Today I am sharing a family favorite – my mother’s recipe for kairi ki meethi chutney (sweet and sour mango chutney) or as my mother calls it nauratan chutney. This is a popular Indian and Pakistani mango chutney made by cooking unripe raw green mangoes or kairi with sugar and other spices. It has a sweet and tangy flavor and goes well with savory dishes such as daal chawal (lentils and rice) and kebabs. It is also called ‘kairi ki meethi chutney’, ‘aam ki meethi chutney’ and ‘kairi ka murabba’. The reason it’s called nauratan chutney in my family is because there are nau or nine ingredients that go into making this chutney.Jump to Recipe
What is kairi / keri / kacha aam?
Kairi, keri or kacha aam is another word for unripe or raw green mangoes in India and Pakistan. Seeing the small green fruit at the sabziwalla (vegetable seller) is a sign that the much-awaited mango season is near. Raw green mangoes are eaten as a snack and are also a popular ingredient in Indian and Pakistani cooking due to their unique sour flavor. Not only is kairi used as an ingredient in vegetarian and meat dishes, but it is also used to make different types of pickles, chutneys and other condiments. The recipe of the achaar and chutney differs based on the ripeness, firmness, and sourness of the kairi. In fact, before the mango season starts, the traditional souring agents such as tomatoes and tamarind (imli) are skipped in favor of unripe mangoes / kairi. During the season, kairi is also prepped and frozen to be used for the year ahead, and large batches of achaar (pickles) and chutneys are made to last the whole year. Or at least 6 months.
Nauratan chutney / sweet and sour mango chutney – the ingredient list:
The ingredient list for this chutney is what gives the chutney it’s name. The word ‘nau’ means nine in Urdu, hence nauratan chutney. The ingredient list for my recipe does include an additional ingredient, which is vinegar. My mother adds that to increase the shelf life of this delicious chutney and prevent potential mold.
- Raw green unripe mangoes: Green unripe mangoes are the main ingredient for this chutney. They are also known as kairi, keri or kacha aam. The more unripe a raw mango is, the more firm and white-ish color flesh it will have. As the raw mango ripens, it will start developing a seed and the flesh will start becoming less firm and turn a pale yellow in colour. The flavor of the raw mango will also be more sweet than tart.
- Sugar: This recipe uses white granulated sugar, however, brown sugar or traditional jaggery and gurr can also be used instead. Gur and jaggery will give a more brownish color to the final chutney. Depending on the ripeness of the raw mango available, the sugar content may need to be adjusted. If the raw mango available is on the riper (or sweeter) side, reduce the amount of sugar.
- Dates: Dry dates (known as chuara in Urdu/Hindi) add another note of sweetness to the chutney, along with a subtle caramel-like flavor. As the chutney cooks, the dry dates hydrate and soften. If fresh dates (such as Medjool dates) are used, they should be added in the last 10 – 15 minutes of cooking.
- Whole red chilies: Whole red chilies are used as they add flavor and a subtle heat. I use dandicut chili pepper, which are the traditional whole red chili peppers used in Pakistan. However, the whole flat red chilies can be used. In case whole red peppers are not available, red chili flakes can be used but use them sparingly.
- Garlic and ginger: Thinly slice the garlic and ginger, as they look beautiful speckled throughout the chutney.
- Raisins: Added for flavor, and sweetness. Any variety of raisins can be used in this chutney. In Pakistan I would use the golden colored kishmish, however, abroad the black colored raisins are more easily available.
- Salt: Always add less salt in the beginning, and then adjust in the end. Less salt is needed if the kairi / raw mango is on the tart side.
- Nigella seeds: Known as kalonji in Hindi / Urdu, these are always added at the end of the cooking process so that they don’t end up changing the beautiful color of the chutney.
- Vinegar: Added to increase the shelf life and stability of the chutney.
Serving suggestions for Pakistani sweet and sour mango chutney:
Nauratan chutney can be eaten on its own with naan and paratha, and even with a spoon. It is also a delicious side to a main mail. The sweet and tart flavor adds a delicious contrast to savory dishes such as daal chawal, kebabs or a dry style vegetarian sabzi (vegetable curry). It can also be served as a dip with snacks such as samosas and pakoras (chickpea fritters). I have also started complementing this mango chutney with western style dishes. For example, adding it to cheeseboards with cheddar cheese and crackers or using it in sandwiches.
How to store mango chutney?
Mango chutney is best stored in the fridge in a jar or other suitable airtight container. Store the mango chutney in small jars / containers, and use one jar at a time making sure to use a clean dry spoon to take out the chutney. For an increased shelf life, chutneys can also be kept in jars and sterilized. The season for green mangoes is in the summer when the hot weather makes food items more prone to spoilage. That is why proper care needs to be taken.
If you are looking for other Pakistani and Indian recipes, check out the following:
- Fish biryani
- Taheri (Aloo chawal) – Rice and Potato Pilaf
- Kaali daal or khari masoor ki daal – Black Gram Lentils
- Aloo Matar Sabzi (Potato with Peas Curry)
- Aloo Hari Piyaaz (Potato curry with Spring Onions)
- Karhi or Pakora Karhi
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Sweet and sour mango chutney | Nauratan Chutney | Kairi ki meethi chutney
- 1 cup white granulated sugar – see note 1
- 4 – 6 cloves garlic sliced
- 1- inch piece ginger / 15 grams / 1 tablespoon ginger peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 5 dry dates known as chuara / chuwaray
- 20 grams / 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 kg unripe raw green mangoes known as kairi, keri or kacha aam – see note 2
- 4 – 6 whole red chilies
- ¼ teaspoon nigella seeds kalonji
- ⅓ cup vinegar
- Wash and peel the green mangoes. Slice or grate the flesh of the green mangoes, discarding the seed. Try to remove as much of the flesh as possible. Set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot add sugar, salt, sliced ginger, garlic, raisins, and dry dates. Add 1 ½ cups of water and bring this mixture to a boil.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and let it cook for about 10 minutes. The sugar will dissolve as the mixture cooks.
- Add the grated or sliced raw green mango (kairi) and cook for around 30 – 35 minutes. Keep heat on low, and stir the mixture every few minutes. As the mixture cooks, it will thicken and the consistency will turn jam like. The cooking time will differ depending on the ripeness of the green mango used. If the green mangoes are more unripe, the cooking time will increase and if the green mangoes are on the riper side, the cooking time will reduce.
- Add whole red chilies, followed by nigella seeds and vinegar.
- Cook for another 5 minutes, and then turn off the stove. Taste and add additional salt, if required.
- As the mixture cools, it will thicken a little more.
- Once the mixture has completely cooled, it can be kept in jars or an air-tight container in the fridge. If proper care is taken, the chutney can be kept in the fridge for about 3 months. It’s best to store the chutney in small jars, using one jar at a time. Make sure to use a clean dry spoon when taking out the chutney.
- This recipe will make about 1 - 1 ½ kg mango chutney resulting in around 4 jars of 250 - 300 ml each. Serving size is around 2 tablespoons each.
- Make sure to pick unripe mangoes for this recipe – they are also called green mangoes or kairi / keri. Many Indian, Pakistani and Asian grocers sell these unripe green mangoes during the summers. Pick green mangoes that are firm to the touch and have a flesh that is white to pale lemon yellow color in color. If the green mangoes are too tart (flesh will be white in color), increase the amount of sugar and cooking time in the recipe. If the green mangoes are more ripe (flesh is lemon yellow in color), reduce the amount of sugar and cooking time in the recipe.
- Instead of white granulated sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, jaggery or gurr can also be used. That will change the color of the chutney, and also add a hint of caramel flavor.