“Come down from the tree. Look at the mess you’ve made, go wash your face. Lunch is ready” - my mother would exclaim on a hot summer afternoon during my summer holidays in Kerala. After playing with my slingshot, I would climb up the branches of the family Mango tree and gorge on this curvy, voluptuous fruit. The tree, stood proudly, a few feet away from the entrance of my father’s home, smiling at the visitors who would occasionally come over and the passersby who were curious to know what was behind the gravel stone walls of the family home.
Have you ever plucked a mango from a tree and devoured it as a whole with your teeth? The fresh scent of the mango skin hitting your nostrils as you peel through it with your teeth followed by the rich pulp giving you a vitamin c adrenaline as you lust over the mango till the last bit of flesh is left. It is this personal satisfaction that makes summers memorable and made my grandmother pack a dozen mangoes from the celebrated tree for me to devour later. The word has it that the hotter the summer, the sweeter the fruit. All I know is the advent of summers means a mango a day. Okay, let’s say two mangoes a day.
History has judged the Mango as our National fruit of how it has been celebrated over centuries and rightly so. With over 248 different types and many more unaccounted varieties, Mango to an Indian household is a very personal and intrinsic experience. Big or small, raw or ripe, there are so many versions being celebrated of this lustrous versatile fruit. We almost forget how unique it is to our culture.
Mango to me celebrates the uniqueness of India. And India in return celebrates the goodness of this fruit not just through the different cuisines which decorate this vast landscape but also through motifs weaved deftly in silk, in intricately shaped ear loops or as mehndi in brides to be.
Isn’t it true that food brings people together, in this case particularly the mango?
Now with that, we take you through a history class on mangoes in India and give you three recipes to try at home. Happy reading.Signing off,
Nikhil Joseph for the The Postbox
There are around 283 types of mangoes found in India, out of which only about 20 - 30 are well-known. We've mapped out 22 dominant varieties found in various parts of the country.
India occupies the top position among mango growing countries of the world and produces 40.1% of the total world mango production.
Here are three very simple recipes you can try at home especially now since most of us are working from home.
- 2 Fresh Mangoes
- 1 Frozen Banana
- 1/2 cup milk, dairy or dairy-free
- 1/2 cup yogurt, dairy or dairy-free.
- Add the ingredients to a high powered blender and blend till creamy.
Pro-Tip: Add nuts of any kind if you like to give it some crunch.
We move from a smoothie to know a home favourite for many. A unique spicy curry with an equal amount of sweet and sour. A staple Mangalorean classic, this dish is traditionally made using wild ripe mangoes you find in abundance on the west coast.
- 4 Mangoes
- 1tsp Jaggery
- Salt to taste
For The Masala:
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 2-3 red chilies
- 1/4 cup fenugreek seeds/methi seeds.
- 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds/powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 clover garlic
- 1/4 onion
- 1/2 tsp oil
- 1 Red Chilli
- Few curry leaves
- Mustard seeds
Wash the mangoes well, peel them, and set aside.
In a pan, dry roast fenugreek seeds, red chili, and coriander powder. Roast the spices on a low flame for 2-3 minutes.
Add the roasted spices to the cumin powder, garlic, onion, and turmeric powder. Add a little water so that it forms into a paste. Transfer this to a pan and add a cup of water. Cook the gravy on a medium flame till it comes to a boil.
At a medium to low flame, add the peeled mangoes to the gravy and salt to taste. As the gravy thickens, add 1/2 tbsp of jaggery. Switch off after 5 minutes.
As mentioned above, to temper the dish, heat 1/2 tbsp of oil on a pan with mustard seeds, red chili, and curry leaves. Add the tempering to the gravy.
You are all set. Best served with steamed rice.
Pro tip: You can soak the peels in 1/2 cup of water for 10 minutes. Post 10 minutes, squeeze them to get all the juice which you can add to the gravy when you are adding the mangoes.
For the biscuit base:
- Digestive Biscuits: 100 gms
- Melted butter: 50 gms
Powder the biscuits and then add the melted butter. Mix with a spoon and press onto a greased (Spread slice of butter) pie dish. Chill for 20 mins. Please do not put it in the freezer.
For the filling:
- Mango Pulp - 3/4th cup
- Yogurt - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 3/4th cup
- Cream - 1/2 cup
- Gelatin - 1tbsp melted in 1/2 cup of water.
Mix it all together and stir with a spoon. Strain it on top of the chill base. Please keep it in the fridge for 4-5 hours. (Not in the freezer) Garnish with pudina leaves and cut mangoes.
Pro tip: All ingredients should be fresh.