There is really an art to the making of Burong Mangga because although it can be explained how to make it, it is only with experience that one makes it perfectly. When I used to live in Bacolor, Pampanga, I was made in charge of the small mango orchard that the family owned. When it was nearing harvest season, sometime between December and March, I would go to the orchard and see to the harvesting. There would always be some baskets of green mango that would be our share in the harvest. Seeing this as an opportunity to learn how to make Burong Mangga, mango jam, and mango chutney, I would set aside a basket of mangoes for my experiments.
To make the Burong Mangga, one has to chose the right kind of greenness of the mango. It cannot be too green or it will have an acrid taste; it has to be the stage where there is just a tinge of yellow inside the mango. OMG, you mean I must have x-ray vision? You bet; and that is where experience comes in. It’s how the green mango feels when one holds it; you make “pitik” (flick) the green mango to hear the sound of how hollow (to indicate immaturity) or denseness (that point where you want it to be). Like I said, it takes experience and a basketful of green mango.
Burong Manggang Hilaw (Pickled Green Mangoes)
Here's how to make Burong Manggang Hilaw or Pickled Green Mangoes as a way to preserve the fruits of a bountiful harvest. The result is a crunchy, sweet, sour, and salty treat.
- For the first stage of pickling
- 2 kilos green mangoes
- ½ cup coarse sea salt
- For the second stage of pickling
- ¼ cup sea salt
- 1 liter water (4 cups)
- For Burong Mangga Chinese Sweet Style (variation)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 cups 7-Up or Sprite
Prepare a glass bowl that will can contain the green mangoes when sliced.
Peel green mangoes and cut from the seed as close to the seed as can be on the half cheek.
Lay the cheek of mango, flat side on chopping board, and slice lengthwise ½-inch thick. Place sliced pieces in glass bowl.
Do this to all the mangoes. There is also another style where you leave the skin on the green mangoes but you have to slice the mango into it’s two cheeks.
When all the mangoes have been sliced, sprinkle the ½ cup salt all over the sliced mangoes and with your hands, mix the salt all over.
Leave for 1 hour and repeat the mixing every hour for six hours.
Then rinse the mangoes with cool water and drain thoroughly.
At this point if you have an electric air dryer, it would be good to dry the sliced mangoes for 2 hours at the fruit indicator of the machine.
The other way is to air-dry the sliced mangoes on a wire rack or "bilao" (winnowing basket) for about 6 hours.
Now it’s ready to be brined.
Make the brine:
Place water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil; then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the solution cool completely.
Putting it all together
Place sliced mangoes in sterile jars.
Pour solution to cover sliced mangoes.
Leave in jar at room temperature for 4 days.
After 4 days, take a small piece of the mango and taste if it has fermented to your liking.
If not yet to your liking, ferment for another two days and taste again till it's to your liking.
Once you have achieved that taste, refrigerate to stop fermentation. TIP: You can make new pickling solution to change the water inside the jar so that it won't smell so fermented.
For Burong Mangga Chinese Sweet Style (variation)
In a bowl, mix sugar with 7-Up or Sprite till sugar dissolves.
Place mangoes in a glass container with a cover and pour the sweet pickling solution; if not sufficient pickling solution, make some more.
Cover and let stand in a dark place for three days.
After three days, drain the solution from the mangoes.
Make another batch of the sweet pickling solution,
Place the mangoes back in the glass container and pour new solution,
Leave again in dark place for another three days.
On third day, the mangoes are ready to be used.
Refrigerate the pickled mangoes.