dal or roti and raita/yogurt can be made into something a lot more fantastic by the addition of a little pickle on the side. You can buy pickles at Indian grocery stores as well as some regular grocery stores. Experiment with one or two brands to see what you like. We love pickle so much in our house that I just counted 16 jars/bags of pickle ready to eat. Some good basic pickles to start out with are lemon, mixed pickle and maybe tomato or garlic.

The following recipe is a simple pickle to make but it may be a little difficult to find the ingredients. The green mangoes that are used are not the typical sweet variety that are found in most grocery stores in the US. They are a different variety of mango that stays sour (but with a mango taste) even when they become soft. This mango can be found in many Indian / Asian grocery stores and sometimes in Latin stores. If you find them, try to get the firmest fruits possible.  

The other ingredient that should be readily available at an Indian grocery is “Pickle Masala”. Choose one that contains only coarse red chili and fenugreek seeds (and maybe salt). I found a couple of different brands in my local store.

The pickle will take a few days to ripen and it tastes better the longer it sits. Be sure to put the pickle in a sterilized or very clean jar as this will help the pickle keep longer in the refrigerator.

If you don’t know how to cut mangoes, check out this link.

Fiery Fresh Mango Pickle

Makes about 4 cups

  •  4 firm green mangoes, peeled and cut in small chunks
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 6 – 10 tbsp “pickle masala” made from course chili powder and fenugreek seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup oil (canola, grapeseed or olive oil – not extra virgin)
  1. Place the cut mango in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the turmeric powder.  
  3. Allow to sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
  4. Move the mango pieces to a colander and allow to drain for 15 minutes.
  5. Spread the mango pieces on a tea towel (an old one since the turmeric will stain) or paper towels.  Pat dry and allow to sit at room temp for 30 – 60 minutes. 
  6. Return the mango pieces to the bowl and add 6 tbsp of the masala and about 2 tsp salt. Mix well and taste. Add more masala and salt until you have the flavor that you like. Pickles are supposed to be spicy, so don’t hold back too much! Also, the “raw” masala hasn’t mellowed yet, so the pickle may have a somewhat bitter taste at this point. Have faith…it will turn out great!
  7. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temp for two days, stirring once in the morning and once in the evening.
  8. Place the pickle (it’s almost done!) in a sterilized or extremely clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the 1/2 cup oil over the top of the pickle and put the lid on the jar.
  9. Place the jar outside during the day in the sun for a course of two days. (When I made this the first time we had very hazy, cloudy days. I didn’t place it outside but did let it sit out on the counter in my kitchen – it turned out fine.)
  10. You will see that most of the oil is absorbed into the mango and the masala. The pickle is ready to eat. Store in the refrigerator. This should last for at least several weeks or longer.  

Simple Tomato Curry with Aloo Parantha

Simple Tomato Curry with Aloo Parantha

Hello & Welcome to This Spicy Life…

Today I’m featuring one of my husband’s recipes. He has adapted it over the years, though it is probably similar to many tomato curry recipes out there. His is much simpler and is definitely my favorite! This is best made with fresh, homegrown tomatoes but can also be made with store-bought tomatoes. This just might inspire you to go and plant one or two tomato plants this summer!

We usually eat tomato curry with aloo parathas. It is equally delicious with mooli (daikon) parathas or even rice. The combination makes for a simple, home-style lunch or dinner. I’ll post the aloo paratha next week.

Notes: You may want to remove the tomato skins before cooking if you are serving this for guests or if the tomatoes have very thick skins. Tomato skins actually contain fiber and nutrients so I normally don’t remove the skins. To remove the skins: bring a pot of water to boil. Slash a shallow “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for a minute. Remove the tomatoes to cold water. Slip off the skins.

Simple Tomato Curry

Serves 4


  • 6 large ripe tomatoes (about 4 cups chopped), washed and cut into pieces (approx. 1″ x 1″)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 green chilis, finely chopped (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • pinch of sugar (optional)
  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and cook for about 1 minute. They will start to turn darker brown.
  3. Stir in the onions and allow to cook until they start to turn translucent.
  4. Stir in the garlic and green chilis and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the onions start to turn brown at the edges.
  5. Add the tomatoes, salt and sugar (if using) and turn the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes just start to break down, but still hold their shape.
  6. Taste for salt and serve with parathas or rice.