Visakhapatnam

It’s irresistible

‘Avakaya’ being prepared at a home in Visakhapatnam.  

The traditional porcelain jars are taken out of the lofts, meticulously cleaned and sun-dried. The hunt for the right variety of raw mango starts early in the morning as the local markets turn into a beehive of activity with men accompanying their womenfolk in the exercise of selecting the right ones. The ideal time of the year to prepare this evergreen delicacy ‘avakaya pachadi’ has finally arrived. And with it, a long wait comes to an end for homemakers and grannies who incorporate years of their experience in the annual pickle-making process with dexterity.

Mother’s recipe

Although ‘avakaya’ preparations are dime a dozen, each family follows its own tradition being passed on to them from generation to generation. “I have experimented with a variety of ingredients. However, nothing can match the flavour of my mother’s recipe that comes with the standard set of spices – mustard, chilli and turmeric powder, salt, gingelly oil and cubes of ‘pariya’ mango. Once done, there is always a perpetual demand for ‘kotha avakaya’ that quickly runs out of stock,” admits Pilla Kameswari, a 65-year-old woman. She says that her ‘avakaya’ preparation is a hit among her nieces and nephews who stay abroad.

‘Suvarnarekha’, ‘Collector mango’, ‘kolamgova’, ‘rasalu ’ and ‘pariya’ are some of the varieties that are generally used for pickle preparations. “However, since we do not get ‘rasalu’ in the city, we need to make do with the local varieties. While ‘pariya’ and ‘Collector’ mangoes can be used for preparing ‘avakaya’ pickle, ‘suvarnarekha’ variety is best suited for ‘teepi avakaya’ (sweet pickle),” explains Venkata Ratnam, a homemaker.

A little pricey

Those who head to ‘rythu bazaars’ to stock the best variety of mangoes found the produce a little pricey this year. “Owing to certain factors like fungal pests, chemical fertilizers, untimely rain and unpredictable climatic conditions there is a considerable dip in both quality and quantity of the mango yield this year. As a result, prices of it have shot up by 20 per cent,” reasons Pari Naidu, a farmer.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 6:56:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/its-irresistible/article7192520.ece

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