simplest use for Mango Pickle?
May 7, 2022 9:06 PM   Subscribe

I bought a jar of mango pickle without having a plan.

will it be good if I use it as a condiment on, say, salmon? Chicken? Could I stir it or cook it into rice? Scrambled eggs?

In general my cooking is super lazy these days but I might be attempting a chicken biryani within the next few weeks. Could it go in/with that?

Bonus if anyone wants to tell me what to expect from it taste-wise.
posted by fingersandtoes to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I haven’t had it too many times but each time it tasted fairly different, which is unsurprising given it’s a pickled product so the flavor will change based on fermentation and the spices used. It’s broadly sour, spicy, and savory, with a real complexity from things like fenugreek and mustard seed. Try some on plain rice to see how you like it and if it’s good unadorned you can feel confident using it with plainly prepared proteins or with vegetables in a flatbread sandwich. If you don’t care for it alone, try pairing it with things that balance out its strongest flavor notes. Like if it’s too spicy you can have it with raita, if it’s too sour you can put it on bitter greens and cruciferous vegetables, if it’s too salty use it on starchy foods like potatoes.

I think of the ways I’ve had it, I’ve most enjoyed it when it was served as a condiment with lamb.
posted by Mizu at 10:25 PM on May 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Cheddar and mango chutney sandwiches! We eat them regularly. Maybe a little arugula for crunch. Can't go wrong to try it with pickle!
posted by MeadowlarkMaude at 10:38 PM on May 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

What MeadowlarkMaude said except also the grilled cheese version as well as the untoasted sandwich version. It's good with just pickle & cheese, but it's also good if you want to amp up the Indian flavours by adding a mix of chopped onions, chillis, tomatoes & cilantro (if you enjoy it) and a sprinkle of cumin or garam malasa to the sandwich before toasting.
posted by terretu at 11:43 PM on May 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've never had a jar of mango pickle last long enough to eat it as a condiment, I always end up eating it on its own with a spoon. Try some!

I wouldn't mix it IN anything or put it with subtle flavours you still want to taste, like salmon or egg. I'd just have it on the side next time you have curry, or with rice or flatbreads as a snack.
posted by quacks like a duck at 12:25 AM on May 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Is it Punjabi style? Is it marked mild or spicy? Punjabi picked mango (not marked hot or spicy) will be intensely sour and salty, yes with a lot of complexity. If it's whole big chunks of mango, I usually dice it up more like a chutney or relish for serving on/beside dishes, it's just easier to eat and makes better use of the sauce imo. Watch out for very hard chunks of mango seed. I don't know how common that is, but at least one jar I've had had a lot of those and it was annoying to deal with, and it would suck to be surprised with one in your meal.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:29 AM on May 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

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posted by Rev. Irreverent Revenant at 7:16 AM on May 8, 2022

Response by poster: ok I opened it and put a thin layer in with a piece of good sharp cheddar on a chewy flatbread. It's an unfamiliar flavor profile to me. Neither as acid nor as sweet as I thought it would be, very salty (I see now that salt is the second ingredient and there's no sugar) and with an incredibly deep mushroom note, although it contains no mushrooms. Maybe that's the fenugreek? It's so salty and savory that it's making the cheddar - which is excellent - taste like a gentle fatty afterthought.

I'm going to keep this open in case folks have recipes to recommend based on that new info. I agree this is way too "much" to put on eggs or salmon. It's so umami-savory I'm thinking maybe it wants to be with legumes or red meat somehow, but I think it's going to need some acid, and maybe some freshness like cucumbers or cilantro.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:44 AM on May 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

The first time I tasted it, I thought I had a bad jar. The unfamiliar flavor made me think of industrial contaminants. My brain re-mapped it to "good food" after tasting more at a restaurant and being assured that it was the correct flavor. (This is similar to my initial reactions to tasting arugula.) I eat it in small amounts with very bland food that is otherwise too boring. Try some with a mix of rice and yogurt. I'm a weirdo, but it makes one-minute quick oatmeal palatable. The difference between boring and subtle might be the key here, as you noticed it will overpower subtle delicious flavors.
posted by SandiBeech at 9:50 AM on May 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mango pickle and mango chutney are emphatically not the same thing, and within mango pickles there's a lot of variation; the one I have in at the moment very chili hot, with large chunks of mango and a lot of fenugreek funk.

I agree that it is very much a side-pickle, to dip into a bit of along with other things on the plate. I could perhaps imagine blending it up with a bit of oil and using it as a marinade for chicken thighs to make some pretty intense kebabs.

Your ideas on flavours to balance it sound on the ball from my experience ; I have a few times chopped some of it up fine and then mixed it with lime juice and some (sweet, jammy) mango chutney to make a milder, more spoonable relish.
posted by protorp at 11:52 AM on May 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best way, IMHO, to eat any Indian pickle is mixed in a dish of dahl, rice, and potato chips. I learned this from my Indian ex-husband, and it is now one of my favorite comfort foods.
posted by momochan at 12:59 PM on May 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

British Indian restaurants tend to serve salty Indian pickles like that with papadams, and a fine salad of white onion and tomato. Just break off a piece, spoon a little pickle onto it, and eat. It sounds like this is not the sweet mango chutney goes well with cheese (try that type in a crusty roll with blue cheese and walnuts). There are a few curries (achari dishes) that use pickle as an ingredient, so you could look for one of those.
posted by pipeski at 1:34 PM on May 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I like to mix a bit of Indian pickle into yogurt and eat it with warm leftover naan or toasted flour tortillas.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:51 PM on May 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

On top of rice and chana masala. This will cheer up the saddest soul! If it‘s too strong, yogurt on the side.
posted by The Toad at 5:12 PM on May 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Mango-Pickle or Lime-Pickle that we get is pretty spicy (Patak's or Mother's). For us it's a modest amount side dollop alongside a rice dish or a meatloaf-ish casserole thingy, with the big chunks sliced up some more. I wouldn't stir it or mix with anything, or at the very least until I was more familiar with how it tastes... and then I probably wouldn't. As mentioned, it's not quite like chutney. It is excellent.
posted by ovvl at 5:43 PM on May 8, 2022

Just wanted to support your original plan to have it with your planned chicken biryani. Yes, definitely think of it as a side umami dish, to go with your plain carbs and some meats.

In addition to yoghurt, a spritz of lime (the smaller version of the kind Mexican dishes tend to have?) would be a good addition depending on the occasion. Southeast asian soy sauce too (Indonesia-style not Japanese or light Chinese ones). Eggs and salmon aren't too light for it at all, you just don't apply it with a heavy hand especially as you get used to how you like it. Tofu would be good also but i would personally recommend the firmer ones or the tofu skin puffs and then have them fried.

Fresh hot rice, a fried protein of some kind, lightly blanched greens, and some mango pickles? If you have some crunchy crackers like pappadoms or plainish fish or tapioca crackers, you are set for a good time. With bread though I would suggest thinking of it as part of a sandwich filling, like maybe in your tuna salad.
posted by cendawanita at 12:53 AM on May 9, 2022

Response by poster: I think what I've got here must be quite different from what many folks are describing. There are no chunks of anything. It is a ground-up paste. There is no discernible mango flavor and no acidity. "A salty umami-bomb" is my best shot at describing it.

The brand is "Telugu foods." On the label I see now that it specifies "grated" mango.

Anyway, last night I stirred some into some white beans I'd cooked, and served it forth. It added heat, savoriness, a little too much salt (the beans were already salted.) Everyone ate it enthusiastically.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:17 AM on May 9, 2022

Oh I'm familiar with their Tamilian cousin, it's a very standard South Indian condiment/side. Very standard for banana leaf rice for example. I would say the saltiness is due to the expectation to how it's usually combined (eg plain white rice, vegetarian dishes, fried meats that's not heavily spiced, the crackers some of us have mentioned, the plain/savoury yoghurt that i know as tairu for the south Indian version), so definitely use it with plainer ingredients if you're not a big salty note person.
posted by cendawanita at 8:55 AM on May 9, 2022

Best answer: "Thokku" isn't quite the normal Indian pickle. I'm pretty sure it's specific to South India and it's often made with onions/spices/oil and a core vegetable (like mangos (?), eggplant or tomatoes). To use it, basically, small quantities of "thokku" are good to flavor bland things.

Traditionally, with Indian meals, you can eat thokku in a couple of different ways:
- Mix a little bit of thokku with cooked white rice (just a little will flavor the rice quite well), and you can also add in some roasted peanuts for a crunch,
- Add some yogurt/raita to rice and use the thokku as a pickle-type-thing on the side to add some extra flavor in,
- Have it with naan/roti/chapati/dosa as a condiment/relish/chutney/dipping-sauce-type thing when you need a little extra flavor.
Source: my mom!

With western dishes, I imagine thokku might might be good with an omelette or eggs, or with toast and cheese?
posted by watrlily at 3:43 AM on May 11, 2022

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