Citizens, the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh borders India’s southeastern coast. Tropical forests, rivers, hills and caves make it a popular ecotourism destination.
Beaches line the Bay of Bengal, offering spots for swimming and surfing. Major cultural landmarks include Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, an ornate hilltop shrine to Hindu’s Vishnu, in the southern part of the state. It’s visited by tens of millions of pilgrims annually.
Avakaya is a variety of Indian pickle popular in South India with its origin in Andhra Pradesh. The main ingredients are mangoes and aavalu (powdered mustard) and a combination of other spices used for pickling. The name avakaya is derived from “ava” meaning mustard and “kaya” meaning mango.
South Indians are known to have a deep attachment to these spicy pickles. A wide variety of pickles are available in these regions, using mango as their prime ingredient. Besides being made at home, the pickles are available commercially and are exported to the United States, Europe, Japan and many other countries.
Avakaya pickles are usually made in the summer, this being the time for peak availability of green mangoes. Green mangoes, hot oil, chiles and a variety of spices are the key ingredients. The process of preparation, storage and serving is considered almost a ritual.
The mangoes are cut into medium-sized pieces approximately 2 cm x 2 cm using strong and ultra sharp cutters/knives in swift strokes so as not to structurally damage the pieces. These pieces are wiped clean and dry with a highly-absorbent soft cloth — usually an old sterilized cotton sari with no embroidery, stowed away for this purpose.
They are then pickled with powdered mustard, red chili powder, salt, sesame oil and fenugreek (both in whole and powder form). Garlic is optional but TFD strongly prefers it with the extra zip that only garlic can provide!
This is my version of this classic recipe, Citizens! I add a goodly amount of ground Ajwain seeds, which is most definitely not part of the canonical version made in South India. I love the herbal, Thyme-like flavor it adds – simply omit it for the traditional version. 🙂
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