Monday, June 3, 2013

Chunda (Sweet and spicy raw mango pickle) in a microwave with unbelievable results

The chunda snob in me didn't think this experiment would be
a success so I skipped the pictures taking.. :)
Mom, this one is for you!  I have described your traditional Chunda making process at the end of this blog!  Wish it were so easy to make in your day!

- 1 or 2 raw mangoes of large variety,
should yield 2 to 3 cups of grated mango
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp turmeric
- a pinch of salt

For every 1 cup of grated mango
- 1 and 1/4 cups Sugar
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp lightly roasted cumin (jeera) powder
or you could roast and powder whole cumin

  1. Wash and dry the mango.  Remove the skin and grate fine, squeeze out the juice slightly if it seems very juicy.
  2. It yielded 2 cups of grated mango, so I doubled the quantity to - sugar(2.5cups), 1 tsp chilli powder and 1 tsp roasted jeera powder.
  3. Add grated mango and turmeric in a large glass microwaveable bow and mix well (the sugar will boil and froth so the bowl must be large, wok shaped is ideal)
  4. Add the sugar and mix in with a dry spoon
  5. Microwave on high for 2 mins, stir and microwave on high again for 3.30mins (3 mins and 30 seconds), stir.
  6. The sugar should be of one string consistency and you are done.  It will thicken as it cools so don't worry if it looks a little runny.
  7. Add the roasted jeera powder and mix well
  8. Add the chilli powder and mix well
  9. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
  10. I added an extra pinch or two of salt and 1/2 tsp of chill powder to get the same taste as mom's chunda, this is purely based on ones taste buds. If you have small kids you can decrease the chilli powder to any desired level.  My gujju friends mom made a batch without adding chilli powder and it tasted good, too.
  11. Let it cool down completely before bottling in an airtight glass container.  It's ready to eat immediately with roti's, chapatti's, pita bread, bread, thepla....
The above recipe is my dysfunctional take on my mom's chunda and what I found on the WWW in Srivalli's blog "Cooking for all seasons".  The ingredients are almost the same but the process and the time difference 'Whoa!' is all I have to say!  This will explain why! So here goes,

Amma's traditional Chunda making process 

First, my mom who hated any kind of waste, would remove the skin a little thicker and use that to make gol keri with some dry kajur added in.  Unfortunately, you can't make chunda with the skin, so with a sigh I took off the skin with a peeler and put it in the garbage disposal.

Amma had a tall steel vessel for her chunda making, some 10-12 Rajapuri mangoes would be grated, turmeric and sugar added and mixed well.  She would then begin the painstaking process of putting it out in the sun praying it wouldn't rain.  Day after day it would go up on the building terrace, its mouth covered with a fine muslin cloth, to cook in the hot sun, She would check often to see if the crow had pecked at it OR the pigeons were making a mess.  The sugar would cook and melt purely by the heat of sun. May is usually super hot in Bombay.  It took 18-23 days for the desired consistency needed to add the jeera and chilli powders.  There would be a happy dance since we could finally get a taste.  It would take another couple of weeks before it was ready to eat, the longer you waited the tastier it got. 

One year the monsoons came early and she was so reluctant and sad to put it on the stove for 25-30 mins daily, on low heat until it reached the desired consistency, worried that would get spoilt.  We never quite enjoyed that years chunda, we were pickle snobs, thanks to having an expert pickle maker mom. :) 

So now, you know why I did not expect this experiment to be a success, Chunda snob that I am.  I was completely blown away by 'How simple' this whole MW process was and 'How tasty' the final product.  Exactly like mom's except for a little tweak on the salt and the chilli powder.  This one is for you mom! Loved your enthusiasm when it came to cooking and feeding everyone and giving away bottles and bottles of your yummy pickles!


  1. Yummy!!! Looks good. Will try this one too. Yes mom's cooking is definitely an art to master!

  2. True radha, It was definately an art form, not easy to duplicate unless you cook by taste and for that you needed to have been there... :) in her kitchen or eating her creations...

    This microwave chunda was super easy and perfect to her taste