It’s that Time of the Year! The Mango Season…or like my friend Chittoo’s nephew Nemo calls it “Mango Holidays”! 🙂
Come April & the King of Fruits makes his presence felt all over the city. Neat piles of the orange-yellow fruit dot street corners, fruit & vegetable markets, traffic signals… everywhere you look crates, baskets, hay & the bright mango colour.
Mangoes are my favourite fruit. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was born right in the middle of the season. Growing up, our home, from April to June, smelled like a Mango Orchard!
A household of 11 people ensured that there were crates of the fruit at home any given point in time. The space outside the kitchen had the dozens of ripe, fragrant fruit stored in piles of hay ready to eat. The extra, not-so-ripe ones used to be stored just as you entered through the front door. So whether you stepped out of your room first thing in the morning or came home after a long day at school, the beautiful, sweet & heady scent would hit you smack in the face! And with that the promise of a treat in store… slices or cubes of mangoes for breakfast, bowls of freshly squeezed & strained mango juice or Aam Ras with Poli (thin, layered whole wheat Roti or flat-bread) or Safed Rotli (cottony soft white flat bread made with rice flour) for lunch, tall chilled glasses of mango milkshake or mango Lassi (yogurt based smoothie) for tea & mango Shrikhand, sweet, thick yogurt flavoured with chunks of the fruit with Pooris (small, round, deep fried whole wheat flatbread). If Mango is the King of fruits, my Ma is the Queen of Mango Shrikhand makers! The Shrikhand she makes is light, not too sweet with just the perfect balance of fruit & yogurt. I absolutely LOVE it! She was sure to make this dessert every year on my birthday. Even now she makes it around my birthday & freezes it for me if I’m not around 🙂
There are loads of different types of mangoes. There’s the Alphonso or Hapoos, saffron-red skin , plump, firm, & sweet. That’s the one we eat sliced or cubed, in Shrikhand, Lassi, Milkshake. Ma & my Grandma would fill large earthen jars with firm, ripe Hapoos mangoes freshly crushed mustard seeds to make Bafana, pickled ripe mangoes to be eaten with split brown rice khichri a few months later during Shraavan, the Hindu month of fasting. Then there is the Pairee, slightly green, just a wee bit tart, perfect for Aam Ras or juice. Then there are the large Rajapuris & yellow Dussheris that crop up later in the season when the best Hapoos & Pairees are on their way out. After that you have the Langras,& others… honestly we are a bunch of Mango snobs who don’t look beyond Hapoos & Pairees! And no matter what anyone says…. you get the BEST mangoes in Maharashtra! Most of the mangoes in Bombay come from Ratnagiri on the west coast of the state. The rest of the country, just doesn’t measure up!
I could live on mangoes! I think back in the day, we hardly ate any vegetables during summer! Of course the grown-ups tried to ration out the amount of mangoes we ate… but it rarely worked! My favourite way to eat a mango was to suck on it… with skin & all & become a complete mess, with mango juice down to the elbows & all over my face!
Or as a mango sandwich… thick slices of the fruit on a thick slice of white bread, buttered…well…thickly!
The recipe I am going to post today is a Mango Raita. A raita is a yogurt based condiment usually with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, pineapples, or potatoes & is used as a sauce, dip or a refreshing complement to a spicy dish. As far as possible, I hate tampering with the natural flavour of the fruit. But this savoury-sweet-mustardy version is a delicious accompaniment to any meal. At home, if there was a vegetable dish cooked, that we didn’t much care for, this mango raita was made to lure us into eating… “If you have 2 spoons of peas, I will give you some more kairi (mango) raita!” or if we had unexpected guests, this added a special touch to an ordinary meal.
The raita made at home was a traditional one, more yogurt & less fruit, with the former being more liquid. I chose to deconstruct it a bit so that that the yogurt adds to the flavour without over-powering the taste of mango. While I have used the same seasoning my mother did, I added the sesame & almonds for an extra crunch (I always need that!) & a lovely warm toasty flavour & mint for colour & freshness.
So here it is… My version of the Vakil Family Mango Raita!
- 2-3 ripe Alphonso Mangoes (cubed)
- 1 cup thick Yogurt (hung & beaten)… gosh that sounds violent!
- 1-2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds (crushed)
- 1-2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds (roasted & ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
- Mint Leaves (finely chopped)
- Roasted Almonds (roughly chopped)
- Toasted Seasame Seeds
- Toss the mango with some mint leaves & sesame seeds & arrange on a serving plate.
- Whisk the yogurt with the mustard seeds, cumin powder, salt & sugar.
- Pour the yogurt over the mango.
- Garnish with the rest of the mint, sesame & almonds
PS: All the pictures in today’s post are courtesy
My Dearest Husband 🙂