Chandrika’s garlic pickle

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Chandrika K. Ganatra, ‘specialist in dinner rolls, squashes, Punjabi dishes and pickles’ says her card. She takes me barefoot across a floor tiled in blue and terracotta and sits me at her table. Spices, mangoes and a Pandora’s box of unfamiliar ingredients sit in neat rows upon the patterned plastic cloth. Her bracelets jangle as she flutters her hands over bowls of saffron and cardamom syrup. Then I taste her pickle - made with the smallest of green mangoes, weeny cloves of garlic massaged with salt, turmeric, hing (a powdered resin, asafoetida), mustard powder, ground methi seeds (fenugreek) and chilli, and moistened with oil and a dab of castor oil. It’s a winner.


  • 2 unripe green mangoes, or 6 unwaxed lemons/limes, washed
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp asafoetida (optional)
  • 3 tbsp coursely ground mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp coursely ground fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 head garlic (preferably small cloves), separated into cloves and peeled
  • 3 tbsp salt ½


Cut the mangoes or lemons or limes into small chunks, leaving the skin on and discard the mango stones. Heat the oil with all the spices until it wafts fragrant, then toss through the chunks of fruit, garlic and the salt, and remove from the heat. Put the mixture into a lidded container (such as a jar), then leave it in a coolish place for about 10 days. Try and remember to turn it upside down every now and then to give everything a fresh coating of the mix. It will keep refrigerated for a couple of months or so.