Hindu Gods claimed it to be the Food of Gods, the emperors and nawabs called it the King of fruits, poets like Ghalib called it pots with honeyed juice , scientist call it Magnifera indica, with all the special names given by special beings.
To the ordinary, however, it remains a simple ‘Aam’ ( which itself means ‘ordinary’).
What generous qualities is this wonder fruit not bestowed with—soft silky texture, gorgeously golden color, a mesmeric aroma for the olfaction, and a heavenly sweet delight to the taste buds. And not just the quality, in the peak of its season, it comes in abundance, making Aam ( mango), yet another symbol of generosity. And as if these qualities weren’t enough, it comes in hundreds of varieties.
I love the way, when in abundance, mango sells at a reasonable price making it affordable to many if not all the poor.
“Till last week, in Delhi, some variety of mangoes were being sold at as low as Rs 30 per kg,”, tells my Mom. Still in this world of commerce and trade, India though the greatest producer and remains the largest consumer of mangoes too, with 99% being consumed locally and only 1% is exported.
Thinking of mangoes, mind goes instantly to a few cues—of mango orchards in Rataul, where one went to eat just mangoes, or of childhood visits to grandparents where buckets of mangoes soaked in cool water waited for our arrival, and of mangoes being brought home by parents in pettis( wooden boxes) and tokras (baskets) not polybags. Abundance was common to all.
Beyond eating them as it is, mango shake or mango lassi are universal favorites too.
Right from unripe green to a pulpous ripe fruit, mangoes are worthy of being used in a variety of recipes. The strong mango flavour that obstinately stays even after cooking or mixing with other ingredients, makes it stand out and still remain the main ‘hero’ of any recipe.
The itch to break the monotony and use them in different recipes had always been quite intriguing. Having experimented with various recipes, there are some which have hit really well with my folks at home. And now each mango season, their demand is refreshed.
I share here those household favorites
Aam Panna: An age-old traditional drink, that elderly claim beats the heat stroke or LOO (in the desi jargon. Made from unripe or semi ripe mangoes, boiled and pulp sieved, which can be used as either sweet (with sugar) or sour ( without sugar). Adding a dash of chunky chaat masala( desi spices), and a twig of mint leaves makes it a great delight. The resultant sweet n sour drink is a great thirst quencher.
Mango-Avocado-Crab Salad: Layered as avocado cubes with crushed garlic at the bottom, mango cubes with ginger juice in the middle, and crab meat sitting on top. The outcome is pretty cool, with much economy of labor and time.
Mango Salsa & mango chutney with barbecued chicken:
Mango salsa includes tomato and mango cubes, red onion and jalepino pepper with lemon juice and mint or cilantro garnished. The resultant is a colorful, crunchy mix that is hot, sweet and sour.
Mango chutney is made from green mango pulped, and cooked with sugar and achar masala (pickle spices). Vinegar is added as preservative, after it cools.
Mango Rose: This is almost a decade long favorite dessert in the house, a must inclusion in the parties arranged in mango season. The recipe is an in-house creation and hence kept secret :). Got to eat before ask for the recipe.
Happy mango season !