Summer Specials: Mangoes
After spending a week in the lap of lustful Western ghats, I was back in Bangalore, rejuvenated but only to be drowned with fever and severe back pain that has puzzled my orthopedic even. Only therapy that I had not dared tried was the acupuncture, may be the sight of frightful needles had finally relieved me from the pain. In the meantime I had finished reading the book and watched the movie by the same name – “a hundred foot journey ” by Richard Morais. If you are a food lover, then you are definitely going to love this book, though the emotions were pretty dry. Scripted by destiny, the story is about a talented boy who went on to become a Michelin star chef in Paris is incredible one. More than the food and the early morning market scenario of French country side in the midst of Jura mountains , it is also about the continuous struggle that exist between the ever-changing and challenging food business in the country, the love for food that is close to our heart versus the new concepts like molecular gastronomy. The movie however is not loyal to the book in some key aspects and that is quiet jarring if you have read the book first but the food scenes and the alpine scenic beauty of French countryside is as luscious as it can be. In short a feel good movie and dreamy for every food lover who secretly nurtured a dream to tread on this path.
Coming to this week posts, starting from today we are going to start a short series on Mangoes, the king of fruit, the jewel of summer harvests.
While rest of India is sweating under the scorching sun, Bangalore is enjoying fine and pleasant weather, with regular evening showers. The overcast clouds and light drizzle has transformed it into the wettest months in hot summer, probably not good for environment and food crops, the unseasonal rains had hit hard the favourite summer crop, the mangoes. Unlike previous years the lone mango tree in our neighborhood failed to bloom this year, not a single flower could be seen. The ripe ones are not that sweet as it should be, overall a very depressing season for mangoes and for the mango lovers as well. If you are still getting the unripe mangoes in the market then waste no time and whip up this sweet, tangy and crunchy green mango salad to zest up your summer lunch times.
This salad is an inspiration from the very famous Indian kairi chaat. Green and unripe mangoes are called kairi in Hindi, although the term is more meaningful in context of very small or first sprouts of mangoes. Sometime near the end of March or in early April, when spring ushers the new leaves on mango trees, which were soon followed by the tiny white flowers with yellow center, and as the season turns hot and humid, the tree and its bough were weighed down by the tiny green mangoes. These mangoes are good for pickling and also to make kairi chaat which is nothing but sprinkling the young mangoes cut into pieces with salt and chili powder, sometimes toasted peanuts are also added to it, and you can relish it as healthy evening snacks.
This chaat or salad meant to be “chatpata” the word will perhaps lost its meaning if translated to English. In short, it is sweet, tangy with hint of spiciness, all in equal proportions, bursting with flavours of unripe mangoes and a perfect balance of flavours. In India every chaat is accompanied with a chutney, the tamarind chutney or more precisely known as “chaat chutney” the very soul of Indian chaat. The chutney is essential here and is very easy to prepare too at home, the recipe of that will follow shortly. Meanwhile enjoy this green mango and apple salad, the tart Granny Smith apples are perfect companions to sweet and tangy mangoes.
- Unripe / green mangoes : 2 medium
- Granny smith apple : 1
- Red onion (finely chopped) : 1
- Cucumbers (chopped) : 1 cup
- Red cherry tomatoes (chopped) : ½ cup
- Red bell pepper (chopped) : ½ cup
- Cilantro (chopped) : ½ cup
- Mint : ½ cup
- Roasted spices (see note) : 1 tsp
- Chaat masala : a large generous pinch
- Black salt / pink salt : as per taste
- Tamarind chutney : 2-3 tbsp or as requires
- Raisins : ¼ cup
- Cashews (lightly toasted) : ½ cup
- Almonds or pecans (lightly toasted) : ½ cup
- Peanuts (toasted) : ¼ cup
- In a salad bowl, mix all the ingredients except tamarind chutney.
- Drizzle tamarind chutney just before serving.
- Roasted spices : Dry roast separately two red chillies, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, cumin seeds and grind them together to fine powder.
- Use 1tsp of roasted spices in the recipe or as required.