My grandmother’s and mother’s kitchen shelves are lined with an array of cylindrical ceramic jars containing different varieties of mango pickles. Of course, the famed ‘Avakaya’ stands majestic occupying the largest jar (‘avakaya jaadi’) of the lot while the lesser known yet delectable pickles stored in the smaller elegant jars. In one of those jars is a gem of a pickle and a regional classic, Bellam Avakai aka Teepi Avakaya, a sweet mango pickle prepared by North Coastal Andhraites. Though Avakaaya is the most beloved mango pickle to us Andhras, folks from Krishna and Guntur districts would express their profound love for the hot fiery mango pickle varieties while the coastal Andhraites for the sweet mango pickles.
At our home we prepare a sweet instant pickle with grated mango that needs to be refrigerated. Dried mango slices, chilli powder, methi powder and jaggery are the ingredients which go into its making. This recipe is more by way of ‘andaz’ with no fixed measurement of ingredients. If the mangoes are more sour, we just need to increase use of jaggery and vice versa. Makes a great accompaniment to curd rice and tiffins like upma. I also use it as a salad dressing by mixing with curd.