I love Bengali-style pickles and chutneys. Bengali spice blends used for making pickles have a distinct flavour and are highly aromatic, yet not overpowering. This unique vegetarian and vegan salad is one of my signature recipes using traditional Bengali pickling ingredients. Each bite of this salad offers freshness, tartness, sweetness and spice… all in one bowl! The mustard oil and Kasundi add a pungent kick that gives more Bengali character and flavour to this Mango Salad with Bengali Pickle Dressing.
In India, each state has a variety of their unique pickles. Each state uses different spice blends or masalas for the pickles. Even the technique to make these Indian pickles may vary. For making pickles or chutneys, Bengalis love using a mixture of coarsely ground roasted cumin and red chillies, as much as they love dry-roasted Paanch Phoron and Kaalo Jeere (Nigella seeds). Recipes with pickles or pickling masalas are varied, too! We have so many Indian dishes that use pickles in the recipe. My recent Dahi ke Kebab recipe, for instance, has Chundo in it, which is a sweet mango pickle from Gujarat. Then there are “Achaari” dishes, like Achaari Aloo, etc., which use pickles or pickle oil in their recipes. Pickles are so versatile!
How to Make Paanch Phoron at Home
Indian five spices (Paanch Phoron) is easily available in Indian grocery stores. If not, buy the five spices separately and then mix together. The spices are mustard seeds (Rye in Hindi), onion seeds (Kalonji, Kaalo jeere or Mangrel), fenugreek seeds (Methi), fennel seeds (Saunf) and cumin seeds (Jeera). Keep the amount of fenugreek seeds lower to prevent the powder getting bitter. I used 1 tbsp each of mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds and ½ tbsp each of onion seeds and fenugreek seeds, respectively, to make my paanch phoron for this pickle.
Mangoes, Mangoes, Mangoes… why can’t we ever be satisfied even after gorging them throughout the summers? In Mumbai, we are lucky enough to get a good supply of some the best Indian mangoes. Although the Alphonso season has ceased, we are still getting mangoes like Langda and Totapuri. We particularly love semi-ripe totapuris for their excellent flavour and less fibre. Semi-ripe Totapuri mangoes are great for salads, particularly in this Mango Salad, as the pickle dressing and mustard oil really complement the semi-sweet mangoes and slightly bitter salad leaves. All-in-all, it is a complex package of flavours and a remarkable Indian (Bengali) pickle-inspired salad!
The pic of my Mango Salad with Bengali Pickle Dressing appeared on Mid-Day Newspaper today! Also, the recipe of Kimchi Bokkeumbap, a Korean-style Kimchi Fried Rice with Chicken/Pork was published in the same article. You can read more about Kimchi and Kimchi Bokkeumbap by clicking here.
As many readers have asked for this recipe, here’s one of the family-favourite salad recipe from my home kitchen: Mango Salad with Bengali Pickle Dressing is truly mouth-watering!
Mango Salad with Bengali Pickle Dressing
- 170 g Semi-ripe, firm Totapuri mango (sliced) (This is one big Totapuri, minus the seed.)
- 2 Shallots (finely sliced)
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Sugar
- 3 Pinches Turmeric powder (Best is to use raw turmeric paste.)
- 1/8 tsp Red chilli powder
- ½ tsp Paanch Phoron (This is a Bengali spice. Read the blogpost to know how to make your own Paanch Phoron at home.)
- ½ tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 Medium-sized dry red chilli (snipped into small pieces)
- ½ tsp Fennel seeds
- 60 g Aampapad (mango leather)
- 50 g Fresh Roquette/Arugula/Lettuce leaves (roughly torn)
- ¾ tbsp Mustard oil
- 1 tbsp Kasundi (Bengali mustard sauce)
- Marinate the mango slices with shallots, salt, sugar, turmeric powder and red chilli powder for 30 min.
- Meanwhile, make the Bengali pickle masala. Lightly dry-roast Paanch Phoron, cumin seeds, dry red chilli and fennel seeds. When the spices give out aroma, then switch off the gas and transfer this into a small bowl. Allow the spices to come at room temperature. Grind to a slightly coarse powder. Keep aside.
- Take a big bowl and add the marinated mangoes (along with the tangy marinade). Chop the Aampapad into small cubes and mix into the marinated mangoes.
- Add 1 tsp of the Bengali pickle masala. (You may add ½ tsp more if you like the salad spicier.)
- Add the mustard oil, Kasundi and the salad leaves into the bowl and toss well before serving.