This post has been re-edited, re-photogarphed and re-published.
The earth blooms into various shades of colors and hues on the onset of spring and the yellowish white blossoms of mangoes adorning the lusty boughs soon matured into tender green mangoes. These green mangoes has a very sharp piquant taste, and when you bite softly into the tender flesh and lick it with just black salt and red chilies it tickles your senses and you crave for more. The green mango besides having a very amusing taste is loaded with vitamins and phytochemicals, rich in iron and calcium, good for skin and nature’s true gift.
Summer time in India is synonymous with mangoes, both ripe and unripe ones. This is also the pickling time. And in our home, green mango brings bountiful of dishes that we all waited desperately for summer to come. Indian summer is very hot, high on humidity and to beat the scorching heat of the sun, mangoes specially the unripe ones are simply God send. Pickles, chutney, salads, dals, curries to drinks and dessert, unripe or green mangoes provides an array of innovative dishes.
Chutney holds a pre-dessert slot in full course Bengali menu. No Bengali spread is complete without the incredibly flavourful chutney to which every emotional Bengalis are so attached to it. While rest of India enjoys chutney as condiments or as a relish, Bengalis love to have it after the meal and before popping few rasgullas in the mouth. Chutneys are strictly meant to be eaten with hand only, use your fingers to enjoy the lip-smacking goodness and let me tell you, licking the fingers is not considered a bad etiquette specially when it comes to such sweet and tangy chutney.
This is a very traditional way to prepare the green mango chutney in our home and is way different from the store-bought conserves and preserves. This green mango chutney is always made with fresh unripe mangoes , simmered in jaggery (concentrated cane sugar) till the appetising caramel hue appears, spices are freshly roasted and grind leaving whiff of tangy and spicy flavour behind.
In this recipe of green mango chutney, sugar is being substituted with jaggery / molasses which enhances its health quotient. Roasted panch phoron / Bengali five spices lends a nice flavour to the chutney, which is sweet and sour (not too tart) at the same time.
- Unripe / green mangoes: 2 (should yeild roughly 2 cups of mango chunks)
- Jaggery / molasses (crushed / powdered): 4-6 tbsp or according to taste
- A pinch of salt
- Bengali five spices (roasted) / panch phoron : 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds : 1 tsp
- Dry red chillies : 4-5
- Black mustard seeds : 1 tsp
- Hing / asafoetida : a mini pinch
- Red chilli flakes / powder : a pinch (optional)
- Turmeric powder : a small pinch
- Oil : 1 tbsp
- Wash the green mangoes and peel them. If it is slightly ripe then peeling is not necessary as the skins will have less bitter taste. Cut the mangoes lengthwise in strips or in chunks, anything you prefer. and de-seed it.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan and temper it with dry red chillies, hing and black mustard seeds. As the seeds starts spluttering, add the green mangoes pieces, pinch of turmeric powder and saute for few minutes on low heat.
- Add the salt and jaggery / molasses , mix thoroughly till the jaggery dissolves completely. Add 2 cups of water and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes till done
- Roast the panch phoron / Bengali five spices (an equal mix of radhuni / wild celery seeds (can be substitute with mustard seeds) , cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella / kalonji, fennel seeds) on a tawa till it turn into a shade darker and crushed them coarsely in a mortar.
- Roast the fennel seeds too and crushed it coarsely in a mortar
- Sprinkle the roasted panch phoron and fennel seeds over the chutney, close the lid, switch off the heat and let it stand for 5 minute. This will favour the mingling of spices.
- I sometimes add pinch of red chilli powder or chilli flakes too to give it a nice punch. But that is pure optional.
- This chutney can be enjoyed both hot or cold or as preferred.