Saturday, June 23, 2012
I have not been in India, for as long as I can remember, in the midst of such mango bounty. The day starts and ends with mangoes being consumed in every shape, form and concoction. Take yesterday for example. Fresh ripe mango for breakfast. Then rice with yoghurt and the tiny mangoes pickled in brine (mavadu) along with cut mango spiced and seasoned with mustard seeds, as part of lunch. Then mango custard to refresh the palate after afternoon siesta. Dinner at a friend's included mangoes in sugar syrup spiced with green chillies and seasoned (pachadi), sweet and sour mango chutney, gol kheri or mangoes picked with jaggery and spices with steamed savory rice dumpling ( pudi kozhakattai), and spicy Andhra pickles made with raw mangoes (avakkai) paired with refreshing curd rice. The fitting finale to this meal, chilled mango puree with fresh cream for dessert. Of course, our friends have mango trees which lend themselves to several different methods of pickling representing the culinary styles of all the Indian states. We took mangoes to them from our yard and they offered us theirs. In an edifying moment, our horticulturist extraordinaire friend, also a guest, entertained us by biting into the mango from my inlaws yard and identifying it, for the first time in 50 years, as belonging to the "Palgova". He further offered that the Theosophical Society gardens which he tended for several years boasts the maximum variety of mangoes at 40. Following this overindulgence in mangoes, we found ourselves embroiled in a fierce argument over which variety should be crowned queen of mangoes. The Banganapalli (Chennai) and Malgova ( Bengaluru) rivalry is as serious as the one between the respective cricket teams of those two cities. Mangoes are in the news too. On a sobering note, mangoes which are artificially ripened with carbide stones are being raided and dumped by the tonnes due to the health hazards they pose. As I set out to enjoy another mango filled day I am preparing for the withdrawal I will experience upon my return by jotting down recipes so I can do interesting things with the mangoes I find in Canada. Heck, mangoes warrant a cook book. Hush - don't steal my idea!