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that’s a pickle

Recipe: vietnamese pickled green mangoes

I love to travel. But I also love to stay home. Can you be a traveling homebody? Because I think that might be what I am. For me, there is such a thing as too much travel even though I get excited making plans and enjoy exploring and seeing new places (and old places – you don’t ever see it all). If I’m home for long periods of time like I was during my cancer treatments, I don’t start longing to go someplace else. I like where we live. I like doing the things I do around home.

like having lunch with a friend (snarf’s sandwiches are the best!)

Right now I’m sort of dreaming of the time when I’ll be able to have friends up to our place for dinner. I’m looking forward to doing spring maintenance on our house. Thoughts of flowers blooming in Boulder light up those dusty corners of the brain. I’d love to be able to get a good stretch of time to take care of some work projects. And of course the mountains are calling to me for a visit. But first I’m visiting elsewheres… good places. Very good places. I’ll tell you all about it later.

(testing new studio equipment) these two will have to fend for themselves

Last year on a trip to Southern California, I spent a couple of days with Todd and Diane. It’s like ethnic food safari hanging out with those two. AND it’s Hella Fun. So on my crazy quest for passion fruits, we encountered many other delectable treats like jackfruit, banh mi, boba tea, pate chaud, and this heavenly pickled green mango.

diane is all “oh yeah, that’s good stuff”

I was fascinated because I am a bit of a pickle fiend. Western or Eastern style pickles – they are all awesome. Sour, salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy. Oh goodness, my salivary glands are going off like lawn sprinklers in my mouth just thinking about pickles. I felt like a kid in a candy shop when I pointed to the large glass jar and asked Diane if those were pickled mangoes. Her eyes lit up and she said yes, they’re really good – do I want to try some? Before I could answer she was asking for a container to buy some from the little Vietnamese ladies running the shop. We stepped outside onto the sidewalk and Diane popped the lid open, “Here, try some!” Crunchy, sweet, and tart with a bite from the chili peppers. I nodded and made mmm mmm noises as Diane declared, “You need to have some pate chaud next!” and marched me to the bakery next door.

green mangoes

rice wine vinegar and sugar

Months later I’m wandering through the grocery store in Boulder and I spy green mangoes on sale for $1 each. In Colorado, that’s cheap. But I have never purchased green mangoes before. I always eat mangoes as fruit: ripe and sweet. I walked past. And then the memory of those pickled mangoes popped into my head and I found myself backtracking in the produce section. I sent Diane a text and asked if those pickled mangoes were made with green mangoes. Yes. How would you pickle them? Not sure… try vinegar, sugar, chili and let me know how they turn out!

peel the skin off


It was worth a shot. I knew from the photo I had taken of Diane with the large jar that there was sugar, chilis, and based on my taste memory, rice wine vinegar. This kind of pickle is ready in about an hour but will keep (refrigerated) forever. I totally wung it because I had (and have) no idea what I was doing.

place mangoes in a container with sliced chilis

pour the sugar-vinegar combination over the mangoes

These pickles are pretty close to what we had. There is no doubt in my mind that it could be tweaked with all manner of other flavors. I mean, make it your own, right? I really liked them to the point that I ate too many and felt like they were burning an acid tunnel through my gut. So then I stopped eating them for a while. But the other day I found them in the back of my fridge and had a sample. Good pickles. Good times!

especially refreshing pickles when chilled

Vietnamese Pickled Green Mangoes
[print recipe]
inspired by White On Rice Couple

2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
5 green mangoes
handful of Thai chiles

Combine the rice wine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium flame. Stir until the sugar melts. Remove from heat and let cool. Peel the mangoes and slice the flesh off the stones. Slice the chiles. Place mangoes and chiles in a large container and pour the cooled vinegar over everything. Cover the jar and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before serving. Will keep in refrigerator for a few weeks (at least).

24 nibbles at “that’s a pickle”

  1. Rosa says:

    That recipe sounds and looks good! I love the idea of pickling green mangoes.



  2. Nisrine M says:

    That’s my kind of pickle: sweet, acidic and spicy. So interesting that it’s made with mangoes.

  3. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says:

    I love this recipe..basically countertop + super fast pickling. With no added salt, only using sugar, omg this is MY kind of recipe. Actually Ani Phyo (my raw vegan chef idol) pickles food this way and I have posted in the past about it…but gosh, never with mangoes. YUM!!!!!!

  4. My Little Expat Kitchen says:

    This is such an interesting recipe. I never thought you could make mango pickle but then again a friend of mine says you can pickle anything!
    You definitely know what you are doing :)

  5. Michelle says:

    I love to get away, travel is always on the horizon. We often get away every weekend for biking or climbing adventures. When we are ready to pack up and go home I usually can’t get there fast enough. I want my space, my things, my food – my comforts.

  6. Sara says:

    Yummmmm, these look so good and so simple to make. I bet they would be a nice, crunchy accoutrement to any number of dishes, too! Have you tried Persian pickles? They usually come canned. Super sour and crunchy and delicious!!!

  7. Phoo-D says:

    Lol, a traveling homebody- that describes me perfectly. I think it just means we don’t like working in an office! ;) You and Diane must have pickles on the brain this week. Two great recipes!

  8. farmerpam says:

    Yeah, mangos are a dollar apiece here too. Cheaper now than in the summer! I couldn’t resist and canned up some mango chutney. Been wondering what else I could make with them. Can’t wait to try these pickles tomorrow.

  9. Joy says:

    my mom makes something similar. she is going to love your recipe.

  10. Andrew says:

    Jen what’d you think of Little Saigon’s pate chaud? I can’t get enough of them I have to stop by a local bakery and get one once a week!

  11. Paulette says:

    Yes you can be a traveling homebody. That is just what I go through, I cannot wait to get to where I am going and half way through my vacation I long for home. We are like children who love to explore but in the end can’t wait for the safe haven called home. Oh I love the Snarf sandwich. Paulette

  12. diane & todd says:

    thanks for the recipe! what a great trip, hope to do it again soon. The mangoes are killer good, but you’re so right about the acid in the gut. hah.
    Love the shot of J & K! yip for new photo gear too!!

  13. Judy says:

    your dog is beautiful & looks so healthy, do you mind if i ask what you feed him/her?

  14. Maris (In Good Taste) says:

    I love mangoes. This is an interesting recipe and one that i will try!

  15. Margie says:

    I am so going to do these. I have no doubt they are amazing, with the rice vinegar + the Thai chilies, they can’t lose. Off to forward this to the oldest, she will be delighted.

  16. vi vian says:

    this is delicious with the terrine i made! the mango pickle really brings back childhood memories for me. my paternal grandmother is the queen of pickle. unfortunately she died when i was even interested in cooking therefore not able to learn some pickling method from her. thank you for this recipe :)

  17. jenyu says:

    Magda – I have also heard that you can pickle anything! :) Sounds great!!

    Sara – oh, I’ve never tried those before. Now that’s on my list to look for :)

    Phoo-D – I think I had pickles on my brain this week. Diane has them on her brain EVERYDAY! ha ha ha.

    Andrew – oh the pate chaud is SOOOO good. I’m a little glad I don’t live so close by or else I think I’d get one every day. Mmmmm.

    Paulette – right, except my travels are mostly for work, not vacation :)

    Judy – Kaweah used to eat Iams large breed, but now she’s on Iams senior food. We don’t do much more than that. I think we’ve been very fortunate that she’s such a healthy girl. Thanks!

    vivian – aww, I bet she would be proud of you.

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  19. Nancy says:

    I lived on Guam for many years and we had a mango festival every July. The variety of pickled mangos the locals made was amazing. There were hot and spicy, sweet, and kim chee spiced. I am just getting my pickles juices going. I’m with all you pickle freaks it makes my salivary glands go wild. I also had pickled green papaya for the first time while living on Guam. That is as good as anything else pickled. I just did green beans today.

  20. Amy says:

    I’m new to pickling, but will try anything. Has anyone tried using ripe mangoes?

  21. jenyu says:

    Amy – Green mangoes will be much better for a more crisp texture.

  22. Teresa says:

    Have 2 mango trees. Always pick up the small fallen fruit. Those that have the signs of fluid on the stem & a bit down the side are saved..these will make perfect pickles!

    Thank you so much. Yes, I have made salsa after windstorms. this is a great alternative.

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  24. Qui says:

    I do this a lot but use equal parts of sugar and vinegar. I also do it with Green Papaya.

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