Magai | Magaya: The Andhra Sun-Dried Mango Pickle with Fenugreek
In many Andhra homes, Magai (or Magaya) is a mango pickle that is a must-have. This sun-dried mango pickle flavoured with fenugreek is tangy and spicy. Not only do we eat it as a pickle, we also make two pachadis (chutneys) and a dal with it.
A Ceramic/Glass Bottle - 1 Large (about 3 Kg capacity; sterilised, bone-dry)
200Gms Fenugreek Seeds
Stage 1: Sun-drying the Mango
Buy medium-sized mangoes which are deep green and firm. These tend to be sour and are used for pickling.
Wipe the mangoes clean with a soft, dry, cotton cloth.
Peel the mangoes and cut into thin long (2") strips.
Add 3 tbsp salt and turmeric.
Mix well, and transfer to the ceramic or glass bottle.
Close and set aside for 3 to 4 days. You will find that the liquid starts seeping out of the mangoes.
On the 3rd for 4th day, separate the mango pieces and juice:
Take small handfuls of the marinated mango pieces and squeeze the juice from them.
Transfer the pieces into a separate vessel. Now you have the juice and pieces separated.
Spread the mango pieces on a plastic sheet or dry cotton cloth.
Sun-dry the mango pieces for about 3 days or till the mango pieces lose the moisture but are not very stiff.
Also, sun-dry the juice for a day or two. I take the lid off the bottle and just let the juice sun-dry in the container so that it becomes a bit concentrated.
Stage 2: Getting the Oil Ready
In a large, heavy-bottomed kadhai, heat the gingelly oil to a medium temperature.
Add about mustard seeds and wait till they sputter.
Turn off the heat.
Add the red chillies and asafoetida.
Let the oil cool completely to room temperature. Do not cover as this will lead to condensation.
Stage 3: Getting the Spices Ready
Over low flame, in a heavy bottomed kadhai, dry roast the fenugreek seeds till they change color. It is important that you do this over a low flame because the fenugreek seeds must get roasted on the inside as well. If you use a high-flame, then the seeds will roast only on the outside.
Let the fenugreek seeds cool completely to room temperature and grind to a fine powder.
Grind the rest of the mustard seeds to a fine powder.
Stage 4: Mixing the Magai Pickle
Add the dried mango pieces to the juice and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes. Add small quantities of the juice and mix. You should add just enough of the concentrated juice to ensure that the pieces become soft. There should be no extra liquid sloshing around. Discard any extra juice you may have.
Add chilli powder, fenugreek powder, mustard powder, and salt to the mango pieces. Mix well.
Add the completely cooled oil, chillies and mustard seeds, and mix well.
Stage 5: The Pickling
Transfer to the glass or ceramic bottle and let the Magai pickle for about 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, the pickle is ready to eat.
Stage 6: Using Magai
Serve Magai with some hot rice and sesame oil.
Mash a spoon of Magai and mix it in 1 cup of yogurt. This serves as a pachadi/chutney and can be served with dosa.
Grind 2 tsp of Magai with 1/4 cup of jaggery, and this is a sweet and tangy chutney as well.