Ugadi & Mango Chutney
Celebrating the onset of a new year in South of India – Ugadi
In India, festivals are celebrated on dates governed by the Hindu calendar.
23rd March is Ugadi or Yugadi – this is the onset of the new age and celebrated as the New Year celebration particularly in the state of Karnataka and other Indian states with the festival names and ways of celebrating differing in slight aspects.
If you visit anybody’s home on the morning of Ugadi, you will be given a mixture of fresh neem leaves and crushed jaggery; also called Bevu Bella. For those who have not tasted a neem leaf or chewed on the stems of a neem tree (supposed to be very good for the health of your teeth and gums), it tastes quite bitter. Jaggery; of course is sweet. So Bevu Bella basically signifies that we celebrate this New Year and acknowledge that life will be full of bitter and sweet experiences and that we embrace it!
So today I decided to make something special to eat, something close to what my mother in law would make if we were back home. This is especially for my husband who would probably miss it much more than I, since I belong to a different part of the country and these celebrations were unknown to me before marriage. Nevertheless I enjoy the different festivals and especially the fantastic cuisines that one gets to experience in varying cultures.
On the agenda was –
(a) Mango chutney (a sticky sweet and tangy chutney made from a mango that is not fully ripe)
(b) Bissi Bele Bhath (Hot dal, rice and vegetable mix)
(c) Batata Vada ( Round & spicy deep fried balls made of gram flour and stuffed with potato and other ingredients)
Barring (b), I had never tried the Mango Chutney and the Batata Vada but looking up the recipies on the internet was easy and so were the instructions.
Ingredients for Mango Chutney
Mango - ripe but firm
1 or 2 small sticks
3-4 small or 1-2 big
2 tsp (fresh or paste)
1 -2 cloves crushed
Demerara sugar or Jaggery
3/4 cup crushed or powdered
Dry Red chillies
Salt to taste
based on preferred consistency
The Mango Chutney is a very neutral dish and I believe it goes very well with Spanish Rice and Roast chicken. It can be used as a glaze for any roast meat that you might be cooking.
Steps for making the chutney are :
- Wash, peel and chop the mango into small pieces.
- Take a few cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and cumin seeds and mix them together in a small piece of muslin cloth and tie a knot to make a small tight bundle.
- Next, place the mango pieces, the spice bundle, ginger and garlic and ¾ cup water in a pan and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes till the mango pieces become tender and some may even break.
- Grate or powder ½-3/4 cup Jaggery or Demerara sugar (depending how sweet you need it to be) and add to the mango mixture.
- Add one whole and one broken dry red chilli to the mixture.
- Add salt to taste.
- Lastly add ½ cup vinegar (I used white vinegar) to the chutney mixture.
- Keep stirring and cooking this for the next 30-35 minutes till the texture is a sticky viscous sort.
- Do taste to check for salt, sweet, chilli and tanginess and add salt, jaggery or water depending on what you prefer.
- Remove the spice bundle once done, you can squeeze out the juices off it once it is cool and add to the chutney. It adds great flavour to the dish.
It has come out quite yummy and I am very happy with the results.
Here is the link I found it at.
You should try it!
I’m off to make the other two items on the agenda.
Wishing everyone a good year and time ahead. Be safe and healthy.