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A delicious South African mango atchar recipe

By June 30, 2023September 4th, 2023FinGlobal

A delicious South African mango atchar recipe

June 30, 2023


Curry with mango atchar South Africa wouldn’t know how to serve this dish in any other way, nor would they want to! Its tasty flavours complement the herbs, heat, and spices of just about any dish, not just curry. In fact, South Africans enjoy atchar so much; they’re known for spreading it on sandwiches or serving it drizzled over a lekker stukkie braai vleis! So what is mango atchar, and where does it originate from?

Is atchar South African?

Not exactly; atchar or achar is actually a Hindi word used to describe pickled food. Rewind a few hundred years or so, and we see that in India, the art of pickling was used to preserve food for periods when it was out of season. Of course, it was also a great way to add zestiness to certain foods, making dinner time much more enjoyable, and we agree! However, fast forward to the early 1800s when migrant workers from India landed in South Africa, and you now understand how atchar, or rather acher, was first introduced to traditional South African cuisine.

The original mango atchar recipe hits a snag

Far from home, Indian migrant workers naturally tried to maintain some of their heritage by continuing to pickle certain foods. But, unfortunately, the harsh and hot climate of South Africa quickly put paid to the migrant worker’s traditional pickling methods.

Suddenly their traditional atcher just couldn’t take the heat! In other words, their pickled fruit and vegetables were soon spoiled or, as Ouma would say, they went ‘vrot!’ However, this didn’t deter them from trying to preserve their favourite foods. Instead, they adapted the recipe, using green or unripe mangos as their secret pickling ingredient. Why? Because the acidity found in unripe mangos is perfect for pickling delectable foods and preventing them from going rancid. This meant that a new and improved atchar was very much back on the menu, going by its new name, mango atchar!

As a result of their ingenuity, many people of all cultures enjoy this popular condiment today!

Is mango atchar good for you?

Health-conscious individuals might balk at the thought of adding lashings of fruity condiment to their dinner plates. But we are here to share with you that eating mango atchar can have some amazing health benefits.

  • Excellent antioxidant properties
  • Rich in nutrients (vitamin C, K, and fiber)
  • Improves immunity (vitamin B, E, copper, and folate
  • Good for hair and skin (vitamin C and E)
  • May help maintain blood pressure
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Supports eye health
  • Aids digestion

Traditional mango atchar recipe

The popularity of mango achar has meant that obtaining a dollop of your favourite pickle is pretty easy, as many grocery stores and online shops stock this tasty delicacy as a pantry staple. However, if, like us, you enjoy the traditional side of things, you may be wondering how to make mango atchar at home. Well, wonder no longer; we’ve taken the time to find a lekker South African mango atchar recipe you can easily whip up in the comfort of your own home. Aprons at the ready; it’s mango atchar cooking time!

Lekker chilli mango atchar recipe South Africa style

Check out the list of ingredients below; if you haven’t got mangos or chillies, it’s off to the grocery store for you! Keep in mind, mangos (even the green ones) are only available to buy in South Africa during the summer (December to February), while Saffas based abroad in the UK or USA should be able to get their hands on this juicy fruit from March to July.

What you need:

  • 1 kg green mangos
  • 190 ml white vinegar
  • 20 ml garlic (freshly crushed)
  • 6 green chillies (finely sliced)
  • 6 red chillies (finely sliced)
  • 5 ml mustard powder
  • 250 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 45 ml atchar masala

What to do:

  • Wash the mangos and cut them into chunks of approximately 2 cm each. Note the skin should be left on.
  • Place the mango chunks into the vinegar and allow them to soak for at least 2 to 3 hours. This helps the mango absorb all the delicious masala flavours.
  • Combine the mustard powder, salt, chillies, and atchar masala in a little oil to create a moist mixture.
  • Transfer the mango atchar into a sterilized jam jar or storage container.
  • Then add the atchar masala mixture with the rest of the oil; stir well and cover.
  • Allow your mango atchar to marinate for three days; during this time, stir the mixture regularly.
  • Once the marinating time is complete, you can either dig in or seal your atchar tightly and store it in a cool place.

The final mouthful

Whether you serve your atchar alongside a fragrantly spicey curry, drizzled over braai meat, or as a sneaky sandwich filler, this South African mango atchar recipe will leave you and your guests drooling for more!

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