1 kg semi-ripe mangoes (any variety, but for best results and taste, either alphonso, or, even better still, the
bottle’ mango,batli keri’. In places where no fresh mangoes are available, even tinned slices would do, even of ripe mangoes. Alternatively, even small green, totally unripe mangoes would do. But then add more jaggery, according to taste.)
200 gms jaggery (more, if mangoes very raw and sour. Can use sugar to substitute for jaggery, but the flavor will not be the same. If using sugar, I would suggest palm or cane sugar or raw sugar.)
1-inch piece of cinnamon
6 green cardamoms
6 black peppercorns
3 Bay leaves
200 gms baby onions (optional, according to personal taste)
2 green chillies, slit and seeded (optional, according to personal taste)
2 cups water (approximately)
Salt to taste (coarse salt or rock salt)
Peel the mangoes, remove the seed and slice lengthwise. (Depending upon size of the mango, you can halve the lengthwise slices, as per requirement. Mango should be in chunky pieces, do not slice too thin.)
Pour water in a heavy-botttomed pan. Add jaggery, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, peppercorns, and cardamoms and cook over a medium flame, stirring occasionally. Once the jaggery has melted, add salt, slit and seeded green chillies, peeled baby onions, and mangoes, and cook over a low flame, stirring occasionally, being careful not to break the mango slices. Cook till a syrupy consistency is achieved, then remove from heat and cool completely.
Serve as an accompaniment to papeta-ma-ghosh.
The ambakalio can be stored in glass jars and refrigerated.
(The ambakalio also makes an excellent accompaniment to the all-time favourite, dhansak, whole masoor, and even to vaal, recipe given below . . . to several other dishes, use your imagination, and taste. And it would also make a yummy and fairly healthy snack for children, spread out on toast and butter instead of jam, or rolled in wheat-flour chapattis.)