This absolutely delicious pickle from western India takes time and effort to make but the results are well worth it! Traditionally, the pickle is kept out in the sun for 20-30 days to 'cook'. Each day it is given a good stir, covered and placed in a sunny spot, then brought indoors at dusk. The sun makes the sugar in it melt to a syrupy consistency and the grated mango turns transparent! Since most of us don't have the time and sometimes the sun (!) required to do this, here is a quick and less time consuming version of the recipe.
- 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 kilogram mangoes (raw, sour; peeled, seeds removed; cut 1 cupful into 1" cubes and grate the rest.)
- 7 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1-1/2 kilogram sugar
- 2 tablespoons red chilli powder
Put a griddle or flat pan on medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and roast, stirring often, till fragrant and slightly darker. Remove from heat and grind into a coarse powder. Keep aside for later use.
Put the cut and grated mango, salt and turmeric powder into a large plastic mixing bowl. Mix well and leave for 30 minutes. At the end of this time, put the lot into a muslin cloth, tie and hang to allow all the liquid/ water to drain out. This water/ liquid is not required in the recipe so you can discard it.
Once the water is drained, put the grated mango back into the mixing bowl and add the sugar to it. Use a wooden spoon to mix the two together till all the sugar is dissolved. This can take some time and effort.
Once the sugar is dissolved, put the mango-sugar mixture into a large, heavy-bottomed pan and set up to cook on medium heat. Stir often till the sugar turns syrupy. I should get to a one-thread consistency. Add red chilli powder and cumin powder, stir well and remove the Chunda from fire immediately. This step is crucial as over-cooking will make the sugar crystalize later! Take a look at my article on Making Sugar Syrup for more information.
Allow to cool and then put into a sterilized jar. Store for up to one month and eat with almost anything! Chunda tastes great with plain rice, Chapatis (Indian flatbread), Parathas (pan fried Indian flatbread), Thepla (fenugreek flatbread ), in sandwiches....