Why should we prepare Homemade Mangodi if we can outright purchase them from the market? First, let me tell you what Mangodi is. It is a sun-dried marble-sized granule prepared from soaked and grinded daals (lentils). Generally yellow moong daal or white urad daal is used to prepare homemade mangodi. They are part of a gravy based traditional dish popular largely in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Here, mangodis are sometimes paired with potatoes too. (Mangodi ki subzi)
During the summer season in the desert areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat, the availability of vegetables was scarce – Mangodis used to be the replacement for vegetables. As preparing mangodi was completely manual, it used to be done in groups. Two or three kg daal used to be soaked overnight in one house and the next day, after grinding it, all neighborhood women used to gather and help in preparing them while chattering, gossiping and sometimes singing folk songs. Each day the same routine would be followed, albeit, in a different house. Years back I had witnessed the same at my parent’s house. I was always amazed at this whole activity during those winter, sunny, days. Yes, mangodis are prepared during the winter season as sun heat is required for drying. So, tolerating sun heat for 1-2 hours is possible only in cold weather. Those neighboring aunts continuously preparing hand-drawn mangodis on our terrace used to be so efficient that every single mangodi used to be of the same size! Till today I am not able to create this wonder. So, I follow a shortcut method by using a piping bag, and my job is done quickly.
Interestingly, preparing mangodi is also a part of many traditions followed during the marriage ceremony. Can’t say what is the significance, but It was done by my aunts during my and my cousin’s marriages. Once mangodis dry completely, they are distributed among the neighbours. Probably a symbol of an old tradition trying to message the marrying girl that she should continue the same at her house also and keep harmonious relations with neighbours.
Nowadays, very few prepare homemade mangodis as they are easily available in shops. But definitely, you can’t beat the authenticity of homemade ones! I did with just one cup of yellow moong daal as I lack the patience and strength of preparing a big batch altogether. Some other day I will do some more…
Usually, mangodis are prepared on a clean plastic sheet greased with oil, so that it is easy to remove them after they dry up. Again, I went on an easy route and used butter paper. You can use anything of your choice.
An interesting fact is that adding salt is prohibited in grinded daal used for mangodi. My mother used to say that salt turns mangodi hard. I never tried to check this by preparing two batches – with and without salt – and always went ahead with the unsalted version😉.
Usually, daal is soaked overnight, but if you forget to do so then soak it in the morning in warm water for 3 to 4 hours and keep daal covered till you grind it.
Yellow moong daal 1 cup
Green coriander leaves 1/8 cup
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Water to soak daal
Dry red chilies 3-4
Take yellow moong daal in a bowl, wash it nicely 3-4 times and soak in sufficient water overnight.
By morning daal would be puffed up nicely. As daal is soaked and wet, it wouldn’t be difficult to grind it without water. If required, use 2-3 tbsp of water. We need a thick paste of daal – otherwise, mangodis will not set firmly. After grinding, add the rest of the ingredients and mix everything nicely.
Spread a clean plastic sheet smeared lightly with oil or butter paper in sunlight. Keep some weight (books or kitchen boxes) around the edges of the butter paper or plastic sheet. Fill daal in a piping bag and cut a small hole. Keep piping marble-sized mangodis till daal gets over.
The upper layer of mangodis will be firm and dry within 3-4 hours if the sunshine is very bright. You can cover them with a thin sheet of cloth and let them dry for the whole day. Don’t try to remove them from the plastic sheet/butter paper immediately after you think they have dried. Let them dry for the second day also and by evening they will be dry enough to be removed from the sheet. Keep them in sun heat for 2-3 days more till mangodis are dry, light and airy. Fill them in an airtight container and use them whenever you desire a change in the menu from regular vegetable dishes.