Why India's Mango Pickle Should Be A Pantry Staple

If you've ever been sucker-punched with flavors after trying Indian food, you're not alone. According to ZME Science, Indian food is scientifically tasty because there are so many unique flavor profiles in most dishes. This is a bit different than Western cuisine, where ingredients in dishes tend to have one or more flavor-related chemical compounds in common, per Scientific American. For instance, apples share some of the same compounds as white wine, beer, and honey. But in East Asia, recipes don't seem to highlight as many linked compounds. In other words, each ingredient tends to stand alone with its own flavors. In fact, ZME Science states that you can often find seven or more unique flavors in an Indian dish, which leads to loads of varying flavor profiles.

Speaking of flavor profiles, these can be enhanced with a side of condiments, and we're not talking about ketchup or mustard. As Hari Ghotra explains, the likes of chutney, achaar, raita, and kachumber are not normally treated as a simple afterthought in Indian cuisine. Some like their food sweeter, spicier, or more acidic, and condiments help to add a touch of personalization to each dish.

One type of condiment comes in the form of pickles, specifically mango pickles, which are a combination of spices, oil, and green mangoes that haven't yet ripened, per Indian Healthy Recipes.

Garlicky, salty, and a bit spicy

Indian dishes like tandoori chicken and biryani are no strangers to spice, and the same applies to condiments. In fact, a mango pickle recipe by Indian Healthy Recipes calls for mustard seeds, garlic cloves, red chili powder, salt, and methi seeds. Andrew Zimmern, via Food & Wine, adds that asafoetida may be found in some recipes as well.

Spices aside, mango pickles also utilize green mangoes, which, according to Thai Table, can range from sour to sweet in flavor. For example, pim sane mun is nutty, while falan is more mild, per Queensland's Department of Agriculture.

Once the batch of mango pickles has been made, Zimmern mentions, per Food & Wine, that it can be incorporated into many recipes, such as rice, BBQ sauce, and mayonnaise. You've got some spice from the red chili powder, sourness or sweetness from the green mangoes, salt, garlicky flavors, and nuttiness from the mustard seeds (the latter provided by Spice It Upp).

In short, there are so many different flavors in mango pickles that can be used to enhance whatever you'd like!