Category Archives: Chutneys & Pickles



I was very tempted to add a notation to the name saying “Raw Mango pickle”. However, this would be patently untrue. There are so many versions of the Andhra raw mango pickle, I cannot begin to write about all of them. So let me start with the most famous: Avakaya.

Raw Mangoes getting ready!

Let me also mention outright that there are certain ingredients that are found only in the Telangana/Andhra Pradesh region, and are NOT found anywhere else, even through online groceries. So it helps if you know someone who lives in the region, if you happen to be living outside. Since these are branded products (AS Brand Pappu Nuna/Husked Gingelly Oil, and Three Mangoes Mirchi Podi), they are relatively easy to send across. There may be other brands, but my mother-in-law swears by these 2 brands as she has been using them for many years
Also, a lot of care needs to be taken when selecting the mangoes for avakaya.
The avakaya mangoes are available in the Andhra/Telangana region from mid-April till mid-May. The mangoes start to ripen by May, and are not ideal for avakaya.
The sourness has to be high, as well as the mangoes need to be very firm to the touch. However sour, if the mangoes are soft, it will spoil the taste of the avakaya, as well as mash the pieces while they are getting pickled. It is equally important to have someone who can cut the mangoes. The mangoes are made into piece with cutters specially made for mangoes, as they need to cut through the seed in a single blow. The inside seed is removed and the mango pieces hold their shape because of the hard shells.

My mother-in-law often says that preparing the avakaya is a lot of effort, even before mixing it together, but the pickle can be enjoyed for the entire year! Avakaya can be easily stored for 3-4 years. Though by that time, the mango will have softened tremendously, and the newer avakaya will be preferred. πŸ˜‰
Avakaya gets its name from aavalu (mustard seeds), kaya being raw (mango). The pungent smell and flavour of the aava podi (mustard powder) is what is distinctive of avakaya.

Important Notes:
Avakaya preparation is a highly intuitive process. A lot of the flavours depend on one’s understanding of the sourness (or lack thereof) of the mangoes, and adjusting the other ingredients accordingly. For this reason, each version of avakaya may be different (however marginally) from others.
Remember to wash and wipe clean all the mangoes before cutting them up. That way they will be ready for pickling without any delay. They can be wiped after cutting, but its a much more laborious process.

All cut up and ready for pickling

15 medium-sized raw mangoes
3 ltrs AS Brand Husked Gingelly oil + 1/2 ltr (optional)
Three Mangoes Mirchi powder – 3/4th kg
Tata Salt 1/2 kg
1.5 kgs mustard seeds (very fine variety)
150gm fenugreek seeds (menthulu)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 large airtight container to store
newspapers to protect surface
vessels for mixing
250gm measuring tin (if required)

* Grind the mustard seeds and finely sift the powder (aava podi). The first sifting is used for avakaya. The further ground mustard powder is used for other pickles. Add 1-2 tsp salt in case you wish to grind in advance and store.
– Aava podi is also readily available in stores. However, homemade is best!

Fine aava podi

* In the container, sprinkle some salt and turmeric powder and set aside
* Prepare the avakaya mixture of the fenugreek seeds (150gm), salt, mirchi powder and mustard powder in ratio of 2: 4: 6 and mix well.

All blended up

* In a plate take a few of the mango pieces, add some oil, and mix well.
* then add the avakaya mixture till mango pieces are completely covered and mix well, adding oil intermittently.

Mixing in the mango pieces with avakaya podi
All mixed well with oil

* keep mixing and adding the oil till the entire avakaya mixture is completely wet and stuck to the mango pieces..
* Transfer to the container.
* repeat the process till all the mango pieces are well covered in the avakaya mixture and transferred to the container.
* Add remaining oil into the container until the avakaya is completely submerged.

*Mix well by hand.

Adding oil to the avakaya

Set aside in a cool, dry place, to rest. You need to check on it and mix every 2 days for a week.

The pickle will be ready to serve in a week from preparation.
However, most people (my family included) are tempted to have it from Day 1 πŸ˜πŸ˜‰. Of course, its only to check if its progressing nicely!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Vankaya (Brinjal) Pachadi

Vankaya (Brinjal) Pachadi

This past year I’ve been mostly AWOL from my online presence for a lot of reasons. And getting back to blogging is something i wish to focus on this year. A huge development that did take place was the growth of my kitchen garden. I became a part of a group of gardeners here in Bangalore who encouraged to grow-what-you-eat-and-eat-what-you-grow! My focus is to be healthy, and a great way of doing that is to eat organic foods. Adn the best way I found to achieve that, is to grow organic!! πŸ™‚

Today’s recipe is made using vankaya that I grow in my garden!

There are 2 varieties of vankaya pachadi in Telugu cuisine. One is the way I will describe below. The other is one that Telugu cuisine shares with other Indian regions and is called baingan-ka-bharta. Hopefully, I’ll get around to featuring that too soon!

While baingan ka bharta relies on the violet colored brinjals, this pachadi can be made with any variety. That is a blessing, given that my kitchen garden doesn’t feature the violet ones (yet). What I do have are these 2 kinds of brinjal:


Veggies from my garden!

The picture was taken along with other produce from my garden that day. I’ve used the single big whitish vankaya in this recipe.

So here goes!


Vankaya pachadi



  • Brinjal/eggplant/vankaya – 1 large (or abt 100 gm)
  • green chillies – 10-12
  • red chillies – 5
  • Tamarind – about 1/2 lemon size (approximately)
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  • Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
  • Seasoning: mustard seeds (aavalu) – 1 tsp, urad dal (mina pappu) – 1 tsp, fenugreek seeds (menthulu) 1/3tsp, asafoetidaΒ Β (inguva) – 1tsp


  • In a lidded saucepan, pour in the oil and place the uncut vankaya in it. The saucepan needs to be deep enough for the lid to set properly after planing the vankaya.
  • Keep turning the vankaya time to time to ensure the whole thing in braised. The skin will seem to split a bit, or at least part from the body. When lightly pressed, the skin will fold into the vankaya.
  • Remove from the saucepan, retaining the oil. Set the vankaya aside for cooling in the final serving dish.
  • Add the seasoning into the oil. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add the red and green chillies and let them stay in the oil till all the chillies start changing color.
  • Take off the flame immediately and add the washed tamarind, turmeric and salt, and set aside to cool.
  • Once cool, grind the seasoning into a fine paste.
  • Peel the skin off the cooled vankaya. This will actually peel off easily if the vankaya has been braised properly.
  • Mash the peeled vankaya lightly. You may opt to keep pieces or mash the whole thing finely.
  • Mix the seasoning paste into the mashed vankaya welland set aside for some time.

The pachadi is best served with hot rice and ghee! πŸ™‚


Pachi Tomato Pachadi


On a recent shopping sojourn, I found some raw local tomatoes on sale. I couldn’t believe my luck and proceeded to buy quite a few! I prefer local tomatoes over hybrid because of their taste. Hybrid tomatoes have a kind of flat taste, and it’s just no fun to make anything with them!

The best way to identify the local ones is the shape. Local tomatoes have a round-ish shape, with an emphasized dip at the very tip. Hybrid ones have a flat tip, and are somewhat leaner in shape. I should have thought to take pictures of what I’m talking about, but I was too enthusiastic about using up my bounty. πŸ˜‰

I’m not overly fond of pachadis, but this one is one of the very few exceptions. The spicy yet tangy taste of this pachi (raw) tomato pachadi makes it special.

Pachi Tomato Pachadi

Pachi Tomato Pachadi


  • 2 raw tomatoes
  • a small bit of tamarind, washed and set aside to soften
  • 6 green chillies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of turmeric
  • Tadka: aavalu, menthulu, mina pappu, dry red chilli


  • In a medium-sized wok, roast the raw tomatoes in 2 tbsp of oil till done.
    • You know the tomatoes are done then the skin starts to peel of and the tomatoes themselves have become soft.
  • Add the green chillies and turn them around in the hot oil for a few moments.
  • Set aside to cool down.
  • In a tadka pan, heat some oil and add tadka. Wait till the aavalu pop, and then set aside and add salt.
  • Once everything has cooled down, grind the tadka with the tamarind, turmeric and the green chillies to a fine paste.
    • Do not grind the tomatoes.
  • Peel the tomatoes and mash roughly by hand so as to leave small pieces of the tomatoes but not big chunks.
  • Add the pachadi paste into the tomatoes and mix well.

This is absolutely tasty with rice or dosa.