The Timeless Taste of Maavudu ( Tender, Mango pickle)

by Chandrika R Krishnan

My story on Maavudu ( tender, baby mangoes pickle).

It is said that the “precise location of heaven on earth has never been established but it may very well be right here.” I believe that it’s amidst heat, dust and mangoes.  Our grandparents’ house in the then Madras was our ultimate holiday location.  Summer meant endless fun and our supper consisted of the ultimate comfort food in the form of curd rice served in the palm of our hands and a *mavudu* (baby mango pickle) as an accompaniment. After a dusty day of play soaking in the heat, this meal was equivalent to “food of the Gods.”

Etymologically the word pickle is derived from Dutch word pekel which means saline. The story goes that food was preserved in ancient Persia with salt, vinegar and honey. The tradition of making achaar has ancient and rich legacy has found a mention in the Kannada text Lingapurana of Gurulinga Desika in 1594 CE. There is a feverish urge among the Indian households in the early days of summer to procure the fruit in bulk, pickle them and store them for the year around in earthen jars or glass bottles. Pickles seasoned with salt help the growth of probiotic bacteria which is beneficial for the gut.  It is said that Aristotle praised the healing effects of cured cucumber as early as 4th Century BC.

There is this festive, feverish air on the days pickles are made. These recipes handed down over generation can be shared but what cannot is the camaraderie, life experiences and tales that pass on during the making of pickles.

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Image credit: Podi by Shobaa


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