I was just looking through my posts here this past month and realized that it is happening again. My blog is in grave danger of losing its identity and becoming a baking blog! Everything in my virtual and diverse kitchen is becoming less diverse and more “oven-centric”
This isn’t because I have been baking more than usual or cooking any less. Its just that the food that I have taken pictures of (and so can blog about), recently, all seems to be stuff from my oven.
You will probably continue to see more goodies from my oven this month and the next, as I have to clear my drafts.
But for now, I present the “maangai araitchukalakki”. Given that it’s a mouthful to pronounce, you would have deduced that this is part of my traditional Palakkad Iyer fare. “Maangai” means mango and “araitchukalakki” means to grind and mix well and that really is all there is to this dish.
Most of our traditional everyday cooking is very simple and this dish is perhaps, one of the easiest to make. It doesn’t involve any cooking, just grinding and mixing.
Of course, you need the one magic ingredient which is the “kanni maanagai” (baby mangoes in brine)
The mangoes are ground to a fine paste with coconut and green chillies and mixed up with thick curd (yogurt) to make a sort of coconut chutney-like gravy. Tempering with spices is all that’s needed to finish the preparation.
An araitchukalakki can be made without the brined baby mangoes and does taste very good, but the mango takes this dish to another level entirely. Yet another version of this preparation uses “chenai” (elephant yam), but requires the vegetable to be cooked before it is ground with the other slightly different set of ingredients.
“Nellikkai” (Indian gooseberry) preserved in brine is also used to make yet another type of araitchukalakki.
The summer has just arrived here, but it is so hot with the average temperatures about 5C above what it should be at this time of the year! The last thing anyone would want is to spend too much time in an even hotter kitchen.
This araitchukalakki is just the thing for these kinds of days, or when you’re feeling a little lazy but the cooking needs to be done. Yogurt is the main ingredient in this dish which makes it light and cooling in nature, just right for the heat of summer.
Maangai Araitchukalakki (Brined Mangoes In A Spicy Coconut-Yogurt Gravy)
- 2 to 3 mangoes brined baby
- 1 cup coconut freshly grated
- 2 to 3 green chillies (adjust as required)
- 3 cups yogurt fresh thick
- to taste salt
- 1 1/2 tsps mustard seeds
- 3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 1/2 tsps black gram lentils (urad dal)
- 1/4 tsp asafetida powder
- 1 chillies dried red
- sprig curry leaves
- Remove the mangoes from the brine and cut them each in half (including the soft seed) and grind them with the green chillies and coconut, adding just enough water, into a fine paste.
- Add this paste and salt to the yogurt and mix well. Remember the mangoes have been preserved in brine and add the salt accordingly.
- The coconut-yogurt paste should be the consistency of a thickish gravy and will resemble a coconut chutney. Taste-wise, it should be slightly spicy with a slight tang from the mangoes.
- If you are not serving this immediately, you may refrigerate it.
- Just before serving, heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the lentils and and stir a couple of times till they start becoming golden. Break the red chillies into 2 or 3 and add them to the oil. Now add the fenugreek seeds and the asafetida powder and stir a couple of times. Do not let the fenugreek seeds brown too much.
- Take the oil and spices off the heat, add the curry leaves, mix once again, and pour this oil-spice mixture into the araitchukalakki.
- Serve with warm rice, a vegetable side dish and pappads/ sun-dried fritters (appalam or karuvadam). Araitchukalakki is also served as a side dish along with this or this molagootal and rice.