What Is the Origin of Pickled Mangoes?

What Is the Origin of Pickled Mangoes?

You haven’t experienced culinary bliss until you’ve had your first pickled mangoes.

A mango pickle can be a flavor foundation for a variety of different culinary styles. Commercially canned products tend to be a bit spicy with overt tones of vinegar. When you get them from India, you get some mustard flavors and hot spices.

You can serve pickled mangoes over rice, place them in hot sauces, or eat them straight from the jar!

When you make them Hawaiian-style, you can find them a little sweet and a little sour. The secret to a successful recipe is to use sliced green mango, a preferred vinegar, and natural sweetness (or bitter tones) that create red coloration to avoid using artificial food coloring if you don’t want them clear. You can use a little il hing mui if you prefer.

It Needs to Be Crunchy to Be Good

You can find about as many recipes for pickled mangoes in rural Hawaii as you can for apple pie on the mainland. The one quality that you want to have is crispness.

When pickled mangoes spend too long in the jar, the product can get mushy and slick. Although some people like them that way, the best recipes tend to add a little calcium and magnesium through unrefined sea salt to maintain the crunch. Hibiscus flowers can deepen the rosy color while enhancing the flavor.

It only takes a day in the vinegar to make pickled mangoes. You can store them for several weeks in your refrigerator – assuming that you don’t eat them all first!

The First Pickled Mangoes Came from India

Although you can find pickled mango recipes that are several generations old here in Hawaii, the first effort to make this tasty dish comes from India.

Pickling in India is a tradition with almost 4,000 years of technique behind it. Although the first food to go through this transformative process was likely the cucumber, written cookbooks from the 16th century include the pickled mango.

Mango is still served at almost every meal in the northern states of India. A traditional meal combines a small piece with each bite of food. Some even mix it with plain rice to enjoy the spicy, tangy, and sometimes sweet ingredient.

Hawaii’s Traditions with the Mango Pickle

If you attend a traditional luau during your time in Honolulu, pickled mangoes are going to be part of that spread.

The luau is an ancient social gathering ritual that celebrates life events in the community. Its goal was to unite the people by recognizing victories, achievements, or even the launching of a new canoe.

King Kamehameha II changed Hawaiian culture in 1819 when he abolished traditional religious practices. He chose to eat with women (taboo at the time), creating the modern luau. This one cultural change also permitted “commoners” to eat specific delicacies that were once off-limits.

Pickled mangoes give you a taste of Hawaiian history with each bite. Hopefully, it is a crunchy one!

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