Come summers, and India turns into the land of mangoes. Actually mango has a unique place in the Indian way of living. To Indians, the mango or (Aam as it is called in Hindi) is quite simply the phalon ka rajah i.e. the king of fruits. Like coconut, the mango too is considered an auspicious fruit. Mango leaves and mango motifs are used in various ceremonies and rituals.
Before we look at some famous Indian mango dishes, let’s look at mangoes as a whole.
The sheer spectrum of mango varieties available across India is mind boggling. There are almost 1000 mango varieties grown across the length and the breadth of the country. Every region has its own signature varieties and culinary delights prepared from them. Naturally every region feels that they grow the best mangoes. Hapuz (also called Alphonso) and Kesari from western India, Dussehri, Chausa, Langda and Safeda of north India, Banganpalli, Neelam and Totapari from South India are just a few of the more famous ones and each one has a unique taste to offer. For all their amazing variety, when it comes to eating them raw, all ripe mangoes can be divided into two basic types- those that are so pulpy that you need to suck them from the top and those with firmer pulp that you slice and eat. In India, ripe as well as unripe mangoes are put to use in the kitchen.
Coming back to mango delights from India, here is a look at some delicious mango dishes from India, truly the Land of mangoes:
- Mango milkshake – Sweet mango pulp, chilled milk and sugar whizzed in a blender and served in tall glasses, the mango milkshake is an Indian summer breakfast staple.
- Aamras– Sieved sweet mango pulp with overtones of saffron and cardamom, thick in texture and served with deep fried breads as part of the large food platter called thali.
- Amrakhand – A rich mango yoghurt from Gujarat in western India, made by blending hung curd, sugar, nuts and loads of sweet mango pulp. Amrakhand is often served chilled as an after-dinner dessert.
- Mango kulfi – A rich, creamy and dense dairy dessert that’s served ice cold.
- Aam panna – Made from pulp of roasted-in-skin unripe mangoes, this tangy, sour-sweet drink is valued not just for its awesome taste but also for its remarkable anti-heat stroke properties.
- Aam lassi– Ripe mango pulp, fresh curds and sugar are blended with ice cubes to prepare this frothy drink.
- Aam papad – A sun-dried fruit-leather made from mango pulp blended with sugar and sometimes with spices as well. Commercially made in layers that are cut and packed like candies. It is common to see aam papad vendors in markets long after the mango season is over.
- Aam ka achar – The very tangy Indian mango pickle with loads of mustard oil, fennel and other exotic spices. Made from unripe mangoes, it keeps for years and goes well with most Indian breads. Each region has its own variations of the mango pickle recipes. In fact, there are thousands of mango pickle recipes, many of which are passed down the generations and treated as family secrets.
- Aam chutney (raw)– Chunks of unripe mangoes are ground with salt, cumin and green chillies to make a spicy chutney that goes well with savory breads and fritters.
- Aam chutney (cooked)– Grated raw mango pulp cooked with jaggery or sugar and spiced with exotic whole spices, this chutney keeps well for months at end.
- Aam dal– Soft boiled toor dal (pigeon pea pulse) is cooked with grated raw mangoes and tempered with clarified butter, cumin, mustard seeds and whole red chillies, aam dal goes very well with plain boiled rice.
At Tandoori Flames, we serve many authentic Indian mango delights. Drop in and enjoy the mango taste Indians love.
Visit Tandoori Flames @ West Footscray Restaurant, 583 Barkly Street or South Kingsville Restaurant, 15 Vernon Street