Small, tender mangoes - 8 measures *see note*
Sea salt (kal uppu) - 1 measure
Dry red chillies - 1 measure
Mustard seeds - 1/4 measure
Castor oil - 2 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 2 tablespoons
NOTE: Usually, the ratio of salt is 8:1. But, personally I felt, when I use it for a year and more, the mangoes absorb all the salt by the end of the year and maavadu becomes too salty. Hence, I use 10:1 ratio and it is perfect even for 2 years. In general, any pickle will stay longer if little salty. However, chillies and salt can be used as per individual taste.
Buy firm tender mangoes with long stalk. DO NOT buy the ones without the stem. The pickle will spoil soon.
Cut the stalk, leaving a little stalk (1/4") in the mango and wash the mangoes well. Leave it in the water for half an hour. Take out and drain it.
Pat it dry with a neat towel. (Measure now. This is the mango salt measure ratio). Put the mangoes in a ceramic jar (jaadi).
Pour the castor oil and mix well till all the mangoes are coated with oil.
Add salt and turmeric powder. Shake well OR turn it upside down using a dry ladle daily for 4-5 days. The mangoes will shrink. The salt will dissolve and become watery. Now, grind together dry chillies and mustard seeds to a fine powder and add to the mangoes and mix well. Again, shake well OR turn it upside down daily for another week. The solution should always be 2 inches above the mango level.
Maavadu or Vadumangai will be ready to eat within 10 days.
Store in a small bottle for daily use. Always use a dry spoon or ladle to take out the mangoes. Never use your hand.
This can be used for a year and when refrigerated, can be used for a year or more. Goes well with curd rice and even sambhar saadam.