Kachchi Kairi ki Khaasiyat!

Ever had bhel puri with little pieces of raw mango in it? Try it. We did last week at the office – had a bhel wala come in and give us all freshly tossed bhel, salted and ‘chillied’ according to every individual’s taste. Enjoyed it and got inspired by raw mango, kachchi kairi, whatever you may want to call it.

Cool and chilled
Green mango has its many uses and it is a boon for those who cannot bear the heat. At home we have a tradition to have kairi panna in the fridge, ready and bottled, every day of the week. It’s cooling, it’s nutritious and it’s tasty! We add a generous pinch of green cardamom and some people prefer to add kesar too. You choose. So bhel and panna aside, green mango is lovely as a snack – cut up in thin slices and lightly salted. Yes, the pickle industry thrives on this mango and I do so look forward to the gunda kairi that my mother in law makes for us every year.

Think out of the box
You can think out of the box while green mango is in season. Add some chunks to the dal, add some grated bits to thepla dough, make a nice chutney with grated onion, or make an instant pachadi with jaggery or use green mango chhunda to stuff mutton kababs or toss with peanuts and mustard seeds to temper rice. Grind two tablespoons of grated raw mango with a tablespoon of roasted peanuts, three tablespoons scraped coconut, a few red chillies and turmeric powder to a coarse paste. Add this to rice tempered with mustard, cumin, curry leaves and asafoetida. I love to add some whole roasted peanuts and sprinkle some grated green mango and grated coconut. Serve it hot drizzled with a little bit of ghee. Uses leftover rice very smartly!

Pickle that is healthy
Those who are hesitant to make pickles simply because they think they might not get it right, let me encourage you to do this simple one. It is best kept under refrigeration in Mumbai. Let’s start with half kilo of raw mango, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes. Keep 100 grams of salt in a bowl. Take ¼ inch asafoetida cube in a mortar and add 1 ½ tablespoons of red chilli powder and a little salt. Pound with pestle into a fine powder. Mix with the mango pieces and add about three more tablespoons of red chilli powder and the remaining salt. Mix really well and transfer into a sterilized jar. Keep in the fridge. If you like it, make some more batches.

Ingredient of importance
As an ingredient in main course dishes, green mango adds the perfect astringent note. Mutton, fish and chicken all take to green mango very well. Surmai likes sour things like tamarind and lemon juice and when green mango is in season add that too. Cooked with sweet coconut milk, this curry is simple and simply lovely with steamed rice.

Fish and Green Mango Curry

  • Marinate 8 thick slices of surmai in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and salt with half a teaspoon of turmeric powder for about fifteen minutes.
  • Heat two tablespoons of oil in a non stick pan and shallow fry till half done.  Drain and set aside.
  • Soak one cup of scraped coconut in one cup of warm water for three to four minutes. Grind and squeeze to extract milk.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in another non-stick pan. Add 1 medium chopped onion and sauté till soft. Add quarter teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 ½ teaspoons red chilli powder, two tablespoons of scraped coconut and salt and sauté for two to three minutes.  Add two cups of water and let the curry simmer for five minutes.
  • Add a little more oil to the oil in which the fish pieces were fried.  Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, 4 slit green chillies, 1 tablespoon coriander powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of   red chillli powder, 10-12 curry leaves, quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder, and slices of 2 raw mangoes and sauté.
  • Strain the onion curry into this tempering, pressing well to extract all the flavours.
  • Add the fried fish. Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of rice flour with quarter cup of water to make a smooth paste and add it to the curry. Cook, stirring continuously, till the curry thickens.
  • Add extracted coconut milk and stir. Add 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp and let the gravy come to a boil.
  • Switch off the heat and garnish with some chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice.
  • While you await the season of ripe sweet juicy mangoes, make full use of the tangy green ones with these great recipes and also don’t forget to share your food experiences with us!


Kairi Poha – The zing from raw mango in a more or less usual poha will definitely pleasantly surprise your taste buds!
Kairi Poha
Aam ka Panna – it is supremely refreshing and very easy and plus it is my moms recipe – so this one is very difficult to go wrong
Aam ka Panna


Happy Eating.Happy Cooking!
Sanjeev Kapoor

The fact about simplicity

US based well known cookbook author Monica Bhide who was instrumental in getting my book HOW TO COOK INDIAN going has a very interesting blog:
She is contending for the 2011 best blog award and sends the link:
I have of course given my comment: “Monica, this is bang on. According to me every thing great in this world is just pure and simple. And it is not restricted only to food; be it music, be it art, be it writing, be it life, simpler the better. For trained professionals it is often hard to unlearn complexities and see dishes from a simple perspective. When I started teaching recipes and cooking through my television show, Khana Khazana, I was often lambasted and criticized by my fellow chefs for showing very simple dishes on TV. Today with the longest running food show in this part of the world, my stand is vindicated. I think you have been able to present simplicity in your food and recipes with such ease, comfort and elan that would make chefs with complex recipes go green (with envy)! Thank God you have not spent years learning complex dishes!”
Now getting ready for the Sanjeev Kapoor’s Kitchen shooting that will go on for more than a week. My choices are simple and if at all the recipe reads a little complex, when you see it on the programme, it will look simple!
A taste of my latest favourites :

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor