Every summer is reminder not only of the carefree school vacations but also of endless rows of mangoes being peeled, cut, dried, bottled to make pickles for the rest of the year. At my grandmothers house during pickling time, there would be neat rows of mangoes pieces marinated in turmeric and salt, which we cousins would eat surreptitiously so as to not incur the wrath of the elders. Alas no such fun now... My mother usually makes a few select pickles back home which I then carry with me... no more stealing pieces and no more yellow fingers... And I dont pickle either. But this year was an exception as I was in Mumbai and once again was a part of the pickling... Here is the easiest of the lot - a sweet mango pickle called Morabba. Usually this is eaten with spicy parathas or along with meals. Its a big hit with kids.
1 kilo raw mangoes - Rajapuri type
2 kilos sugar
3-4 pieces cloves
3-4 2 inch sticks of cinnamon
5-6 pods of green cardamom
Few strands of Kesar (optional)
Wash the mangoes carefully. Peel them and make small pieces. Alternatively, you can also thick grate the mango. Also in India, the shopkeeper will do this for you.
In a large thick bottomed vessel, mix the sugar and the mango. Heat on stovetop on low heat till the sugar melts and forms a thick syrup. Pour a drop on a plate and check for the consistency, if it forms a single string when pulled between a finger and thumb, it is done. Anything less will spoil the pickle and anything more will crystallize the pickle. Remove from heat and cool. When completely cooled add the spices and mix. Pour into a clean glass jar and let the flavors mingle for atleast a week before eating.
Enjoy with every meal or even snacks!
P.S: Traditionally, this pickling was done using solar heat. Everyday my mother would put the vessel with the mango and sugar in the sun, covered with a cheesecloth and bring it in the house at sundown. This process continued till the pickle was ready. Now-a-days due to pollution my mother avoids doing this.