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What could be more iconic of an Indian summer than mangoes? And how better to do it yourself than try out some mango recipes?
Cooking with mangoes has been a tradition in my home, one that actually came down to me from my grandmother, my mother’s mother, and of course as a result I have a yummy line-up of mango recipes.
Aaji stayed with us since as far back as I can remember, my memories of her comprise a lot of stories, and of course food. My mother was a working woman, and when my brothers and I came home from school, Aaji would have something warm and tasty ready on the table.
Summer meant that we were at home all the time, and a time when Aaji made some traditional food which I have never seen made after I grew up. Home made spices and masalas, and preserved stuff like a variety of papad and pickles and jars of jams called muramba, and bottles of concentrates for tall, cold drinks that lasted us a few months.
These yum mango recipes I share with you now? I have learnt them all from her, as a child, watching her make them.
For this, you will need absolutely raw, hard mangoes of the type that do not have fibrous pulp – traditionally, I use the Rajapuri kairi for which I make the trek to Russell Market in Bangalore. This is available everywhere in my native Mumbai. You can use any non fibrous raw mango, of course.
Wash the mangoes well, and dice them into cubes. I try to slice off all the pulp from the seeds, and keep them aside for, as I mentioned earlier, as a souring agent in the day’s daal.
The critical part of this mango recipe is the pickle masala. You can use a ready made pickle masala, but I make my own.
For 1 kilo of raw mango you will need:
1 tbsp methi/ fenugreek seeds
3 tbsp mustard seeds
3 tbsp red chilli powder + 1 tbsp paprika (Kashmiri mirch) for extra colour
1.5 tbsp turmeric powder (I prefer using the asafoetida you get as crystals that you need to break down).
1 heaped tsp asafoetida
2 cups mustard oil
1 tbsp of mustard seeds for the tadka
Pulse the 3 tbsp of mustard seeds in a dry grinder just until the black husk comes off, but stop before it starts to become a powder. Pour it all out in a flat tray and try to blow off as much of the black husk as possible – what stays behind is the yellow grain itself.
Fry the methi seeds in a thick bottomed pan in about a tbsp of oil, just until it turns reddish brown, taking care not to burn it. Take it out into the dry grinder. Now, fry the asafoetida crystals in it quickly and take that out too. In the remaining oil, add the turmeric, stir it a bit, and switch off the heat.
Now grind the methi seeds and asafoetida together. To this, add the roasted turmeric powder, chilli powder, paprika powder, the processed mustard, and mix it all well.
Pro Tip: You can make a large enough batch of this pickle masala by scaling up the amounts by volume. After using what you require for this batch of pickle, the rest can be stored in a dry glass jar in the fridge for over a year.
Take the diced raw mango. If you need 1 katori (my 200 ml measure) of masala, take 1/2 katori salt. Coarse sea salt is the best, however, for this I did not have that so used ordinary table salt. Mix well, and fill it in large glass jars with non-metallic, well fitting, screw on lids, right up to the top if possible.
To make the tadka/ phoDNi, heat the mustard oil with the mustard seeds until they begin popping, then lower the flame and let them all pop. Switch off the heat, and let the oil cool completely for more than an hour. Then pour it all into the pickle, and mix well.
This pickle tastes just as yum fresh on the first day, as it does after a couple of months.
My aam panna is the simplest of mango recipes and will give you joy for at least a few months.
Pick raw mangoes of a variety that do not have fibrous pulp. So Rajapuri, Totapuri, or Badami raw mangoes work well.
Wash mangoes well, wipe dry. Peel them. Then cut each mango into 5-6 pieces; you may have to cut around the seed if these are fully grown mangoes.
Put these in a vessel that fits in your pressure cooker. Add water at the bottom of the cooker, but none in the vessel holding the mango pieces. Cover the vessel, close the pressure cooker, and cook for around 6 whistles. Let it cool.
Take out the mango pieces and squish and scrape off all the cooked pulp into a biggish vessel. Keep the bald seeds aside; these can be used as a souring agent for the day’s daal.
Puree the pulp. For every volume of pulp, add 2.5 volumes of sugar. If the mangoes were slightly ripening and not completely raw, you can reduce the sugar to 2 times. Add a generous teaspoon of salt – this helps in keeping sugar less.
Mix well with a whisk or a hand held blender. Your aam panna pulp is now ready.
Pro Tip: I usually divide this up into 3-4 parts, and add different flavours to each. You can add kesar elaichi, or freshly ground jeera powder, or khus essence, or a paste of fresh mint leaves… this is one of the mango recipes where you can use your imagination and taste preferences to customise it as you want. You can also make it spicy with kala namak, chat masala, jeera, and chilli powder. So you have a variety for yourself in different moods, as well as to offer guests.
The refreshing glass of panna you see here has jaggery instead of sugar – one of the variations I like.
This pulp, an aam panna concentrate, can be kept in the fridge in a glass jar with a non-metallic lid, for around a year. Take a large tablespoon of the pulp and add water and ice for that tall drink. Nothing more is necessary!
This is a pickle I make at the beginning of the mango season, when raw mangoes have just come into the market, but these do not have a well formed, hard seed at the centre.
Wash these mangoes well as they often have the sticky resin on the outside. Wipe them dry properly so that there is no residual moisture – a crucial step in pickle making.
Cut each mango into around 8 large pieces. Cut all the mangoes and put them in a vessel big enough that you can mix the pickle easily.
Pro Tip: This recipe requires that coarse, non-iodised sea salt. This is the tastiest version of salt, believe me. It also packs in less actual amount of salt per volume compared to table salt
For every kilo of mango, take a katori full of salt – my katori is 200 ml by volume. Lightly dry roast this salt for a few minutes. Cool it, and then add it to the mango pieces. Mix well.
Make sure the glass jars you use to store these are washed, and well dried. Fill each one with the raw mango and salt mixture right up to the top, and close them tight.
The mango will pickle, essentially in brine with no other preservatives, in a few days’ time. This will last a whole year without spoiling, if you make sure to use a dry spoon every time.
Now, whenever you want fresh mango pickle, take out a sufficient amount of this in another jar, mix in enough of the pickle masala we made in the earlier one, and make tadka in the same way; cool and add. It tastes like freshly made raw mango pickle.
I don’t usually like to cook with ripe mangoes, as IMO they are best just as they are. But this delectable sweet dish is a must at least a few times during mango season, and can be made with any amount as it is quite scalable.
Amrakhand is a variety of the more famous Marathi sweet Shrikhand which is a must in my home for any kind of celebration. It’s varieties are an absolute favourite.
What you will need for amrakhand for 4 people who eat at least a couple of bowls each:
2 litres curds – either homemade, or buy the one you get in packets, not the ‘set curd’ type, as that does not drain so easily. Hang it up, either in a cheesecloth/ muslin cloth that can be hung up somewhere you can keep a vessel under to collect the whey, or tie the curds up in the cloth and put it in a colander on a large enough vessel, and place a weight on the potli to drain it quickly enough.
Pro Tip: I have a couple of dedicated old cotton dupattas of the Jaipur print kind that I use only for Shrikhand. I also reserve the whey in the fridge where it stays fresh for a couple of days, and use it to make kadhi or instead of water when I make thalipeeth – another traditional Marathi dish that is a great breakfast or a filling lunch option, best eaten with mango pickle and a blob of home made white butter (optional).
Sugar – this is measured by volume of hung curds, so hold on to it.
2 ripe, juicy mangoes. Select mangoes that have thick pulp and a rich taste, like Alphonso, Badami, or Malgova. Avoid varieties like Dasheheri which is slightly runny, or Totapuri that isn’t rich tasting enough. Extract the pulp, and puree it.
Now measure the hung curds by volume. For every volume of it, I take a little less than 3/4th volume of sugar. Blend the two well with a whisk or hand held blender. Now add the mango puree, and again blend it well. Other flavourings like elaichi and kesar can be added, but for me, when mango is added, this feels like overkill.
Keep in the fridge to chill well, and have it either by itself as a dessert at the end of a meal, or with porous or chapati.
One extra Pro Tip: For this, you could also use tinned Alphonso mango pulp, and make it any time of the year, not just during mango season! All other ingredients and steps remain the same.
This is one of the savoury mango recipes that could be an acquired taste, but once you get hooked on it, it will be the quick, any time mango recipes you will come to, again, and again.
Methamba has a short shelf life, even in the fridge, of about a month or so. So it is never made in pickle quantities – the most I have used at a time is a kilo of raw mango.
For this, again, take nice sour raw mangoes. For 1 kilo of raw mangoes you will need:
2 tbsp of ordinary cooking oil. I use cold pressed peanut oil.
2 tsp of mustard seeds
7 – 8 dry red chillies
2 inch long cinnamon stick pounded into a rough powder
7 – 8 cloves pounded into a rough powder
1 tbsp of methi seeds
1 heaped tsp asafoetida
1 tsp turmeric powder
A handful of curry leaves
2 tsp of chilli powder or more if you want it really spicy
2 tbsp of broken up jaggery, or to taste
Salt to taste, preferably coarse sea salt
Wash and wipe the mangoes dry. Peel them, and dice them into smaller pieces than for the pickle.
Pro Tip: I have a cast iron wok that I use for these recipes. This heats up evenly, retains heat, yet does not quickly burn what is cooked. It also adds to the dark brown colour of the methamba which is desirable, and in traditionally cooked food, also added a bit of iron to your food. The trick not to overdo the iron part and prevent it from tasting “metallic” is to take the cooked food out of it as soon as done, and not stand it in.
So, in a thick bottomed vessel, heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds. As they begin to crackle, lower the flame and add the dry red chillies, and methi seeds. Stir as you watch the methi seeds closely; they should just begin to brown when you add the curry leaves, asafoetida, and turmeric powder in quick succession. Immediately add the diced raw mango, and stir well. Cover and cook for some time until the mango begins to soften.
Add the rough cinnamon and clove powders – if you want to make it easier, you can pulse it quickly in a dry grinder so that it remains gravelly – do not grind too fine. Add the chilli powder and salt, mix, and cook further until the juices run and boil well. Add the jaggery, and cook further until it all becomes a gloopy, bubbling mass.
Taste before you take it off the gas, and if you want to, add some more chilli powder and adjust the salt and jaggery – it should be an explosion of sour spicy sweet in your mouth. Just thinking about it is making me salivate.
Pour out the methamba in a glass jar that has a non-metallic, well fitting lid. Keep it open until it cools down, and then close it and store in the refrigerator.
This is one of the mango recipes which, when I have a jar in my fridge, is used in all places a jam or pickle may be used. I eat it not only with my main meal, I also smear it on slices of bread to make a mouth watering quick sandwich on the go, or on a chapati and roll it up as a quick snack.
There are quite a few more of the traditional mango recipes I could talk of, but let’s keep it for another day.
What are your favourite mango recipes? Do share.
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