For the millions of us who live glued to computer keyboards at work and TV at home, food may be more than entertainment. It’s maybe the only sensual experience left.”

Barbara Ehrenreich

The Colourful South Asian Condiments Palette

Condiments help us enhance the flavour of our food and draw maximum pleasure out of it. A South Asian feast is never complete without an array of pickles and chutneys on the table. Even the simplest and humblest of meals are mostly accompanied by raita (yogurt side) and a sweet & sour chutney or pickle made with easily available local herbs, vegetables and fruits.

There are elaborate preparations that take days to get done and then there is a variety of chutneys, uncooked or briefly cooked, that get done in under 10 minutes. Most of them are simply a puree of herbs, garlic, chillies and spices in different proportions with one star ingredient. In these recipes for Raw Mango Chutney Two Ways, you get two completely different flavour profiles but, in both, it’s the raw mango that shines through.

Raw Mangoes – the taste of nostalgia

Mangoes are not just a delicious fruit for us South Asians, they are a celebration in their own right – so much so that poets have written praises of this divine fruit. The region is rich with many varieties of mangoes. Pakistan is truly the “kingdom of mangoes” as the quality, variety and sweetness of Pakistani mangoes is considered unmatchable.

Early summer brings the delicious harvest of raw mangoes, ambis or kairis, as we call in our language. They are used to make pickles, chutneys and cool tangy drinks. Raw mangoes wedges are sold on roadside, sprinkled with a little rock salt and red chilli powder as a lip smacking snack too. What do raw mangoes taste like? For me they taste like school days – sweet and sour, naughty and fun. They remind me of the days when we used to shoot down raw mangoes with slingshots and of being yelled at and chased away by the school gardener.

Raw Mango Chutney Two Way & Serving Suggestions

These very quick chutney preparations are a lifesaver when served with boring meals, add instant freshness, visual appeal and flavour kick to our plates. I even toss these as a dressing in salads and cold pasta preparations. They taste great over stir fried vegetables and fried egg meal. You can spread them on your bread slice and use in sandwiches to replace unhealthy spreads. Or as dips for bakee sweet potato wedges.

In the green chutney, coconut balances the sharp tang of raw mangoes, while in the red chutney, tomatoes and brown sugar enhance and compliment the sour. If you want to keep these chutneys for more than a couple of days.

Ingredients for Green Chutney:
2 raw mangoes
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup coriander leaves and stems, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled
2 green chilli peppers
1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt to taste

This Is What You Do:
Peel mangoes, remove stone. Roughly chop the pulp.

Add all ingredients to a food processor.

Whiz to make a smooth or chunky puree according to your preference.

Ingredients for Red Chutney:
2 raw mangoes
2 ripe tomatoes
5-6 red chilli peppers
1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
salt to taste

This Is What You Do:
Thread tomatoes onto a skewer. Roast over an open flame (on stove top) for a couple of minutes till the skin is charred and wrinkled. When cool enough to handle, remove skin.

Peel mangoes, remove stone. Roughly chop tomatoes, mangoes and ginger.

Add all ingredients to a food processor to make a smooth or chunky puree.


Keep refrigerated and use within two days. If you want to keep them for a week, then cook for a few minutes in 2 tablespoons mustard or olive oil.

Serves 6

2 Replies to “Raw Mango Chutney Two Ways, Kairi ki Chutney”

  1. I’m really looking forward to trying these out. Just did an online order a couple of days ago, before I read your post fully! I love chutneys, in whatever form, so I know I’m going to love these.

  2. Memories are the best spice, Maria.
    I’ve once had a condiment from Senegal in which mango was the main character, as well. It enhances the flavor of kicks (it was spicy). I can see it in a bowl of tonkotsu ramen working very well to add a flavor!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *