The numerous moods of uncooked mango


Pushpesh Pant

‘When it rains lemons, make lemonade,’ goes an old saying. That’s easier said than done and almost impossible to follow when it is raining mangoes. And matters become utterly unmanageable when we enter the arena of raw mangoes. It sounds all very nice to croon romantically, ‘Koyaliya bole ambuwa ki dari’, etc, but how does one cope with 4-5 kilos of tart green fruit landing on the lap daily from the solitary tree in the backyard? All thoughts of swinging from the branch disappear fast.

In the days of joint families, all hands gathered on the deck and began pickling for family and friends. Armies of conscripts busied themselves with washing and chopping the fruit, grinding the spices, heating oil, sterilising the martbaans and keeping a track of the batches to be kept in the sun. But gone are those days and we are left with just kachchi ambiyaan or kairi.

With the pandemic bringing in the time for human beings to fend for themselves, even grinding chutneys and making aam panna can’t exhaust the supply. The lockdown makes it impossible to share the bounty. If you’re going through a similar turmoil, try incorporating unripe mangoes to your main course cooking. Our friend Muhammad Farouk’s vegetarian ambar kaliyaan puts to shade its non-vegetarian sibling. A thick slice of unripe mango draped in rich aromatic gravy left nothing to be desired. Bawarchis of Awadh were obsessed with tricking their patrons with such surprises. But since that recipe is quite heavy and cumbersome, we give it a skip here.

Instead, you could try your hand at grilled mango steaks with BBQ sauce, served with mango salsa. This is a Tex-Mex fusion, but if you wish to make a patriotic statement, splurge on aam ki launji, a wonderful sweet and sour hybrid of a chutney and sabzi. It has a unique feel — you bite into thick fillet-like slices, but instead of the BBQ sauce, relish the swadeshi masala. It goes well with poori, parantha and phulka, but must be portioned out like a sabzi.

For those in the mood to exert very little, we suggest mamidikaya pappu that is common to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. A tangy and light refreshing lentil soup, this requires nothing more than a bowl of steamed rice to create bliss. In Awadh, they prepare a kairi wali arhar ki daal too, but the southern tempering makes this one special. Rakesh Raghunatan, our young foodie friend from Tamil Nadu, introduced us to mamidikaya chitranna. However, that requires a little more patience and skill to pull off.

Now, raw mangoes aren’t just a vegetarian treat. Mamidikaya mamsam combines mutton and fruit (in both dry and gravy form) across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Kerala repertoire has meen mappas, but that recipe uses ripe mangoes.

The one thing we can assure you of is that if you are really determined to use up the bumper crop, there is no dearth of recipes. You can try a different one at each meal. Try the chaat-like raw mango sabzi from Rajasthan or stock up jars full of chundo equally popular in Gujarat and Bengal. Traditionally left under the sun, it can be prepared on stove too.

WORTH A TRY

Grilled mango steak with BBQ sauce

Ingredients

  • Unripe mangoes (large) 2
  • Black pepper (coarsely pounded) 1 tbsp
  • BBQ sauce 1/4 cup
  • Onion (medium-sized, sliced thickly) 1
  • Garlic cloves (crushed) 6
  • Sugar 1/4 cup or more, depending on tartness of the fruit
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil 2 tsp

Method:

Peel and cut the mangoes into cheeks resembling steaks; season with salt and black peppercorn. Line a non-stick pan with a thin film of oil and pan grill the ‘steaks’ for two minutes on each side. Remove and keep aside on a plate. Put the onions in a pan and stir fry on medium flame till translucent. Add garlic, BBQ sauce and sugar. Stir briskly till sugar is liquidised completely. Pour over steaks after adjusting the seasoning. Enjoy with accompaniments and garnish of choice.

AAM KI LAUNJI

Ingredients

  • Unripe mangoes (large) 2
  • Jeera 1 tsp
  • Methi seeds 1 tsp
  • Sarson seeds 1 tsp
  • Saunf 1 tsp
  • Kalonji seeds 1 tsp
  • Red chillies (shredded) 2
  • Sugar 1/2 cup or to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil 1/4 cup

Method:

Peel the mangoes. Slice thickly, lengthwise. Heat oil in a pan and add the seeds. When these begin to splutter, add chilli and the mango slices. Almost immediately add salt and sugar. Keep stirring continuously with a gentle hand ensuring that the slices don’t burn and the sugar doesn’t caramelise. When the syrup is of two-string consistency, remove from the stove.

MAMIDIKAYA PAPPU

Ingredients

  • Unripe mangoes (peeled, stone removed and chopped) 1 cup
  • Tuar or masoor daal 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp
  • Sugar to taste
  • Salt to taste

For the tempering

  • Hing, a pinch
  • Curry leaves, a sprig
  • Sarson seeds 1/4 tsp
  • Methi seeds 1/4 tsp
  • Whole red chilli 1
  • Ghee 1 tbsp

Method:

Pick, clean and wash the lentils. Put it in a pressure cooker and add 2 cups of water, add turmeric and other spices along with salt and sugar. Add the mangoes and cook for three to four whistles. Open the lid and mash the lentils and mangoes a little. Prepare a tempering by heating ghee in a ladle and putting hing and the seeds in it. When the seeds begin to splutter, add curry leaves and the chilli. As these change colour, pour over the pappu.

MAMIDIKAYA CHITRANNA

Ingredients

  • Unripe mangoes (large) 2
  • Rice 1 cup
  • Spice paste
  • Coconut (grated) 1/2 cup
  • Whole red chilli 1
  • Jeera 1 tsp
  • Dhania seeds 1-1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

For the tempering

  • Curry leaves 6-8
  • Urad lentils 1 tsp
  • Methi seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Sarson seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Peanuts 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Ghee 1 tbsp

Method:

Boil the rice and keep aside. Grind the ingredients for the spice paste without using water. Mix it with the rice, blending well. Prepare a tempering of hot ghee and pour over the chitranna. Enjoy with dahi.



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