Monday, June 18, 2012

Mango Chutney (Aamer Ombol)

Every summer, overwhelmed with nostalgia Ma would recall her childhood days in Orissa. The hot summer months meant eating plenty of raw mangoes and Ombols, wondering what is an ombol? Ombol is the Bengali word for all sweet and sour chutneys that could either be made with tamarind or raw mangoes. The ‘om’ in ombol is pronounced the way it is pronounced in ominous or omnibus and bol as you would pronounce the Hindi word bol, incidentally ombol also refers to acidity, so if a Bengali is suffering from acidity, he/she will say “Aamar ombol hoyechey” ( I have acidity). Now I do not know whether that is colloquial Bengali or that is the proper term.

Coming back to Ma’s nostalgia I always felt that though she was thankful for Bombay’s moderate summers, she

missed not being able to have  those summer delicacies, for in Bombay some of us just land up with a sore throat if we have too much of the sour stuff. Ma however made this raw mango chutney every summer, not too often though but at least a few times. I regret not having learnt how to make it from her and when I decided to keep a record of all her cooking she decided to abruptly bid us goodbye even before I could complete one-fourth of this record.

I wanted to try my luck with the raw mango chutney but was hesitating as I wasn’t too sure about how to make it, all that I remembered was Ma once telling me,'do not wait too long after you have added salt to the mangoes, if the mangoes soften too much you will have a tough time sweetening the chutney'—it was this warning which scared me and besides I wasn’t too sure about the ingredients and the entire process of making the chutney. Thanks to my blogger friend Dustedoff who requested me to post the recipe, I thought- no point hesitating I should give it a try, I did make a mistake, but all the same it tasted quite good so here goes and dustedoff this for you.

  • One raw mango.
  • About a quarter teaspoon mustard seeds.
  • About a teaspoon of mustard oil
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Sugar to taste

  • Chop the raw mango into small pieces as shown in the photo below. Do not discard the seed, leave a bit of the flesh of the raw mango on the seed, believe me, once the chutney is ready and you suck the seed it tastes yum – tangy and sweet.
  • Heat a teaspoon of mustard oil; if you like you may try it out with some refined oil.
  • Add the mustard seeds once they begin to crackle add the raw mangoes.
  • Stir a bit and then add the salt and the turmeric powder.
  • It is at this point that I made a mistake my mum’s words were ringing in my ears about being careful with the time gap between adding the salt and then adding the sugar, I therefore made the mistake of adding the sugar almost immediately and I had a tough time softening the mangoes.
  • I suggest that after adding the salt and turmeric powder add a little bit of water and allow the mango pieces to soften slightly and soon after that add the sugar.
  • Add water, cover and cook till done.
As you will notice from the photos the chutney is watery, not too watery though - it is a real pleasure to almost drink  this sweet and sour juice as well as bite into into the mango pieces.
Try it; it is an excellent accompaniment for your meals.

Sending this to Anu's event Only Mango (Pari's Giveaway Page)


  1. yum yum and tangy and lip smacking.

  2. The best thing one can prepare in such a summer time.

  3. Shilpi, thank you so much! (And, I feel honoured that you should post this recipe just because I askd you to). That photo at the start of the post was enough to make my mouth water. I'm going to buy raw mangoes this week, and will try this out!

  4. hi shilpa, thanks for letting me knw that you could not get the url of the it is...

    hope this helps!...:)

  5. Perfect with a summer khichdi!

  6. We don't get raw mangoes here, but sort of half-ripe mangoes, maybe I can try it out with them.
    Thanks for the recipe, Shilpi!
    I can just feel how you felt after adding the sugar. Often one does things, which one knows that it is not right and Ping! you get the punishment for it!

    I once made the mistake (even though I knew better) of cooking quinoa with salt. It just didn't get tender. All the cursing didn't help! :-D

  7. Yeah Harvey I am still learning the finer points of Bengali cuisine.

    1. I think you do know the finer points of the Bengali cuisine. It is just that there is a slip of the hand, when one is in a hurry.