The king of fruits, the mango is finally here! Who doesn’t enjoy a sumptuous bite of this juicy delicacy, especially in this scorching heat? And so come the summers and our households and market places turn into mango storing and devouring destinations in no time. The hearty fruit is invariably included in our daily diets and converted into various forms and delicacies, however, just eating it raw or slurping on its pulpy juice is good enough too!
Mangoes are a huge part of our culture. From mango trees, to the fruit itself and its conversion into lip-smacking chutneys, the mango remains one of the most favorite fruit of the nation. And probably to make sure one never tires of it or gets just about enough of it, there are a large variety of mangoes that are grown and available for consumption each year. Some of the types are easily identifiable by laymen, whereas, others need the expert eye of seasoned market shoppers. Here is taking a look at some of the most delicious mango varieties that you can expect to find at your local fruit market.
Alphonso mangoes are bright yellow in color and are named after Alfonso de Albuquerque. Cultivated in the Maharashtra region these are one of the most expensive varieties and are also known as Ratnagiri and Haphus.
Dasheri are another set of the royal variety of mangoes. Grown along the northern areas, especially in and around Lucknow, the Dasheri mangoes are green in color.
Kesari is cultivated in Gujarat and gets its name from the ‘kesar’ or saffron like color. Grown along the Girnar Hills in Junagadh these are also known as the ‘Queen of Mangoes.’
Chausa is another variety from the Uttar Pradesh region and are called so because there is nothing more heavenly than ‘sucking’ on them. They are distinguished from their color, as well as, an energizing aromatic fragrance.
Badami variety mangoes are famous in Karnataka and are also called the Karnataka Alphonso.
Some of the many other varieties include the Langra in UP, Totapuri and Raspuri in Karnataka, Neelam and Safeda in Andhra Pradesh, Himsagar and Kishan Bhog in West Bengal, Mankurad in Goa and others.
Mangoes are used to prepare a wide range of dishes that are both sweet and savory. From milkshakes to meals, mangoes are an essential ingredient in so many of our most loved delicacies.
Mango ras is the basic and most sought after dish. It is also perhaps the easiest to prepare! Just squeeze the mango and enjoy the pulp with chapatis or hot puris.
But there are hundreds of sweet dishes that can be prepared using mangoes. It could be traditional dishes, such as firni and kheer, to more exotic modern delicacies like pancakes, soufflés, mousse, puddings, cakes and more.
And though one can find a lot of ways to include mangoes in both daily and special dishes, it is the traditional dishes and usage of mango in our kitchens that make it truly the king of varied cuisines. Mango pickles and mango chunda are favorites with hot parathas. The ‘aam ka aachaars’ are popular throughout the country with variations across states and regions. It could be the aamer aachar from Bengal, the Punjabi aam aachar, the amba ki chutney or the keri aachar. Each has subtle variations and added ingredients that add flavors to the everlasting pickles that are such an important part of our everyday meals.
Similarly, different regions have their own special dishes using mango, such as the mango pachadi served on a banana leaf with rice or the mambazha pulissery curry from Kerala and the mambazham sambhar from Tamil Nadu.
Now the raw mangoes deserve a separate section of its own for the simple reason that raw mango dishes and cuisines includes a whole different gamut of drinks, snacks, pickles etc.
Raw mangoes may not go down too well into our desserts because they are sour, but they serve the purpose of excellent additions into the tangy and sour departments of our cuisine. Let’s admit that we enjoy our snacks heartily, especially the ones that are called the ‘chaats’ and the raw mangoes sliced into any of these chaat items, such as our bhels or dahi or muri chaats are such a delight.
The raw mango drink, aam panna is a perfect elixir during hot sultry summer days and the sweet morabba goes well with practically all meals and dishes.
The list can go on regarding dishes one can make from both raw and ripe mangoes and thus, this is a great time to do some quick research on recipes and enjoy your meals this summer season.
However, in spite of the many culinary aspects of the mango, the fruit stands out for its multiple uses and its dominant involvement in our lives for a couple of months. The mango simply becomes the most ubiquitous entity in our markets, homes, dining tables and even conversations during the summer season. It is sown into our childhood memories, in our moments of quiet solitude and in our sneaky after dinner escapades. Its arrival is anticipated with fervor and its departure is lamented with a heavy heart. But we wait, for the next year for the king to make its way into our hearts and gastronomical fantasies and almost never does it disappoint.