The mighty mango, or the King of Fruits as it is popularly known, has a long list of praises in its kitty, but what is less known than its rich taste and seductive yellow-orange tone is the fact that it is packed with antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamins A & C – all pretty much in line with “healthy eating,” as the trend goes these days.
We all have our favourite mango recipes — those that employ a particular part of the wonder fruit, and those that spare none of it, from skin to stone. Raw mango thokku, pickle, gojju, aam panna, are all delectable in their own way, and yet it is the salt and chili-powder sprinkled Totapuri that brings us the full-bodied essence of it, not to mention a rush of school memories.
Take the ripe fruit and you can employ it in a zillion ways – in wobbly puddings and runny kheers, creamy smoothies and frothy lassis, pulp beaten down to leathery squares or slid into cake batters. And yet it is the whole mango, its flesh bitten into and relished with the earnestness of a child, while the juices trickle freely down from the elbows, is what appeals to the lots of us with a weakness for both the fruit itself, and a slice of our childhoods.
While the fruit is still in season, reach out for a naturally ripened batch in your favourite variety (and God knows there are enough), and enjoy its goodness. Or if raw mangoes are your thing, go all out for a peck of farm-fresh ones. Here are a few things to keep in mind, while you do that:
- Say no to carbide-ripened mangoes – you can tell them apart easily, by checking for uneven patches of skin colour. If the mangoes look uniformly yellow/ orange, they’re probably carbide-ridden.
- Always exercise moderation while feasting on mangoes – if you overdo it, it could cause a tummy upset. One way to counter that is to follow up mango intake with a glass of milk. Also, mango is best digested when eaten after a meal. When consumed on a hungry stomach, it could lead to stomach-related problems.
- Wash the mangoes thoroughly – raw or ripe – before use. Take care to clean out the sap from around the tips, and to chop off the tips of the mangoes before cutting into them. The sap causes canker sores on the lips and in the mouth, and not only are they a sore sight, they’re pretty painful too.
- While pickling or curing mangoes in order to preserve them and enhance shelf-life, make sure the mangoes and the knife/ peeler/ cutting board are completely dry.
- If you’d like to preserve ripe mangoes for use during off-season, you could freeze the pulp and thaw just before using in juices or desserts.
Looking for a quick-fix mango recipe? Try this instant mango pickle, which takes just minutes to put together and leaves you with a pitch-perfect aftertaste, long after you’ve relished it with your meal.
Peel and chop 2 small raw mangoes. Heat 2 Tbsp sesame oil in a frying pan. Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds and a pinch of asafoetida/ hing. Once the mustard seeds pop, add salt to taste, a tsp or two of red chilli powder and 1/4 tsp each of turmeric and powdered fenugreek/ methi seeds. Now take the pan off the heat, stir in the mango. Wait for a few minutes and enjoy!