Recipe: Simple Mango Cucumber Pickle (Achar)

My Mom dropped by the other day and gave me a basket of semi-ripe/green mangoes that she plucked from her tree. No, she does not climb the tree in order to pluck them. She made this ingenious contraption from a half-cut plastic cola bottle tied to the end of a pole. I personally planted the seed 10 years ago and it’s currently providing a steady supply of mangoes almost all year round. The mangoes are mostly about fist size but very flavourful probably because they’re ‘organically’ grown. We do not add artificial fertiliser or pesticides, just the occasional ‘fertilizer’ that my dog provides when she’s marking her territory. It’s amazing when you get to eat and enjoy something from your own garden. It provides a sort of holistic appreciation for life and what nature can provide if you just go and plant a seed and wait…and soon you will be rewarded bountifully as we have.

One of my favourite things to do with semi-ripe mangoes is to make pickles. Pickles that could be eaten within the next hour! Of course ripe mangoes could also be used to make these, but I like the unripe mangoes because they have a nice crisp, tangy flavour to it. Usually this Achar is made using pineapple slices but I like this mango version. Not just because I have an abundant supply of it, it’s also because mangoes give it this fragrant crunch…it simply spells EXOTIC.

Ingredients

  • 5 fist sized semi-ripe/green mangoes, roughly sliced from the fruit (or whatever reasonable amount you have, 1 works just fine)
  • 1 sliced cucumber (de-seeded and cut about 0.8cm thick)
  • 1 thinly sliced red onion
  • 5 tbsp vinegar (I use Apple Cider vinegar, or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp sugar (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 red chilli, sliced thinly (optional, as you can see from the picture I did not add the chilli because this batch was meant for the kids. But I appreciate the kick I get from the spiciness)

Method

  1. Peel and cut all the mangoes, cucumber, onion & chilli accordingly.
  2. Mix everything in a bowl or container and add sugar, vinegar and salt. I would suggest you initially add half of the amount stated in the ingredients and slowly build your way up by adding more later. Taste is a very personal thing.
  3. Let it all stand for 20 mins. Then taste a couple and add more sugar, vinegar or salt. Then repeat and let it stand for another 20 mins and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  4. The end result should be able to be served in a hour or you could let it sit in the fridge till the next day.
  5. Scoop out the required amount when serving and keep the rest in a clean jar refrigerated.

My kids love this pickle (without the chilli of course). It’s simple, fast and deliciously fresh.

Oh, it also reminds us of warm, sunny days with Granny and her mango tree.

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