Ranikona villagers prepare ‘Ambo Sodha’ with mango
KORAPUT: Mango remains an integral part of their meal throughout the year. There is no dearth of availability of mangoes in the natural habitat for the tribal communities of Koraput district in May and June. While people in the towns make ‘pickles’ and ‘ambulo’ , the tribals preserve mangoes for consumption during the rest of the year – they prepare ‘Ambo Sodha’ , Subarna Majhi , a tribal woman from Ranikona village in Semiliguda block of Koraput district said.
It is for the use of minimum preservatives in preparing ‘Ambo Sodha’ that almost all the tribal families in the village get attracted to prepare this mouth-watering substance. While children and the male adults in the family collect ripe mangoes of ‘Thuri’ variety, which is available in plenty in the nearby forest and roadside trees, womenfolk in the village boil them in huge pots for hours. By stirring continuously with a stick, they take out the skin from mangoes and then squeeze them for getting the juice, she added.
Knowledge of preservation of food items using natural additives is best known to tribals. Here too they add the preservatives available in their kitchen like salt, chilly powder and a pinch of sugar to protect the product from getting spoiled .The paste thus prepared is then spread on the newly made bamboo mats.
However the process of making Ambo Sodha is not that easy as it tastes. While it requires a continuous watch exposing it to good amount of sunshine, new layers of the mango paste are poured on the mat in the interval of two days till a desirable thickness is reached, she said .
The greatest challenge before the villagers is the onset of monsoon. With the pre-monsoon rain already showing its signs of arrival in different parts of the district, they are needed to be more careful to protect the drying paste from the rain.
Apart from the need to preserve mango as part of their meal, the increasing demand for Ambo Sodha among others outside the village has forced the village women to be more cautious in maintaining the quality.
Hence sufficient care is now taken to ensure that it is prepared hygienically on clean bamboo sheets and stored in a safe place, she added.