If there is one thing that people associate with Andhra Pradesh, it is this simply awesome pickle called Avakai or Avakaya. It is omnipresent in most Andhra households and many homes have several variations of it; regular Avakai, Bellam Avakai, Endu Avakai, with Garlic, with Senagalu (whole Bengal gram)….

Avakaya or Avakai mixed with rice and ghee - Avakai Annam

Every Andhra waits for Kotta Avakai or freshly made Avakai. Kotta Avakai Ruchi or the taste of fresh avakai is what summer is all about. We take Avakaya and mix it with hot steaming rice and ghee. That is it. Heaven on earth! 🙂

Ava-kai literally means raw fruit (kai) with mustard (ava), so the stars of this recipe are the raw mango and the mustard powder.

This recipe was first posted in 2017 and has been updated several times since. I have again updated it with more tips. Do not let the tips intimidate you. It is just my attempt to pass on all the knowledge I inherited from my Mom and Grandmother.

My Mother and Grandmother’s Tips for Making the Perfect Avakai

  • Choosing the perfect mangoes
    • Mangoes should dark green, firm and do not have a hard seed.
    • The mangoes should be tangy/sour.
    • The mangoes should not be juicy.
      • Juicy mangoes would mean the pickle will spoil quickly.
      • If you get juicy mangoes, sun dry them till the moisture dries a bit. Be careful that the pieces do not become tough. If you do this, you may need a bit more oil than I have mentioned.
  • Chopping the mangoes
    • First it needs a heavy duty chopper than can cut through the seed. Most Indian markets that sell raw mangoes for pickles will have some people who chop the mangoes for you.
    • Ensure that the mango pieces are chopped such that each piece has a part of the kernel or “dippa” as we call it in Telugu. If you use pieces without the kernel, the Avakai will not preserve well.
    • Check each piece of mango to ensure that it has the kernel. You can set aside those pieces without the kernel and make temporary Avakai.
  • Ensure everything is bone dry
    • When making Avakai, the space in which you make it and everything you use should be bone dry.
    • We normally wash and sundry the ceramic jars a couple of days in advance. Typically, we keep the jar (bharani) under bright sunlight for 8-10 hours.
    • Ensure every spatula and vessel you use is dry. I use steel vessels and spatulas to make avakai and so warm them slightly on open flame to remove any residual moisture and then let them cool completely.
  • Storing the Avakaya
    • The way we store this pickle is to close the lid of the jar tightly and then wrap a clean, dry cotton cloth around the mouth of the jar.
    • The jar should not be opened very often. Transfer Avakai for regular use into a separate bottle and use from this bottle.
    • Avoid opening the main jar during monsoon or in humid atmosphere.
  • About the Ingredients
    • In our home, we make the Ava Podi or Mustard Powder by grinding mustard seeds, though you could use readymade mustard powder as well. The idea of making Ava Podi just before mixing the Avakai is that it retains the fresh taste and smell.
    • We also use unrefined, cold-pressed Sesame or Til oil because that is what gives the richest taste.

Ok, ok, I will now stop with my do’s and dont’s. 🙂 Believe you me, all the care you take will be worth the effort.

Recipe for Some More Andhra Mango Pickles

Here are recipes for two more Andhra mango pickles that have a long-shelf life of a year or more:

Recipe for Some Instant Mango Pickles

While you are waiting for the Avakai to pickle properly, do try my recipes for:

How to Make Avakai or Avakaya

Ingredients

  1. Mamidikaya or Raw Mangoes Pieces (Cut into pieces) – 2 Kgs
  2. Avalu or Mustard Seeds – 300 gms
  3. Kharam or Red Chilli Powder – 300 gms
  4. Uppu or Salt – 175 gms
  5. Unrefined Nuvvula Nuni, Sesame Oil, Til Oil or Gingelly Oil – 1.25 litre
  6. Sengalu or Whole Bengal Gram – 50 gms (optional)
    Or
    Peeled Garlic Cloves – 50 gms (optional)
  7. Menthulu or Fenugreek Seeds – 2 tbsp

Method

  1. Getting the Jar Ready for Storage
    1. Wash and completely dry ceramic or glass jar of 4 kg or 4 litre capacity.  See Tips above.
  2. Getting the Oil Ready
    1. Heat the oil and then let it cool completely to room temperature. Once again, we do this about 2 hours before we start making the pickle to ensure that the oil is cold when we add it to the pickle. If the oil is warm, then condensation will form when you add it to the pickle and the pickle will spoil.
      • If you are using freshly bought oil from a can or a packet, then you can skip this step. This step is is from olden times, when households used to store oil or get it fresh from the oil mill. Heating and cooling the oil ensures that the moisture content in it evapourates.  
  3. Getting the Mango Pieces Ready
    1. Clean each piece of mango with a clean, dry, soft cotton cloth.
      1. Discard all the seeds, even the bits that remain attached to the mango pieces. 
      2. Examine each piece carefully to ensure that it is just perfect. Kernel intact, no holes, no sign of ripeness, etc.
    2. Now, spread the mango pieces on a dry cloth or paper for about 15 minutes to air-dry. You can also dry them under the sun.
  4. Getting the Mustard Powder Ready
    1. Grind the mustard seeds to a coarse powder.
  5. Making the Avakaya | Avakai
    1. In a large and absolutely dry vessel, mix the mustard powder, chilli powder, salt, fenugreek seeds, and bengal gram/garlic cloves.
    2. Using a dry spatula, mix all the spices well.
    3. Now, add the mango pieces to this dry spice mix and mix well.
    4. Gradually add 1/2 the sesame oil to the mango-spice mix.
    5. With an absolutely dry spatula, mix well till all the mango pieces are covered with the masala and the oil.
    6. Put the Avakai into the jar and pour the remaining oil onto the pickle.
    7. Seal the jar completely.
    8. Store the jar in a dry location for at least 2 weeks.
    9. Mix the Avakai with a gentle hand and an absolutely dry spatula once in 2 or 3 days.
    10. Top with some more sesame oil, if required.
  6. Using the Avakai
    1. Using a bone dry spatula, transfer the required amount of Avakai to a smaller bottle.
    2. Use the Avakai from this bottle. 
  7. Serve Avakai with hot rice and ghee, or as a side to Curd Rice.
Kotta Avakai Annam

Recipe for Avakai: The Raw Mango and Mustard Pickle from Andhra Pradesh

How to Make Avakai or Avakaya - Andhra Raw Mango and Mustard Powder Pickle

Avakai | Avakaya: The Mango and Mustard Pickle from Andhra Pradesh

Aruna
This is the recipe for Avakai, the legendary Andhra mango and mustard pickle. In this recipe, I have used weights as the measure for every ingredient so that you have a failproof recipe for Avakaya.
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Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Pickling Time 10 d
Total Time 10 d 1 hr 30 mins
Course Pickle
Cuisine Andhra Pradesh, Indian
Equipment
  • 4 kg Ceramic or Glass Jar
  • Mixer-Grinder
  • Spatula
  • Large Vessel of 4 kg capacity
Ingredients
  
  • 2 kgs Mamidikaya Mukkalu, Raw Mangoes Pieces
  • 300 gms Avalu, Mustard Seeds
  • 300 gms Kharam, Red Chilli Powder
  • 175 gms Uppu, Salt
  • 2 tbsp Menthulu or Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1.5 litres Chekka Nuvvula Nuni, Unrefined Sesame Oil, Til Oil
  • 50 gms Sengalu or Whole Bengal Gram (optional)
  • 50 gms Peeled Garlic Cloves (option (optional)
Instructions
 
Getting the Jar Ready for Storage
  • Wash and completely dry ceramic or glass jar of 4 kg or 4 litre capacity. The jar must be bone dry so we normally sun-dry it for a couple of days.
Getting the Oil Ready
  • Heat 1.5 litres of sesame oil and then let it cool completely to room temperature. Once again, we do this about 2 hours before we start making the pickle to ensure that the oil is cold when we add it to the pickle. If the oil is warm, then condensation will form when you add it to the pickle and the pickle will spoil.
Getting the Mango Pieces Ready
  • Clean each piece of mango with a clean, dry, soft cotton cloth.
  • Spread the mango pieces on a dry cloth or paper for about 15 minutes to air-dry. You can also dry them under the sun.
Getting the Mustard Powder Ready
  • Grind 300 gms of mustard seeds to a coarse powder.
Making the Avakaya | Avakai
  • In a large and absolutely dry vessel, mix the mustard powder, chilli powder, salt, fenugreek seeds, and bengal gram/garlic cloves.
  • Using a dry spatula, mix all the spices well.
  • Add the mango pieces to this dry spice mix and mix well.
  • Gradually add 1/2 the sesame oil to the mango-spice mix.
  • With an absolutely dry spatula, mix well till all the mango pieces are covered with the masala and the oil.
  • Put the Avakai into the jar and pour the remaining oil onto the pickle.
  • Close the jar and ensure it is air-tight.
  • Store the jar in a dry location for at least 2 weeks.
  • After two weeks, using an absolutely dry spatula, mix the Avakai with a gentle hand.
  • Top with some more sesame oil, if required.
Using the Avakai
  • Using an absolutely dry spatula, transfer the required amount of Avakai to a smaller bottle.
  • Use the Avakai from this bottle.
  • Serve Avakai with hot rice and ghee, or as a side to Curd Rice.
Keyword Andhra Mango and Mustard Pickle, Andhra Mango Pickle, Avakai, Avakaya, Instant Mango Pickle
Tried this recipe?Do let me know how you liked it @aahaaram or tag #aahaaram!

I would love to hear from you!

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