Mango Kuchela… as young fella on the islands I had NO love for this spicy pickle / condiment. However, it’s now one of my go-to sides when I have curry dishes, soups and Pelau, as an adult. My new found love probably got something to do with the fact that getting good green mangoes to make it in Canada is not as easy as when our home was surrounding by mango trees in the Ccaribbean.
6-8 green mangoes (depending on how large they are)
3/4 tablespoon salt (adjust)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups veg oil
6-8 cloves garlic
as much hot peppers as you can handle
2-3 tablespoon cilantro
2 1/2 tablespoon Anchar Massala
Note! If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary requirements. I used 3 Habanero peppers, but you can use any variety hot pepper you have on hand as as much as you can handle. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling such hot peppers.
Wash, peel (use a pairing knife or potato peeler) and grate the mango – be mindful of the seeds as you grate . A box grater works best.
Then using a cheese cloth (or dish towel), wrap and twist (wring) the mango to remove the natural liquid of the mango. The goal is to make it
as dry as we can, so later on it will absorb all the flavors we’ll be adding.
Set on paper-towel lined baking trays and allow to air dry at least 4 hours – I went overnight. Traditionally this is placed in the direct sun in the Caribbean. The paper towels will also help to absorb some of the natural liquid.
Pour the anchar masala onto the dried grated mango (large bowl), along with the salt and brown sugar (sugar is not traditional to the recipe, but it helps IMHO) and mix WELL!
You can source the Anchar Masala at most Caribbean grocers and lately I’m seeing it in the spice section of bigger Asian markets. Puree your garlic, cilantro and peppers. The cilantro I added is not traditional to the recipe – Shado beni is used (sometimes) instead. If you don’t have a blender, you can chop everything finely.
Heat the oil in a heavy pot on a medium heat and as it comes up to temperature add the pepper/garlic mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. The goal is to flavor the oil with the garlic and give it a kick with the pepper (I used the seeds of the peppers as well).
Then go in with the mango and stir well. Yes, we used a lot of oil, but you’ll notice how it will be absorbed by the dried mango. The goal at the end is to use the oil as a preservative… so it keeps the finished kuchela fresh and not develop any mold etc.
Cook it for about 10 minutes, then into a glass jar. Be sure to stir it well, so all the flavors combine.
NOTE! Certain mango varieties makes better Kuchela (I know my mom prefers Starch Mango and my grandmother’s fav was Long Mango) but I used whats available to me. Just make sure they are GREEN and TART!