Bafenu: A Parsi Pickle With The Magic Of Ripe Mangoes
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Parsi cuisine can be confusing. It’s a mish mash of identities and flavours spanning from ancient Persia to modern-day Mumbai. But by far, it’s Gujarati cuisine that has had the greatest influence on Parsi cooking. So it’s no surprise that the Alphonso mangoes from Bulsar (now known as Valsat) became the base for a new and delicious pickle, Bafenu.

Bafenu is made with ripe mangoes and designed so that it lasts the whole year long. The use of ripe mangoes gives this pickle a unique sweetness, and if made correctly can last more than a year. It’s often made during Boman Mahino, a thirty day period dedicated to Boman Yazad, the energies that protect the environment during which Parsi Zoroastrians try to abstain from eating meat. Luckily this month coincides with Mango season, so nobody minds too much.

A special blend of spices, ground mustard seeds, lots of jaggery and vinegar, the pickle requires a lot of skill to master. Since the key part of the recipe is balancing the spices, sugars and vinegar for optimal fermentation, it can 


  • 4 ripe mangoes
  • 320 grams of brown vinegar
  • ½ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 20 gms salt
  • 350 gms jaggery
  • 30 gms kashmiri chilli powder
  • 25 gms garlic
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • Oil 


  • 80 gms brown mustard
  • 30 gms yellow mustard
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 200 ml white vinegar
  • 2 shallots
  • Salt to taste


  • Wash and dry the mangoes and then in a deep pan add some oil and fry the fruits whole, with the skin on for about 20-30 minutes.
  • In a grinder, mix your mustard seeds, wine, vinegar, chopped shallots and salt until smooth. Leave this to infuse for half an hour.
  • When completely soft, remove the mangoes from the pan and set them aside. 
  • Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and add the mustard mix. Use a blender to make it smooth.
  • Place the mangoes gently at the bottom of a large jar or airtight container, cover them with the sauce and allow them to stand. Every two days, gently bring the bottommost mangoes to the top. 
  • Then let it rest for a further 15 days to complete the pickling process.