Sunday, September 16, 2007

Avakai - Andhra Food Series

Though from Andhra who are traditional pickle eating people, our family never ate that many pickles. Even if we did, as children, we would wash the mango piece (wash off the spices) and then take little bites from it to eat along with curd rice.

But as I got older, I developed a taste for the famous Andhra pickles. What do you think? Are we genetically wired to like some foods? Or is it that we feel its familiar and therefore end up liking it?

The pickle that I enjoy eating is Avakai which is mango pieces in mustard and chilli powder with oil and salt. The hot chilli taste really appeals to me and in combination with curd rice..?? I cannot describe the heavenly taste. Also, just plain avakai masala with plain hot rice and a dollop of melted ghee????? .. Simply delicious.

But the only thing was that my mom never made pickles back then. Cos we did not consume pickles regularly, it was not the annual routine summer time event. All this changed when I got married. Here every summer, come mango season and the pickle making would start. Jaadis will be washed and thoroughly dried. Powders will be bought.. Scout for good mangoes and then a whole day will go in the pickle making. Mom in law uses the recipe given by her mom in law... and so the tradition goes on. I always thought pickle making to be a hard, laborious process, but actually it is not that hard. Just need to have everything at hand and put it together.

When I heard of Sunitas think spice event on mustard, I thought avakai will be the perfect entry as it typifies the use of mustard. Ava itself means mustard in Telugu and Kai refers to raw fruit. This is my entry for the Think Spice: Mustard event.

This is the recipe handed down to me by my mother in law which was handed down to her by her mother in law. So I can safely say that this is a tried and tested recipe.


1 kg Mango pieces cut with a part of the shell in each
250 grams mustard powder
125 grams chilli powder
250 grams salt
1/4 litre gingelly oil
2 teaspoon turmeric powder


1 teaspoon methi seeds(fenugreek)

1 teaspoon mustard seeds


Mix all the dry powders together.
Heat 2 teaspoon oil and fry seasoning ingredients.
Cool and add with remaining ingredients to the powdered ingredients.
Finally add to it the mango pieces and mix thoroughly.
Store in a DRY clean bottle or Jaadi. It should easily last for about a year.

Main thing to watch out for is that no moisture should come in contact at any point. This will result in the pickle getting spoilt.

UPDATE: I believe this is also called Mavinikai Upinikai in Kannada so this goes as another entry for RCI: Karnataka.


Cinnamon said...

Yummm... whenever anyone talks of pickles the first thing to come into my mind is avakai..... with a little bit of ghee and hot steaming rice... and its just yummmm...
The pic is also lovely :)

Asha said...

Love the pickle and that photo,gorgeous:)

Asha said...

On second thought Kamini,can you send this to RCI K too as Mavinkai Uppinkai, if you don't mind that is.I just have one pickle so far!:))

TBC said...

That pic is beautiful!
It is making me want to eat some curd-rice right now:-)

Siri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Siri said...

OMG .. being an Andhraite,, I know wat "Avakai' is for us.. got back many sweet childhood memories thru ur post.. thanks..:D

sunita said...

Hi Kamini, thanks for the lovely entry...the pickle looks yum :)

Namratha said...

Just the mention of Avakai makes me drool, lovely entry and lovely Avakai!

Suganya said...

I made this last time I went to India. A bonus for a summer visit in addition to the jasmines!

Sharmi said...

thats a clever post:) its our must have in pantry.

gautam said...

hey kamini.. put up how to make rice no ;)struggling with that...

Padma said...

Avakai anytime for me!

Saju said...

Looks so yummy!
Kamini, do you dry the mango at all?

Kamini said...

Saju, we don't sun the mango at all. We simply wash and thoroughly dry the whole mango and then cut it into bits.