Avakaya is a popular Mango Pickle variety from Andhra Cuisine. Made with raw upripe green mangoes, spices and garlic, Avakai is spicy, hot, sour and pungent with a tongue tickling taste that awakens the taste buds. Avakaya is a condiment eaten with almost every meal in traditional Telugu speaking homes. In this post I share the traditional way to make the most popular Andhra Avakaya which you can preserve for a year.
Indian cuisine is diverse and there are numerous ways to prepare every dish. Mango Pickle is made in so many ways across India and every version tastes so much different from the others. Avakaya is from Andhra Cuisine, a Southern Indian cuisine that is synonymous to hot and spicy foods.
The term “Avakaya“, is a blend of two words, where “ava” means “Mustard” and Kaya means “Raw uncooked fruit or vegetable”. In this context it means – raw mangoes with mustard. Basic Avakai is made by simply mixing fresh cut mango pieces with mustard powder, red chilli powder, methi seeds, salt and oil. A lot of people also add garlic and ground methi for a unique flavor.
The prepared mixture is stored in carefully cleaned and sun dried ceramic jars for 3 days. On the 4th day, the pickle is mixed before it goes into the dry cabinet for yearlong preservation.
Making Avakaya is a culinary tradition that has been passed down over generations in every family. Every summer, Telugu speaking homes make this pickle with a lot of excitement and love. A typical everyday Andhra meal is served with avakai. So most families make this in large quantities to last for an year.
The process of making avakai is simple but since it is made in large quantity the pickling process becomes a tedious task. My mom would always make this with 75 to 100 mangoes. I carry a portion of avakai every time I travel back from India. This time I thought of sharing my Mom’s recipe.
There are close to 6 to 8 variations of avakaya, like
- Bellam avakaya – made with jaggery
- Menthi avakaya – with a higher quantity of methi powder
- Endu avakaya – made with sun dried mangoes.
Each version tastes different and has a different flavor. A lot of people make the basic avakaya in large quantity and the others in smaller quantities.
More pickle recipes
Andhra Tomato Pickle
Preparation for Avakaya
To make 1 to 2 days ahead
1. Wash ceramic jars known as Bharani or jaadi or glass bottles thoroughly with diluted dishwashing soap. Make sure no dirt, grease or grim exists. Rinse thoroughly a few times.
Sundry them well until they become hot. In case using glass bottle, make sure they are at least warm. Exposing them to hot sun for very long may also crack them.
After taking away from the sun, allow them to cool down completely so they don’t build up moisture inside. Cover and then set aside in a clean and dry cabinet/shelf.
2. Clean and then sun dry mustard seeds, crystal salt, methi seeds and red chili powder for few hours. This is done to ensure they are moist free. Transfer them to clean and dry jars. Set them in a dry place.
3. Wash thoroughly grinder/mixie jars, 2 large utensils/ mixing bowls, a measuring cup, few spoons, a bowl and 2 large and 2 small cotton clothes. Dry them very well to make sure they are free from moisture. Store these in a dry place.
Mango Cutter or Knife
4. The pickle variety mangoes are very hard and tough to cut them correctly. In most homes men cut these with the help of a special traditional cutter. This kind of mango cutters have a large wooden base and a iron blade cutter with a handle. These are easily available on amazon. It is good to have one if you are making avakai in large quantities.
Since I do not have this, my husband cut it with a large sharp knife. You will have to wash and sun dry the cutter or knife as well.
Note: Keep your nails trimmed, no polish, and no rings on your fingers for hygiene purpose. You will need to use clean and dry hands to mix the spice powders.
Using a ladle or a spoon may not be appropriate, especially if you make in large quantities.
Choosing Mangoes for pickle
Traditionally people go to the mango farms/ trees where they choose and hand pluck the mature mangoes. Mangoes with bruises or those fallen off the tree are not used to pickle. These kind of mangoes will soften often quickly after pickling. This also changes the color and flavor of the pickle faster.
However people who do not have such options buy more mangoes than required and choose the best ones from those. Here is how to select the mangoes:
1. Choose fresh, sour, hard and mature raw mangoes. Special pickle variety mangoes are available in the market. They come in medium size and are dark green in color.
2. Mangoes that have fallen off the trees or the ones with bruises are not suitable to make avakaya. You may use them to make other recipes like Mango rice, Mango dal or this instant Mango pickle.
3. You can also make this mango pickle using any other good sour variety mangoes that are pulpy, but I guess the taste may change after 4 to 6 months.
Preparation for avakaya pachadi
Tips to follow for a good shelf life.
- Make sure your mangoes are very sour else the pickle won’t turn out good.
- Traditionally avakai pickle is made only with 4 cups of cut mango pieces which yields a lot of gravy / oota in Telugu. It is good for a family who eat lot of this hot and spicy gravy. We specifically in my Mom’s home do not eat so much of the gravy so we use 6 cups of pieces. So the proportion of gravy per piece of mango is less. To put in simple terms – “4 cups yields less mango pieces with more gravy, 5 to 6 cups yield more pieces with just a moderate amount of gravy”. My MIL and my other extended families prepare with 4 cups of pieces. I have eaten that as well. It tastes a bit more pungent and strong. It is up to you how much you want.
- You can use any cup size but make sure you use the same cup for measuring all the ingredients. If using more mangoes, use a larger cup or bowl to measure. You will have to increase the quantity of methi seeds proportionately. The quantity mentioned in the recipe is for a 240 ml cup.
- Same with garlic, 70 grams for 240 ml measurement. You can also use same cup used to measure mangoes – we need half cup garlic cloves. You can also reduce this slightly, this is on the higher side and this is want makes the pickle more fragrant.
- Traditionally a lot of people use a mix of Guntur hot chili and the regular medium hot chili powder. But at home we never use Guntur chili as it is extremely hot for our taste. We use byadgi chilli powder. If you want to use hot chilli powder, you may start with lesser quantity.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
Avakaya Pachadi (Avakai Pickle)
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Vitamin A 180IU4%
Vitamin C 6.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This post on Avakaya was first published in March 2016. Updated and republished in April 2023.