In the words of esteemed poet Chris Kattan, “Can you know the mighty ocean? Can you lasso a star from the sky? Can you say to a rainbow… ‘Hey, stop being a rainbow for a second’? No! Such is Mango!” And I’m sure if you asked an Indian about mangoes, you would get a similarly philosophical and poetic explanation of their unfathomable vegetative magnetism. Indians are crazy about their mangoes. The mango, or “ām” in Hindi, is the National Fruit of India (yes, there is such a thing as National Fruit – usually only in countries that have a growing season long enough to allow a fruitful debate (pun totally intended!)). There are apparently over 500 varieties identified in India. I have not found them all, but I’m trying to do my doggone best with the few I can find.
After I made up my list of Things I Miss About Canada, I decided to make up a Things I Don’t Miss About Canada, partly because I like symmetry, and also I don’t want to dwell on things I can’t have, like my pets, because it’s depressing. Anyhoo, Unripe Tropical Fruit was near the top of that list. So keeping that in mind, I’m trying to answer the age-old question: “Is there such thing as a mango saturation point?” So far, I’m going to have to say no, and I’ve been having them pretty much every day. I can’t say I’m doing anything interesting with them, mostly just having them with yogurt and in the odd salad… but I can attest to the fact that they’re really good. I had one for dessert the other day, still warm from outside, with vanilla ice cream. I highly recommend it.
Here’s a picture of the three kinds I’m able to find here right now.
I can’t for the life of me figure out the names of these. My friend The Internet isn’t being as useful as she usually is. Anyway, here are my descriptions: The middle one is almost over-ripe at this time, as soon as you cut into it you’ve got juice all over yourself. The good news is you can put the knife down at this point because you can just peel it with your fingers. This one is pretty fibrous and has yellow-orange flesh, like a peach. The one on the left is harder, more like an apple, has somewhat thinner skin, less fibrous, and paler yellow flesh. At first I thought this meant it was not ripe, but it’s still sweet, just not juicy and smelly. The other one is almost orange inside, not quite as juicy as the first either, and obviously, not as big as the other two. I don’t know if I have a favourite, exactly, any mango is a good mango to me, but I do like the one of the left right now for the ease in peeling and cutting. Obviously, I’m not a mango expert. I’m sure they each have their own seasonality and particular uses of which I’m totally unaware since my communication with the fruit and veggie wallahs is rather limited.
Anyway, if you’re looking for ways to use up mangoes – BAAHAHAHAHAH… sometimes I kill myself with my own wit…. I’ll rephrase: if you feel so inclined as to go to the store and pay a couple dollars for a hard-as-a-rock mango then have it sit on your counter for a week while it ripens and STILL don’t know what to do with it, here are some things that make it saladable.
- Red onion
- Green onion
- Lime juice
- Green chilies
- Bamboo shoots
- Chick peas
On an unrelated note, I’ve found a way to cook okra without getting slimed! I remember the one – and only – other time I’d had okra was when my mum made it once when I was about 13. I think she steamed it (first time she’d tried it too). There were these slime strands that could go on for about two feet from the serving dish to our plates…
I don’t think we were allowed to leave the table till we finished it, and we all refused to touch it. A few hours later, I think We, The Children won. Okra was never brought into the house again and I considered myself scarred for life. Anyway, it’s one of the only things here that’s green, so since I don’t want to become vitamin deficient, I decided to be brave and experiment. The trick to it is to cook it dry. I washed – and dried – all the pods, then chopped them up into 1” pieces, wiping the knife periodically with a dry cloth. Sauted some onion, cumin seeds, chili, and turmeric with a bit of ghee, then threw in the okra pieces, stirred that around for a couple minutes, then threw in a seeded, chopped tomato. And salt, that helped. It was so good I ate the whole panload in one sitting. Know what would be really good on it? BACON.