Bhubaneswar Buzz

Odia Food: Aamba(Mango) Khatta: Hot, Sweet And a bit Sour. Just like Life! – by Amrita


This article is from Amrita Satpathy who blogs about Odia food at Kitchen Chronicles

First of all, this one is dedicated to all my vegetarian friends and my Father.

And now about the dish… It is strangely, not a curry and not a pickle. It’s different. Try it. Taste it and eat it for days. And, kick yourself in the … (ahem, ok wherever you like) when it gets over… 😉

But seriously, all you need is a refrigerator. And this special recipe right from my granny’s hearth stays perfect for at least 10 days. I firmly believe my mum makes the best Aamba Khatta in the whole wide world. For the love of her and for the great pride I have in her craft, I don’t touch it if someone else makes it, and it doesn’t look right, and audaciously calls it Aamba Khatta. However, I deviate from this promise if they say they have made Mango Jelly (which is almost always on the menu in Odiya weddings). Because, in case of this recipe (followed by a pregnant silence and almost mute coughs), there is everything in a name. LOL, I should have been in a drama school.

Doesn’t that look drool worthy, creating desires in your heart that seemed to have spent a lot of time sleeping. Huh… enough of hysterics now. By the way this dish is a Father’s day special for me. It was for the first time I made it all by myself (of course under the expert supervision of my super mum). But really, I was doing something other than cooking on Father’s day as well. That will be revealed in my next post(s) for it will NOT be about food.


Remember, this one thing. And trust me it is very important. If you venture to make this amazing recipe, try your hands at it if you get ONLY this particular variety of mangoes (see pic alongside). Anything other than this variety in particular, and your dish will be a let down! This variety of raw mangoes is called Kalami in Odiya. The advantage of using this variety is that unlike others it doesn’t get all squishy squashy and pulpy.The flesh of the mangoes remain intact and yet get to bit into that oh-so-delicious sweet something. And it is not just sweet… There is a hint of sourness because of the rawness of the mango and there is a bit of hotness because of the chilli powder.
Try your hand at it and revel in a tsunami of flavors. But most importantly, try your hand at it before the season of mangoes ends.

Let’s get down to brass tacks then. Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 kg of Kalami mangoes
  • 1/2 kg of Palm Jaggery (Khajuri Guda)( This one gives a great taste and much better than the sugarcane version)
  • 20 dates (you can add more if you like, doesn’t matter whether they are seeded or seedless)
  • A fistful of Raisins (Kismis)
  • 1.5 tbsp Asafoetida (Hing)
  • 1.5 tbsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
  • 1 tbsp Onion seeds (Kalonji)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder
  • Ginger 2 inch (grated)
  • Cardamom 5-6 (coarsely ground)
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 2 tbsps of refined oil
  • 1 tbsp of atta (flour)
  • A bunch of Curry Leaves
  • Water
And the process. Here’s how it goes:
Cut the mangoes into big chunks. Do not peel the mangoes. As you can see in the collage (top right) the endocarp remains but you must make sure that you remove the kernel. Put them in a colander and thoroughly wash. Do not cut the mangoes into bit size pieces because they will melt away when cooked.
Heat the wok. Add the oil. When the oil heats up add the Asafoetida. Do not let it burn. Immediately add the Fennel Seeds followed by Onion Seeds. The moment it starts spluttering add the grated ginger followed by curry leaves. Saute the mixture. You will start floating in an aromatic environment.
Get your feet on the ground. Add the cut and washed mangoes. Mix everything well. Add the Jaggery. On a medium flame keep mixing the entire stuff. Add the turmeric, salt, chilli powder, dates and raisins. The salt will cause the mangoes to release water.  Keep stirring on a slow flame. The jaggery will melt away to form a very thick gravy. Add about 2 cups of water. Keep cooking and continue checking the consistency. Add the ground cardamoms and let the Khatta simmer.
The trick: If it is too watery and you want that jelly like gravy without mushing up the mango pieces, just add 1 tbsp of atta (flour) to 2 tbsps of water. Mix it well and add it to the simmering Khatta.
Check the mangoes. They should be perfect neither overcooked nor uncooked. Just perfect, radiant, golden, succulent pieces beckoning you pick them up and savor the hot-sweet-sour fleshy delight. Remove from heat and cool it.
Eat it on a meatless Monday/Thursday or with your meat. Seriously, who cares! That heavenly awesome side dish belongs to you. It’s yours!
Let me know how it was… Having your granny’s kitchen come to your’s.