This Maharashtrian relish is one of those almost-forgotten dishes, I feel. Those ones, which the earlier generation too doesn't think of that often. Anyway the trend in urban Maharashtrian households nowadays is to try out new dishes, from other Indian regions as well as from international cuisines. I am no exception. I am often more eager to cook a totally new ingredient than to cook a familiar ingredient in an unknown way.
It is only thanks to the Jihva for Ingredients event that I went through my recipe books and notes looking for some untried recipes for mangoes. I selected this one because
a) I have never made it before, which means that it is a learning experience.
b) I have eaten it before, which means that I know what the taste should be like.
I am happy that I 'rediscovered' this dish for myself. It can be prepared fast. It stays fresh in the refrigerator for several days. It is versatile; can be eaten with any meal and has a very intense flavour.
Actually, it's worth mentioning that it falls into a catagory, which is called in Marathi 'Tondilavane'. Meaning a relish or chutney, which
- is served and eaten in small quantities with meals, and which
- makes your tastebuds dance even if you have very little of it . :)
The name itself tells you about the two main ingredients : Methi (fenugreek seeds) + Amba (mango). The rest of them are listed below and also featured in the picture.
Recipe for Methamba
Makes about a cup.
Clockwise from right: whole mango, chopped mango, chopped jaggery, red chilli powder, asafoetida powder, turmeric powder, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds
½ cup pieces of raw mango (The mango can be in any stage of ripeness. I have used a quite-ripe-but-still-rather-sour one.)
¼ heaped cup chopped jaggery (The quantity will depend upon the sourness of the mango.)
1 tsp chilli powder (I know it’s a lot, but the relish is meant to have a sharp contrast of sweet and savoury.)
¼ cup water
salt to taste
2 tsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida powder
½ tsp fenugreek seeds, coarsely ground
1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
2. Add asafoetida powder. Add ground fenugreek seeds and wait until they give out their aroma.
3. Add mango pieces. Stir them well, so that they get coated with the seasoning.
4. Add chilli powder and stir again.
5. Add water and cover the pan partly. Let the mango pieces cook in the steam.
6. Now add the jaggery. As mentioned earlier, the preparation IS supposed to have a pronounced sweet taste, so don't worry as to whether you have put too much. Add salt too.
7. Let it simmer for about 8 minutes. The preparation needs to become semi-solid. Once it reaches that consistency, take it off the heat.
8. Let it cool uncovered. Then take it out into a serving bowl.
It keeps fresh outside the fridge for about three days. If stored well-covered in the refrigerator, it should stay fresh for at least a week (which doesn't happen, because it vanishes much before that :).
Serve it with any meal. It goes well with parathas, theplas and ragi dosa too.