I consider myself an easy going person, especially with my friends. So years ago, when a close Gujarati friend of mine acted very formal one day, I was a bit confused. She was like, I hope you don’t feel bad if I ask you something and that got me all the more curious. So after all the formalities and playing around, she finally asked me “Maria, don’t you get fresh milk in Kerala”? For a moment, I was like.. WHAT??? I was wondering where this question was coming from, does it have anything to do with Amul, since she is from Gujarat, so I was all set to say that though we dont have Amul, we have our own Milma, Keralam Kani Kandunarunna Nanma'(The goodness Kerala wakes up to) or so they say..
Seeing the confused look on my face, she got a bit worried. She was like… the reason why I asked is whenever we go to the airport, we see all the Keralites buying big packets of Nido Milk Powder from Duty free!!!
Well, that explains everything… cant blame her, a Malayalee coming home from Gulf or “Gelf” as they call it, feels incomplete without a Nido packet and Tang for that matter. I didn’t know how to explain our obsession with Nido and Tang, so I told her it's kind of a ritual for a Gulf Malayalee, just like going to Lulu supermarket on Fridays.
I was pretty impressed with her observation, because it was kinda spot on and I'm also guilty as charged. The only difference is, I buy a different brand of milk powder :)
It's true that the stereotypical Gulf Malayali of the 80's and 90's, with Rayban “cooling” glass and gold bracelets have transformed to a more sophisticated and polished version, but there are still some rituals that stood the test of time.
If it's about Nido milk powder in a duty free bag during the outbound trip from Gulf, it's about an oil drenched Horlicks bottle of pickle on the return trip. Yep, we all need a Horlicks bottle of pickle to take us home away from home.
Also, these days, I've seen that even if it's not homemade pickle, people tend to buy at least one bottle of ready made pickle, though most of the local brands are available here, may be there is something about packing a pickle bottle from your hometown. If it was a basic necessity for surviving the hostel mess food during your student days, it becomes a prized nostalgic possession that gives you the taste and scent of your home, during your life as an expatriate.
How-much-ever, I want to be poetic and eloquent about the nostalgic memories of homemade pickles, there are some bad memories associated with it. We've lost two suitcases, to pickles and that too not ours. The oil from somebody else's pickle seeped into our suitcase and spoiled the suitcase and some of our clothes too. So I'd say it's all good being nostalgic and losing ourselves in the taste of home, but please make sure it doesn’t come at someone elses’ expense.
So, shall we go to the recipe now? The thing is I got this recipe from Vanitha magazine and they've named this Manga Curry. After tasting it, I thought it's same as pickle and it's kind of instant, except for the 1 hour marinating time, so I named it Instant Mango Pickle. Be it pickle or curry, it's very easy to make, tastes good, stores well and not time consuming at all. Good enough reasons to make this right?