Time to prepare lip smacking Avakaya

Time to prepare lip smacking Avakaya
Mango season arrived in Visakhapatnam

The much-awaited ‘Avakaya’ season is finally here. Homemakers and grannies are curious to showcase their mastery of making the ‘avakaya' in different formats.

Visakhapatnam: The much-awaited 'Avakaya' season is finally here. Homemakers and grannies are curious to showcase their mastery of making the 'avakaya' in different formats.

With the arrival of raw mangoes in the local markets, people started cleaning and drying their 'jaadis' or ceramic-ware. As women ensure to stock up sesame oil, crystal salt, mustard powder and red chilli powder, the raw mangoes get sliced into small pieces after they are wiped clean sans any trace of water.

Each household follows its own recipe, of course, with a subtle variation in mixing spices. Those who eagerly wait for the season to set in are also particular about the variety of mangoes they prefer to make the traditional pickle. 'Kolangova', 'suvarnarekha', 'rasalu', 'palukulu', 'pariyalu', 'hydersaheb' and 'collector' form a part of the varieties chosen for the 'avakaya' preparation.

Grannies who have decades of experience in introducing their treasured recipe to the next generation could hardly wait to lay their hands on the sun-dried ceramic jars. V Anantharamamma, who is in her late 80s said, "I have been preparing avakaya for over six decades now. Though I am unable to make it myself, I guide my daughter-in-law and grand-daughter in preparing the pickle.

The annual menu includes 'pesaru avakaya', 'bellam (jaggery) avakaya', 'kaayi avakaya', 'pulihora avakaya', 'ingua avakaya' and 'neella avakaya', which may not be known to this generation." Working women, who are busy with their work and household chores, say that they could not wait any longer to taste 'kotha avakaya', the taste of which lingers on. In some households, partners too wield the ladle. P Mahati, a school teacher says, "There are many companies which sell mango pickles but I prefer home-made avakaya. Fortunately, my husband helps me in the preparation process."

While the demand and excitement to prepare avakaya never comes down, the hike in mango prices this year disappoints a few. K Subha, a homemaker, expressed her distress. "The price of one kg of mangoes last year was Rs 50 and now it is Rs 65, if the prices keep increasing like this, we should confine to preparing the pickle in limited quantity."

Mango farmers feel that they might get good yield this year since the flowering is creating hope for the crops in and around Tuni and Narsipatnam areas. Expressing his views, K Srinu, a farmer from Payakaraopeta, states, "The flowering in our area is very good this season. It would be nice if it rains now so that mango trees get the required water for the production. We pray that it doesn't rain from next month, especially if there is a hail storm, our crops will be destroyed completely."

While the farmers were hopeful about high yields, the Horticulture Department opined that there's a dip of 60 per cent in mango production this year. They further added that most varieties in mango would be arriving in the market in the last week of May, which is the possible reason for the hike in prices of mangoes that are available now.

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