Bafaenu — Ripe Mango Pickle
Ripe Mangoes a great favourite in India are preserved by the Parsi Zorastrian Community as’ Bafaenu’ as in the recipe below. If carefully made, handled and stored in a cool dry place, it can last for over a year.
25 ripe but firm mangoes about the size of your palm,
Preferably Bulsar Alfonsos mangoes;
2 kg approx (2 Ser) jaggery;
900 gms (1/2 seer) mustard powder, preferably ground at home;
260 gms kilo (1/4 seer) garlic coarse paste;
750ml (1 seer) vinegar, preferably Sugar cane vinegar;
250 ml (1 pav) a *cooking oil of your choice;
60 Gms (5 Tola) salt;
60 Gms (1 chatak) Red Chili powder;
60 Gms (1 chatak) turmeric powder;
60 Gms (1 chatak) black pepper;
60 Gms (1 chatak) cumin;
Wash the mangoes;
**Steam the mangoes the mangoes still soft
When fully cooked and soft, remove the mangoes from the steamer;
Spread them out to dry;
In the meantime, mix the mustard in half the quantity of vinegar;
Let the mustard mature in the vinegar;
Once the mustard is mature add the rest of the vinegar and the coarsely ground garlic, black pepper and cumin, turmeric powder, chili powder, and salt;
The mangoes should by now be dry, check for any remaining moisture (the slightest moisture will cause fungus to form and ruin the pickle);
Place the mangoes in a jar Of China clay or in a glass jar;
Break up the Jaggery into small bits and sprinkle all of it as you lay each layer of mangoes in the jar;
Pour the vinegar mixture over the mangoes;
DO NOT MIX OR STIR IN ANY FORM WHATSOEVER that is likely to break the mangoes and destroy the pickle;
Close the bottle with an air- tight lid;
Tie a piece of cheese clothes or Muslin cloth on the lid;
Every 5 days open the jar and bring the bottom-most mangoes to the top;
Thus evenly marinating and pickling the mangoes;
Do this thrice: i.e. 3 times in the next 15 days;
Then let it rest for a further 15 days to complete the pickling process.
At the end of 30ndays, the pickle is now ready to eat.
Please DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HASTEN THE PROCESS by using a stove to cook the mangoes in the vinegar marinade.
This will destroy the vinegar marinade and may even turn bitter.
* Then they used home drawn unrefined peanut oil.
**In the days this recipe was noted down, long before kitchen gadgets were easily available, my granny had once spoken of how my great-great-Grandma used a laborious process of boiling water in a huge vessel, fitting a sieve of exact size on the boiling vessel, ensuring that the rim of the sieve hooked completely onto the rim of the vessel, then as the water started to steam and enough steam built up, placed the mangoes in the sieve, while ensuring that one’s hands do not suffer steam-burns while not damaging the mangoes, also , ensure the boiling water does not rise high enough to wet the sieve (no water must touch the mangoes) then sealing the entire apparatus with a large enough lid.