Mangoes and summers — separate the two and you will probably have nothing to talk about. Yes, the king of fruits has a swag and mango lovers behave like minions when offered a plateful of the delicious fruit. And you will not call yourself ‘Despicable Me’ even if you have the juice dripping all over you!
This year, it has been slightly tough to get your usual dose of mango masti. But as lockdown eases, you can lay your hands on the golden crate. Till then, relish these delicious mango stories.
Going mango hunting
Mention mangoes and it brings back some very beautiful memories for Paramita Singh, nutritionist and yoga practitioner. It reminds her of her Amma (grandmom).
“We stayed in defence colony and I used look forward to the mango season every year. The excitement was not just about eating mangoes and savouring the taste, but the fun was waking up early morning and visiting the mango gardens to collect the fruit, she says.
She wanted to be the first one to reach there to collect the mangoes that would be strewn on the ground from previous night due to strong winds. “The ones that were ripe were for me and my elder brother and the rest for others, since that is what I had decided. The raw mangoes were basically used by my Amma for pickles. We miss Amma’s achaar now,” she says and shares a lip-smacking Aam Dal recipe.
Tur dal, washed and drained..¾ cup
Water.. .3 cups
Raw mango, peeled and sliced.½ cup
Turmeric.. .½ tsp
Mustard seeds. ..1 tsp
Methi seeds. ..¼ tsp
Green chillies... 2-3
Whole green chillies... 2
Tej patta. ..2
Salt as per taste
Sugar.. .1 tsp
Wash the dal and pressure cook it by adding salt and turmeric.
Boil the sliced raw mango in 1 cup water by adding salt, turmeric, sugar and green chillies. Cook till the mangoes are soft but not mushy.
Now mix cooked dal and mango along with the remaining water.
For tempering, heat oil in a small pan, add mustard and methi seeds, whole red chillies and tej patta.
When the seeds start to crackle, pour the tadka in the dal and let the dal boil for 2-3 min.
Serve it hot with steamed rice.
You can’t eat just one!
Reminiscing about his school vacations and mango memories, executive chef, Suresh Shelar, Banjara restaurant, mentions that he and his friends used to eagerly wait for summer holidays to start so that they could all get together for the competition which involved shooting mangoes from the trees.
“I clearly remember the mango eating competition with cousins where they would eat 10 mangoes a day — 3 for breakfast, 2 for lunch, 3 at tea-time and 2 for dinner. It was a crazy time and even crazier number of mangoes that we would eat, surely they were the good old days,” he says.
Shelar, who is a culinary expert now, has taken his love for mangoes a level higher by making Mango Cheesecake and sharing the recipes with us.
For the crust
Cracker crumbs. ..1 ½ cups
Sugar. ..½ cup
Unsalted butter, melted... 6 tbsp
For the filling
Ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped.. .3
Cream cheese, room temperature.. .1 kg
Sugar... 1 ¼ cups
Vanilla extract... 2 tsp
For the crust
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Stir cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and stir until evenly moistened.
Press crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom (not sides) of the prepared pan.
Bake until the crust is set, about 12 min. Cool completely. Maintain oven temperature.
For the filling
Blend mangoes in a processor until smooth.
Set aside 2 cups mango puree.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Add 1 egg at a time, beat well after each addition.
Add 2 cups mango puree and beat until well blended.
Pour filling over crust in pan.
Bake cake until set and puffed and golden around edges, about 1 hour 25 min.
Refrigerate uncovered overnight. Run small knife from the sides of pan to loosen.
Transfer cake to platter. Serve with sliced mangoes.
A sweet and spicy affair
Sudeep Chakravarty, a contestant of MasterChef India season 6, grew up in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and has some magnificent mango stories to share. “Every summer, my grandmother and mother would send me and my sibling to the market to buy mangoes. We would bring home around 5 kg at a time and while helping mom make the achaar, around half a kg would disappear, not making its way to the pickle jars. That’s because we would eat them raw,” he says, adding that the highlight would be to have the delicious achaar served with homemade ghee parathas. Of course now, the master chef has learnt a few more skills and dishes that he can make with mangoes. His Caramalised Aamwala Chicken recipe will take you by surprise.
Caramelised Aamwala Chicken
Butter... 50 gm
Red chillies ...4-5
Green chillies... 3-4
Ginger, thinly sliced.. .50 gm
Thyme... 20 gm
Green bell pepper.. .100 gm
Tomatoes... 100 gm
Onions... 100 gm
Chicken... 300 gm
For the mango ginger chilli sauce
Take the pulp of a ripe mango (should not be too soft). Heat a pan, add two spoons of butter. On a medium heat, once the butter is hot, add finely sliced red dried chillies.
After 30 secs, add thinly sliced ginger. Once the ginger turns brownish gold, lower the flame and add thyme and mango pulp.
Keep stirring for 7-8 mins on low flame. If it gets dry, add a bit of butter
Now the sauce is ready.
For the vegetables
Now cut vegetables in julienne style: Green bell peppers, tomatoes and onions. Also, finely chop garlic ginger and green chillies.
For the chicken
In a frying pan add half cup of water, two spoonfuls of sugar. Let it boil once the water reduces to half, add one spoon of butter and one spoon of olive oil.
Once the mixture is slightly sizzling, add chopped ginger and chillies. Add chicken and increase the flame to high. Mix everything properly. Cook for 5-6 min on high flame.
Add the vegetables and fry for another 5-6 min. Then add the sauce and mix well.
Serve the chicken hot. It goes great with a side of cheesy bread.
Drink and be merry
Amit Puri, renowned chef and beverage consultant, recalls that every summer his mother used to make outstanding Aam Ka Panna. “Back then, she used to cook the raw mangoes with sugar and water and blend them together with mint and seasoning, and store the concentrate in bottles in the fridge. Every now and then, my sister and I would open the fridge, pull out the concentrate, pour it in glasses, dilute it with water and sip on it. And before that batch of concentrate was over, mom would make another fresh batch for us. I don't think we ever had water in summer. It used to be only mom’s Aam Ka Panna,” he says and shares his ripe mango chutney recipe adding a little more sweetness to our mango moments.
Meethe Aam Ki Chutney
Ripe mangoes, peeled and roughly diced.. .2
Refined oil.. .3 tbsp
Saunf... 1 tsp
Mustard seeds... 1 tsp
cut into small pieces. ..3
Bay leaf.. .2
Curry leaves.. .10 leaves
Ginger, peeled and grated.. .1 tsp
Water.. .¾ cup
Black pepper powder.. .¼ tsp
Turmeric powder.. .½ tsp
Jaggery.. .½ cup
Salt. ..½ tsp
Lime juice … ½ lime
Vinegar.. .3 tbsp
Peel ripe mangoes and roughly chop the pulp. Discard the seed.
In a pan, heat oil and add saunf, Kashmiri chillies, cloves and bay leaf. Sauté for a few seconds and add mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
Add curry leaves, ginger and sauté for a few seconds.
Add water, powdered spices and jaggery.
Bring to a boil and add diced mangoes.
Allow the mango to cook in the spiced water till water dries up, stirring continuously. The mangoes should become pulpy and the jaggery should melt, making the tempered mangoes sticky. This would take about 10-15 minutes.
Add in vinegar and lime juice, cook for a couple of minutes and turn off the flame.
Cool the chutney and refrigerate in an airtight container.