Kaachi keri ane dungli nu kachumbar is a salad made out of raw mango and onion, typically made in Gujarati homes during the summer. It is said to have cooling properties, helping to protect one against the dry, hot summer winds that are characteristic of Gujarat. With its sweet and sour taste, this salad used to be a favourite of mine back home. A Gujarati friend taught Amma how to make it, post which it became a regular fixture in my office lunch box. It was kind of forgotten after I moved to Bangalore – I was reminded of it recently while thinking of dishes to cook up for my Raw Mango Series.
I recreated this dish today for lunch, purely out of memory. It turned out delicious, making for a lovely accompaniment to the rotis and curry that I had. Oh-so-easy to make, it is quite the flavour bomb. Also, the Gujaratis believe that this relish helps protect one against the ill effects of the hot, hot, hot sun in the months of summer.
Ingredients (makes enough for 2, as a side dish):
1 medium-sized raw mango
1 medium-sized onion
Black (rock) salt, to taste
Red chilli powder, to taste
Cumin powder, to taste
Powdered jaggery, to taste
1. Peel the raw mango and grate it. Keep aside.
2. Chop the onions length-wise. Keep aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, take the grated raw mango and chopped onions. Add salt, cumin powder, red chilli powder and powdered jaggery to taste. Mix well.
4. Let the salad rest, covered, for about 15 minutes, before serving. This is an important step, which I wouldn’t advise to skip. The resting time allows the onions to mellow down and water, and the different flavours to merge together beautifully.
5. A totapuri or any other variety of raw mango that isn’t extremely sour is perfect to make this dish.
- I prefer chopping the onion length-wise for this dish, but feel free to chop them finely if you want them that way. You could even grate the onions.
- This salad is meant to be very, very simple, with only a few ingredients involved. I know of people who would even skip the cumin powder – the relish tastes great with it, but tastes good without as well.
- Feel free to add some finely chopped coriander to the relish, if you want to. It tastes great without, as well.
- Rock salt aka black salt (‘sanchal’ in Gujarati) is the best kind of salt to use in this dish. It elevates the flavour of the relish to a whole new level. If you don’t have it, however, you could use ordinary table salt instead.
I love how this Series is taking me places in my memory, making me cook dishes from different parts of the country. 🙂 One can never underestimate the power of food in unifying people!