I wouldn’t want to be born anywhere but here, my India. And every time I rant about bad roads, crass people, crummy politicians, and frequent power outages I find nature’s bounty smile at me as a gentle reminder why this is mine own country. Fiery reds fight with burnished yellow as tree lined avenues of bright yellow Copper Pod Trees and Flames of the Forest and bounganvillas of all colors (red, white, orange, magenta, yellow and pale pinks) shine brighter and more cheerful as summer peaks.
But for me summer truly gets here when I see trees laden with mangoes tempting the kleptomaniac buried deep inside. I can’t resist the green fruit, its headily tempting aroma and its tangy taste. Ripe mangoes are good too but nothing like the tangy taste of a raw mango best eaten simply with salt and red chilli powder.
If you are heading out of the city be sure to check out the mango vendors near the toll gates who make cut mangoes seem a work of art. Thotapuri mangoes slit into ten but still held together at the base.
I thought of sharing a few of my favourite mango recipes and those of you who can steal or buy a mango or two should definitely try these out.
This is my version of a mango-laced vodka cocktail.
You need: a slice or two of raw mango (I prefer the Thotapuri variety since it isn’t too sour) cut into small cubes; 30-60 ml of vodka (depends on how strong you want your drink to be); 1 tbsp of mango slush (I prefer Maala’s mango slush); soda; 1 tsp of honey (increase it if you want more sweetness); ice cubes; mint leaves; 1 chilli slit; chaat masala
Method: Mix honey, vokda, mango slush, ice cubes, mint, slit chilli in a cocktail shaker. Shake. Shake. Shake. Transfer all but 1/4 of the concoction to a high ball glass. Now add soda and chaat masala to the cocktail shaker along with the 1/4 concoction and shake. Transfer to the glass and stir with a spoon. Add the cut mango cubes and serve chilled.
Caution: The raw mango with the chilli will give a pleasant buzz
You will need 2 Thotapuri mangoes; Mustard Oil – 3 tbsp; Salt to taste; Chilli powder (1-2 tsp depending on pungency level); Asafoetida/Hing (a pinch of two); Methi/Fenugreek seeds (1/4 tsp); Mustard seeds (1/4 tsp); Turmeric (1/4 tsp)
Method: Grate Thotapuri mangoes. Heat oil in Kadhai (wok) to smoking point. Add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once it crackles, add hing and the masalas. Either reduce heat or remove from stove before adding masalas else it may burn. Then add the grated mango and salt. Mix well.
Note: Chutney can be refrigerated. If storing outside increase quantity of oil by another spoonful or two. Goes great with rice.
Aam Soare (Mango curry)
You will need Thotapuri mango (1 or 2 slices cut into large cubes); 2 tomatoes finely chopped; 1 big onion coarsely chopped; curry leaves; fenugreek/methi seeds; mustard seeds; garlic pods – 4; turmeric powder (1/4 tsp); Chilli powder (1-3 tsp depending on pungency); salt to taste; Cooking Oil (2 tbsp) to temper
Method: Heat oil in kadhai. Add mustard, fenugreek seed and after it crackles add garlic pods and curry leaves. Then add chopped onions and fry till brown (not burnt brown but light brown). Add chopped tomatoes and roast till oil seperates. Now add turmeric powder and mango cubes. Pour 1.5 glasses of water and simmer till mango cooks. Add chilli powder and salt according to taste. Simmer for a few more minutes till the raw smell of chilli powder gives way to the fragrance of the curry.
Serve hot with rice or idlis or dosas.
You will need Thotapuri mango (1/2 mango cut into medium-sized cubes); curry leaves; tomatoes -2 big; mustard seeds; hing/asafoetida; red chillis-whole; garlic-6 pods; a small ball of tamarind soaked in water (extract pulp); jeera/cumin seeds (1/2 tsp); peppercorns (1 1/2 tsp); salt to taste; 1 spoon ghee (clarified butter); Eastern rasam powder (or MTR or Aachis or any brand of rasam powder)
Method: Pulp tomatoes, garlic and 1/4 piece mango together in mixer or food processor; grind jeera and peppercorns together; Heat khadai to smoking point. Add mustard and curry leaves. Once it crackles add ghee. After ghee heats slightly add red chillis and hing. Stir in tomato puree mix and tamarind pulp. Add 2 glasses of water, jeera/pepper mix, rasam powder and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and finish it off with garnish of coriander leaves.
Can drink hot since it is a great remedy to counteract summer cold else serve with hot rice and ghee with papads (poppadums) on the side.
Note: Unless mentioned chilli powder refers to red chilli powder; Mustard seeds for tempering can be either 1/4-1/2 tsp ; hing is a pinch; salt is to taste since it depends on individual
Bon Appetit, and enjoy the Indian summer 😀