Mango memories and recipes that will take you back in time

Readers rewind to their favourite mango memories and share recipes they love to cook. Perhaps the only thing more potent than the flavours of the mangoes are the memories themselves!

Atreyee Madhukalya

Name: Atreyee Madhukalya
Age: 24 years
Lives in: Bengaluru, grew up in Guwahati
What do you do: Just completed a Master's degree

What is your favourite mango? Do you have any special stories or memories related to the mango season?

My favourite mango is, what we Assamese, call the Langera. It's lean and surprisingly juicy. My second favourite is the Alphonso for its great taste. I was earlier not too fond of the Alphonso but a recent trip to Mumbai where I tasted it made me change my preferences.

My mum and I both enjoy eating the fruit around the seed/core, and so we invariably get into a quibble over who’d get the seed. And most times, she’d win! Also, there was this one time when I got very upset and refused to touch the mangoes because my dad took a single, cut piece from my plate. Needless to say, I am extremely possessive about the mango!

Is there a mango recipe that you particularly love?

Oh yes, many. My mum makes an amazing sweet mango chutney. We also make mango pickles and dessert. My favourite is the chutney. It’s amazing to eat with puris, rice, bread.

Where did you find the recipe/whose recipe is it?

I am unsure. Perhaps my mum just made the chutney while she was experimenting but it’s also possibly an already established recipe!

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
4 tbsp Vegetable oil
1 1/2 Dried red chilli
4 Ripe mangoes, cubed - any variety will do
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder or as per taste
Salt
Water

Method:

On medium flame, heat 4 tbsp oil in a pot. Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds. Another variation uses Panch Phoran (five spice: cumin, nigella, fenugreek, black mustard and fennel seeds in equal proportion). Add the chillies. When it starts to crackle, add the cubed mangoes. The heat must be on medium to prevent cubed mango from searing. The mango will begin to release water. Stir it. Once you see that the mango pulp has started too dry, add some water. Be careful with the amount of water you add and do this in stages. Add the red chilli powder and pinch of salt. Keep stirring. When the mangoes start to soften and then disintegrate a little, take it off the gas. At this point, it must have a medium-thick consistency. Check for the flavour, and adjust the chilli and salt if required by putting it back on the flame on medium heat.

Denise and Donald Ross

Name: Donald Blanche Ross
Age: 56 years
Lives in: Bengaluru
What do you do: Run Ross Preserves where I make jam, preserves and pickles with my wife Denise

What is your favourite mango? Any special stories/ memories related to the mango season?

I now prefer Alphonso mangoes but as a child we loved the green mangoes my dad would bring in big baskets. They were mostly the locally grown varieties that villagers sold by the basket loads. These were thrown into a big cement tank full of water and allowed to cool. Then all of us sat around and each one of us ate at least five mangoes each. We called these ‘sucker’ or ‘sucking’ mangoes. They had a thick, sweet, golden pulp that was delicious and very, very satisfying. We kids always ended up having a competition of who would suck the seed the most. At the end, the seed would end up looking white with not a speck of mango on it.

Is there a mango recipe that you particularly love?

I love the mango muraba that my late father-in-law would make for the family.

Where did you find the recipe?

I tasted this muraba on my first visit to my in-laws’ home. I was offered the delicious muraba with hot parathas.

Can you share it with our readers?

Yes, I will be happy to do so. I make it every year for my family now.

Ingredients:

1 kg Raw big, green mangoes. The flesh should be grated
250 gm Sugar
350-500 gm Jaggery
20 gm Cinnamon sticks
20 gm Cloves

Method:

Mix all the ingredients together and cook it well on medium fire till the mango is well cooked and it changes colour to a golden brown. Cool and store in a clean, dry bottle. And store it well. If the bottle is not opened, it will stay for a year or more. But once the bottle is opened, please use a dry clean spoon and then store the bottle in the fridge.

Satyabodha Joshi

Name: Satyabodha Joshi
Age: 41 years
Lives in: Bengaluru
What do you do: Cinematographer

What is your favourite mango? Any special stories/ memories related to the mango season?

It is the Alphonso, but I also enjoy the Raspuri and Banganapalli mangoes.
In our family we have an important ritual to be followed before relishing the first fruit of the season. This ritual or pooja falls on Narasimha Jayanti. I still remember how as children we were all allowed to eat the first mango of the year only after the long pooja had been performed and a naivedya of mango delicacies had been offered to the deity, Narasimha.
In orthodox families like ours, elders would eat a full meal only once a day. They practiced many ritual observances known as madi. This meant that many a time all they would have for dinner would be puffed rice or sometimes nothing except water in accordance with the madi rules.

During the mango season, however, I would see these very same elders flocking to the golden fruit. They would sit in different corners of the kitchen as if called for by custom and religiously finish two or three mangoes each. Even elderly widows would sit inside the bathroom to avoid any breach of madi and happily relish mangoes!

Is there a mango recipe that you particularly love?

Every home would make aamras or shikarni, as it is known in Kannada, and have it along with chapati or puri in the past. It would be prepared so frequently that along with us even the cows and buffaloes would be given the leftover mangoes, seeds and even the shikarni during the season.

Where did you find the recipe/whose recipe is it?

Well, mangoes are by themselves a readymade recipe given to us by nature.. That’s why the aamras or the shikarni is made with very few ingredients.

Can you share the method with our readers?

The choice of mango itself is a major step. I would prefer the Alphonso for it. First squeeze the ripened mango of all its pulp. Stir it well to break lumps and add some jaggery. If you want to add a sparkle to the shikarni introduce a little salt to it. Be prepared to be amazed!

S Rajan and Srividya Rajan

Name: S Rajan
Age: 58
Lives in: Mumbai
What do you do? Senior executive at a software firm

What is your favourite mango? Any special stories/ memories related to the mango season?

My favourite mango is the 'king of mangoes’, the Alphonso or Haapus, from Ratnagiri Maharashtra. My special memory related to this fruit and its season - typically from late February to end of May (or the onset of monsoon) - is my mother's love and craving for the fruit. It transcended her worry about its impact on her diabetes and sugar levels. She even convinced her doctor to allow her one mango a day for the duration of the season with a promise to get her blood tests done before and after the season, and implicitly follow whatever diabetes management regimen the doctor prescribe post the season. By the way, she stuck to her promise of just one mango a day but would eat the flesh from the seeds of others’ mangoes.

Is there a mango recipe that you particularly love?

While there are many, there is one which has to be the favourite - the mango morkozhambu. This could described as a Tamil version of a kadhi made sans besan but with ground coconut paste.

Where did you find the recipe/whose recipe is it?

My mother’s recipe, refined by my wife.

Ingredients:

4 Ripe mangoes
3 cups Yogurt beaten to a smooth consistency. It should preferably be one day old to give it some sourness
1 Dried red chilli ( 1.5 to 2 inches long - medium spicy)
2 Fresh green chillies
1 pinch haldi
1 tsp chana dal
6 to 8 Dried methi seeds
1 cup Grated coconut
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Oil for the tadka
1 tsp Mustard seeds
8 to 10 Curry leaves

Method:

Prep

Fry the chana dal (till golden brown), methi seeds, the red chilly (till they shine) and green chillies with two or three curry leaves. Add the grated coconut and remove from stove. Then grind it to a coarse paste and keep aside.
De-skin the ripe mangoes, cut into small pieces and keep aside. Take the flesh off the seeds and add to the mango pieces. Beat the curd to smooth consistency and keep in a bowl.

For the morkozhambu:

Put a little water (1/2 to 1 cup) in a pan or kadhai and when it starts to boil, add the mangoes and boil for five minutes. Mash the mangoes with a ladle (you can leave some lumps for the surprise sweet taste when eating the dish). Add the chilly/coconut paste and the haldi and bring it to a boil again for 5 minutes so that this also gets cooked. Now add a little water to get the desired consistency, like that of a thick kadhi. Add salt to taste ( slightly on the lower side, to allow the sweetness of the mango, tartness of the curd and spice of the chillies to come through). When cooked, add the beaten curd, cook for 2 minutes on low flame and turn off the stove. For tempering, heat the remaining oil, add the mustard seeds. Wait for the spluttering and then add the remaining curry leaves. The dish is ready to eat with rice or puri.

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