All about the Indian mango, and two fantastic mango recipes for instant nirvana!
It’s that time of the year when every conversation at the local fruit seller (or your gourmet organic fruit market) inevitably turns to mangoes:
“Can you make sure I get the first five cases of the Dashehari or Haapos?”
“Why is the Neelam this year not as sweet as last year’s?”
“You arranged ten cases of Badami for Mrs Khanna and none for me!”
Mango mania invades the country – cases are shipped to relatives abroad and parcelled as “special” gifts, recipes for chutneys, dips and salads are dusted out and many pleasurable hours spent debating why the Badami or Kesar or Mallika is the rightful queen of mangoes. Meanwhile, the housekeeper and cook can’t wait for the cases to arrive from their orchards in Malda – and I am torn between guilt and greed as I await my share of the ripe, squishy beauty.
It’s difficult to find an Indian who doesn’t have a mango memory. Mine is of hot summer afternoons spent gulping down whole Dasheharis in the company of my mother, laughing as the golden juice trickled down our arms, licking the nectar off my fingers to the last drop and not being admonished for it.
Memories and taste aside, there are economic reasons why the mango is so essential for our country – nearly half of the world’s production of mangoes comes from India. The Indian mango trade got a huge shot in the arm when the US lifted an 18 year ban on Indian mango imports in 2007. Interestingly, India is not the largest exporter of mangoes – that honor goes to Mexico. But Indian mangoes draw a considerable premium in the US compared to their Mexican counterparts – a case of Kesar or Alphonso retails for nearly $30 (Rs. 1,800), while Mexican mangoes sell at one third that price (a case contains 9-10 mangoes). So when the EU decides to ban Indian mangoes, it affects not just the Twitter ranting expatriates who’ll miss out on their annual fix, but also the mango producers and exporters. But local aficionados can rejoice, as the Alphonso, Kesar & Dashehari are likely to be available at lower prices in the country.
To celebrate the arrival of the most awaited food of the season, we bring you two of our favourite mango recipes. We also found a great mango map of India, with interesting tidbits about the magnificent fruit. And if all this merely whets your mango appetite, we suggest you glean some trivia about its popular cultivars from this excellent blogpost.
If you have a mango recipe that’s close to your heart, do share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or email. We’d love to try out your recipe in our Test Kitchen, and if it makes its way to our heart, we promise to publish it on MBRB!
If we were given the choice of a food we’d like to be exiled with, we’d choose guacamole. For years we thought we had the perfect recipe for a cool and tangy guacamole, until we discovered a twist of taste by Rick Bayless: avacado, lime juice, green chillies and mangoes – what more does one want from life? A perfect accompaniment to nachos, crackers, crisps and pita, but best enjoyed just by itself!
As much as we love mangoes, the sweetness in shakes and juices can get to us sometime (Yes we like Cheeni Kum!). Which is why we love Tarla Dalal’s Mango Sorbet – the dash of ginger and hint of lemon are a perfect offset to the heavy sweetness of the mangoes. The repeated freezing takes a little bit of time, but the end result is completely worthwhile – the perfect cooler for a hot summer day!
All About Indian Mangoes
This visual commissioned by Yahoo! is a great guide to the Indian mango and its numerous cultivars. Enjoy!