Mango Mania"Food Bytes" New Indian Express by monish Gujral

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Mango mania: More than just a tropical fruit
By Monish Gujral 07th July 2012 10:11 AM

Rio Mango Salsa.
Come summer, and I become a mango maniac. The musky mango aroma always reminds me of my younger days at our Civil Lines house in Old Delhi. We would often climb the mango trees in our front lawn. There was always a tough fight between the siblings for the larger loot. Later, the one with the largest loot would boast about his natural skills while eating his share of mangoes, licking every drop from the palm. Afterwards, we would be summoned by our granny and she would fuss over our safety and would refrain us from climbing the trees to avoid accidents, which always fell on deaf ears. If only I could relive those moments. India is a mango haven, with large varieties like: Safeda, Langda, Chaunsa, Dusehri and last but not the least, my favorite: “The king of mangoes—Alphonso”.

Mango is native to the Indian sub-continent from where it spread all over the world. It is one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropical world. Indian mango is the only mango tree commonly cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions, and it’s fruit is exported worldwide.

In several cultures, mango has religious implications and even its leaves are ritually used as floral decorations at weddings and religious ceremonies.


The English word mango originated from the Tamil word māṅgai or mankay (the first recorded attestation in a European language was a text by Ludovico di Varthema in 1510 in Italy, as manga; the first recorded occurrences in languages such as French and post-classical Latin appear to be translations from this Italian text).

When mangoes were first imported to the America in the 17th century, they had to be pickled due to lack of refrigeration .

Choicest of Cuisines

Mangoes are widely used in different cuisines. Sour, unripe mangoes are used in chutneys, pickles or side dishes, salsas, desserts and drinks. A cooling summer drink called Panna comes from mangoes. Not to forget the mango jelly my wife specialises in and Mangai Paruppu, a popular dish in Tamil, where mangoes are cooked with red gram lentil, green chilies, served with steamed rice and clarified raw mangoes eaten fresh. In Punjab, ripe mangoes are blended with yoghurt to make lassi, I can live on mango lassi, if I had my way. Alas, only if my wife would stop fretting on my weight issue. Ripe mangoes are also used to make curries. Amras is a popular pulp/thick juice made of mangoes with sugar or milk, just add crushed ice to Amras and you would be transported to heaven momentarily. The pulp from ripe mangoes is also used to make jam called mangada.

Mangoes are used in preserves such as moramba, amchur (dried and powdered unripe mango) and pickles, including a spicy mustard-oil pickle and alcohol. Ripe mangoes are often cut into thin layers, desiccated, folded, and then cut. Unripe mango may be eaten with bagging (popular in the Phillipines) fish sauce or with dash of salt. Dried strips of sweet, ripe mango (sometimes combined with seedless tamarind to make mangorind) are also popular.

Mango is used to make juices, cocktails, smoothies, milk shakes and the list of the use of mango is never ending. In Central America, mango is either eaten green, mixed with salt, vinegar, black pepper and hot sauce, or ripe in various forms. Toasted and ground pumpkin seed with lime and salt are normally accompaniments while eating green mangoes. Some people also add soy sauce or chili sauce.

Sweet gluttinous rice is flavoured with coconut, then served with sliced mango as a dessert. In other parts of South East Asia, mangoes are pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar. This season my favorite is mango with condensed milk, poured over crushed ice and I call it mangolicious.

Usually, most of us do not mix any thing sweet with savoury. Having said that, there are a few exceptions such as mango salsa, Nutrella on bread or pineapple savory chutney with hot Punjabi piranha.

I was in Rio in December last year where over a meal in a fancy rest bar, I was served mango salsa with corn Nachos. What intrigued me was that how could sweet mangoes co-exist so well with ingredients like bell peppers, onions and jalapenos and peanuts. One dip in the salsa changed my opinion and I slurped up three to four dishes with bottomless mango margarita glasses.

The crunch of the bell peppers, mild tasting onions, hot jalapeno went hand in hand with the sweet mangoes so well. Left with no choice I bribed the chef for the recipe. On returning home I tired it in my own kitchen, it was a huge hit.

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Rio Mango Salsa


By Monish Gujral Published: July 9, 2012

  • Yield: 1 bowl (3-4 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Ready In: 15 mins

Mango mania: More than just a tropical fruit By Monish Gujral 07th July 2012 10:11 AM Photos Rio Mango Salsa. Come summer, and I …



  1. Dice the mango into small pieces. Add them to a bowl. Add jalepenos.
  2. Now add rest of the ingredients to the bowl with the mangoes and jalapeno.
  3. Toss well and cover it with a plastic wrap. Set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This helps to set in the flavor. Serve a dip with nachos or even goes well with Nan or Parantha or Potato chips.

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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