Pickles & Thokku.

Maavadu / Vadu Maanga (Baby Mangoes soaked in brine flavoured with mild spices.)



Baby Mangoes here in the U.S? No way, I could not believe my eyes. I looked again and sure enough I saw a little basket with baby mangoes all green and fresh waiting to be picked!!!  It brought back wonderful memories of Madras, of summers, of Madurai amma and her home….Every summer, as soon as Maduraiamma hears from the local vegetable vendors, that the mangoes have hit the market, she would announce that it was indeed time that we went for the annual mango picking. We would then leave from home to Ranganathan Street, and return with a bag full of the choicest green baby mangoes. Then began the process of washing then and cleaning them induvidually and allowing them to air dry for some time. Then Madurai amma would prepare the spices that would go along with the brine and pickle the mangoes in huge ceramic pickle jars, and allow them to soak up the salt and the spices. After a few days, she would take out a small portion for us to try and leave it on the kitchen countertop.  Whenever D and me used to walk by, we would pop a mango in to our mouths….The tastes of the salt, the chillies, the crunchiness of the mango would all explode in our mouths….The smell of the Maavadu itself would keep wafting from the kitchen now and then. Madurai amma would seal the huge ceramic “Jadis” and stove them away for the entire year. Whenever the little bottle would get empty, she would replenish from the jar for uninterrupted Maavadu supply throughout the year…

There is a definite difference from the KaduManga which is the much spicier version. Maavadu on the other hand is more mild and can be eaten just like that. Here my recipe tries to showcase the traditional Maavadu recipe modified with the powder salt and spices available here in the U.S.


25-28 Baby Mangoes.

7-8 red chillies.

1/4 cup of salt NOT filled to the brim.

A spoon of raw mustard.

A pinch of hing.

2-3 spoons of water.


  • Clean all the mangoes well under the tap and put them in a collander to drain for some time. Wipe them and allow the mangoes to air dry.
  • Grind the salt, mustard, hing  and  red chillies with a little water in to a coarse paste.
  • Arrange the mangoes in a glass/ceramic container.
Raw baby mangoes coated with the ground paste.
Raw baby mangoes coated with the ground paste.
  • Slowly scoop a spoon of the ground paste and pour it over the mangoes as shown.
  • Once all the paste is scooped on the mangoes, close the lid, give it a quick shake and allow to soak for 2-3 days.
  • Add a few spoons of water to the mixer container and add this also over the mangoes.
  • Twice everyday, mix all the mangoes so that the ones below come up and the baby mangoes on top go down.
  • The salt that is in the ground paste, brings out the water that’s inherently present in the mangoes.
  • Depending on where you live, the mangoes take their time to soak up the flavours and ready to be eaten.
  • In tropical countries, it would hardly take 2-3 days. For me , it took a good one week .
  • Yummy, tasty,fragrant Maavadu is ready to be eaten as a side with Keerai Molagootal , Pumpkin Molagootal or simple Curd Rice.


Packing these juicy crunchy Vadu Maangas to the Mango Mela event running housefull at Srivalli`s Cooking 4 all seasons.

Mango Mela