DIY Food

How to Make Spicy Indian Mango Pickles

July 15, 2014

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Nik from A Brown Table puts unripe mangoes to use in a spicy condiment that's easy to make and even easier to enjoy. 

Spicy Mango Pickle

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Summer's arrival brings much excitement, and for me, there is no greater delight than the bounty of fresh mangoes. I love to eat ripe mangoes by themselves or in desserts, but I also use unripe mangoes in savory dishes -- most commonly, in traditional Indian relishes or "pickles."

This recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare a spicy mango pickle that makes a great accompaniment to any Indian dish. There’s not much to it aside from shredding the mangoes, chopping a few ingredients, and shaking everything together in a large jar

More: Cool your mouth down with Cilantro Coconut Chutney

Spicy Mango Pickle

Fresh chilies make this pickle spicy, but feel free to adjust the amount you use according to your taste. Serve this dish as a side to any meal, or stuff it into sandwiches layered with roasted vegetables, barbecued meat, or pulled pork.

More: Buy extra mangoes and use them in salads, desserts, and condiments.

I’ve noticed that some varieties of unripe mangoes can be slightly sweet, and this natural sugar balances the heat of the chilies. If your unripe mango is not sweet, however, mix 1/2 teaspoon of honey or palm sugar with the rest of the ingredients. 

Spicy Indian Mango Pickle

Makes 3 cups

2 large raw green mangoes (the more sour, the better)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 red Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
3 green Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons mint leaves, freshly chopped
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and julienned
5 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

Trim the stems off the mangoes, cut each in half, and remove and discard the pit, leaving the skin on the mango. 

You can shred the mangoes with either a mandoline or a food processor. With a mandoline, adjust the blade to the finest shredding setting and make sure to use the safety attachment to protect your hands. With a food processor, cut the mango lengthwise into large pieces and shred them using the blade attachment. You should get 2 1/2 to 3 cups of shredded mango. 

In a 1-liter mason jar or mixing bowl, add the fresh lime juice, chili peppers, mint, ginger, cloves, cumin, and salt. Seal the mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Add the shredded mango to the mason jar, fix the lid, and shake vigorously several times to coat the mango shreds completely. 

Spicy Mango Pickle

Allow the pickle to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. I prefer to eat this pickle the same day I make it; over time, the spices will mellow and the mint leaves will darken. 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Nik Sharma

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Milton Spalburg
    Milton Spalburg
  • Count Mockula
    Count Mockula
  • creamtea
  • Annette Correia
    Annette Correia
  • Alanna
Nik Sharma is a molecular biologist turned cookbook author and food photographer who writes a monthly column for Serious Eats and the San Francisco Chronicle and is a contributor to the New York Times. His first cookbook, Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food, was a finalist for a James Beard Foundation award and an International Association of Culinary Professionals award. Nik resides in Los Angeles, California and writes the award-winning blog, A Brown Table. Nik's new book, The Flavor Equation will be released in October 2020.


Milton S. April 7, 2019
nik do have a good recipe for indian atjar ?
Count M. July 19, 2014
Interesting! This reminds me of the green papaya salad my Hmong friends make.
Nik S. July 20, 2014
That sounds interesting, I'd love to try it.
creamtea July 16, 2014
I wonder if you could make these a day or two, in advance but leave out the mint leaves until serving time, then use them as a garnish ? Or is it just better eaten the same day?
Nik S. July 20, 2014
I think that might work but I haven't tried it. I do find that the acid kind of mellows the flavor of the spices with time.
Annette C. July 16, 2014
Sounds absolutely delicious, can't wait to try this!!!
Nik S. July 20, 2014
Thank you, Annette! Hope you like it.
Alanna July 16, 2014
This sounds delicious and so refreshing, Nik! I would like a big forkful of this pickle right now (and a lassi to wash it down with). Love these photos!
Nik S. July 20, 2014
Alanna thank you!
Lisa S. July 15, 2014
I have been waiting for this post all my life. Some of my earliest memories are of eating curd rice heaped with mango pickle, and yet, I never bothered to make my own. I have a feeling this will change soon...
Nik S. July 15, 2014
Yay! That makes me really happy, Lisa. This is a much easier and lighter version that's still full of heat and spice.