Makes 1½ kg of pickle
Time: 1 hour + 8-21 days to sun the pickle
Rajapuri mangoes 3, raw, firm
Sugar 1½ times the volume of the mango
Turmeric powder 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds 1 tbsp, crushed coarsely
Wash the mangoes and dry them thoroughly. Peel and grate them. Measure out the quantity of mango in cups. Measure out 1½ times the same volume of sugar and set aside.
Mix the grated mangoes with salt and turmeric powder. Set aside for about 30 minutes. Take handfuls of the mango and squeeze gently to remove excess water. Transfer the mango to a clean stainless steel thali or tray. Add the measured sugar and mix well.
To make this chundo the traditional way, tie a piece of muslin cloth over the thali or tray. Place the tray in the sun for 8-21 days. It has to go out every morning (after a stir) and be brought back in every night. You will know the pickle is done when the sugar has melted to a syrup of 1½-2-string consistency. (Place a little of the syrup between your thumb and forefinger and open them gently; 1½-2 strings should be formed.) Stir in 2 tbsp chilli powder and 1 tbsp coarsely crushed cumin seeds. Ensure a wet spoon doesn’t touch the pickle. The traditional method requires a lot of patience but it seems as though the flavour of sunlight is captured in this pickle!
There is an easier option to make chundo, but be warned, it will not taste the same! Cook the mango mixture in a heavy-bottomed pan on low heat till all the water has evaporated and it reaches the correct consistency. Keep stirring so that the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan. Add 2 tbsp chilli powder and 1 tbsp coarsely crushed cumin seeds while still hot.
Notes: There are a few variables you need to watch out for with chundo: