Here come the mangoes

As the heatwave takes over the whole of North India, most of us have been cooped up inside homes.

Published: 05th May 2022 09:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2022 09:24 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes only (Photo | Vinay Madapu, EPS) 

As the heatwave takes over the whole of North India, most of us have been cooped up inside homes. The only glimmer of excitement this season is the incoming varieties of mangoes. Growing up, I remember the endless petis (boxes) of mangoes that my grandfather used to bring home.

The fruit would then be washed and soaked in water-filled buckets to keep it cool. All of us used to gather around the buckets kept in the garden under the shade of the litchi tree and would gorge on the juiciest of mangoes the season had to offer. Somehow, eating mangoes in the company of others enhances their flavour. Don't you agree? 

Come summer and we'd see that the little ambiyas (small, unripe mangoes) that would fall from the tree would be turned into aam panna, some would be added to dal, while some found their place in the khatti-meethi aam ki chutney.

The pickling time for the quintessential achaar would be at the end of the mango season, sometime around July, when the tiny mangoes would be chopped with a sarota (nutcracker) and then dried to make pickles of various kinds. These pickles would then be distributed to family and friends. 

Amongst the many varieties of the king of fruits, my favourites are dasheri and langda from Uttar Pradesh, kesar from Gujarat, and Himsagar from West Bengal. Though I have lived in Mumbai for many years, I couldn't develop a liking for hafoos or alphonso mango. But, what I did take to was aamras served with fresh puffy pooris and the Gujarati fajeto - a kadhi made with yoghurt and mango pulp - first introduced to me by Gujarati home chef Shital Kakad. 

Back home in Delhi-NCR, you will soon be able to savour aamras-pooris - a combination that still has novelty value in North India - at Chef Kainaz Contractor's soon-to-launch Bhawan in Gurugram. If you are a dessert lover, then you're spoilt for options as the mango special menus take over the city's patisseries.

Amongst them is Chef Bani Nanda's Miam Patisserie, which is serving the most delectable mango cakes, and the mango cronuts and mango choux buns at Mr and Mitts Bakery.

While you're at it, do not miss out Chef Ruchira Hoon’s mango specials that she announces regularly on her Instagram page! They call it the king of fruits and rightly so, but for me it has more to do with the fact that it is so versatile.

From the baby mangoes to the ripe ones, you can eat it as it is, or incorporate them in your dishes - savoury and sweet. Though there might hardly be anyone who enjoys this hot weather, I am sure that the sweetness that mangoes bring in this season can hardly escape anyone! 

(Vernika Awal is a food writer who is known for her research-based articles through her blog 'Delectable Reveries')



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