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"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Monday, 24 August 2015

Serving Mangoes

 A present from my mother who is now in her 83rd year 
My friend tells me that she once visited the home of her best friend’s father in law in Lahore.   Her host had been a senior officer in the Pakistani Police.   He gave my friend a mango and invited her to peel it.  This was the first time my friend had been presented with a mango.   Not surprisingly she made  a nonsense of it with juice, peel and flesh all over plate.   Disappointed, my friend’s host dexterously carved away the skin of the whole fruit with his knife in a single strip and plated them with golden slices while discarded the large stone with very little waste and hassle.  Apparently that method was called “the English method” in Pakistan,

 With their tough and sometimes hairy, sinewy flesh and large stone a mango has more than a little in common with a joint of meat.    There is a knack to carving it so let me show you how

Step 1. - Hold the mango upright on a chopping board with one hand (the stem should be at the top) making sure the cheeks of the mango are to the left and right of you

Step 2. - Cut down one of the cheeks (making sure the knife edge is running down the stone and do the same on the other cheek.

Step 3. - Now turn the mango 45 degrees to the left or right and cut down the edges again with the knife edge running down the side of the stone again (both sides)

Step 4.- Discard the stone or as I used to do eat any last morsel of mango off it like eating a spare rib.

Step5.-  Slice and eat , My father always liked to take his mango with a pinch of salt and ground cumin- a tradition in Gujarati cuisine.

Mangoes are plentiful in India.  It produces the largest quantities and also most varieties. China is the next largest producer.

Raw ripe mangoes are simply delicious. They can also be made into sweet and savoury chutneys,. Their pulp can be eaten with fresh puris or served in lassis. However I prefer to eat them as they come.

Fruit formed a major part of my diet when I was growing even though I was living in Yorkshire in Northern England. I was given fruit each day by mother after meal and it was always chosen and bought very carefully. My mother did all her shopping at an Indian grocer which was conveniently located at the end of our road. I would tag along with her on her shopping trips. I would watch her inspect the stock and gauge what she wanted to buy with her keen eye. She introduced me to some weird and wonderful fruits like fresh tamarind, guavas, pomegranates, watermelons, fresh sugar cane and chickoos which I will write about on another occasion.

Mangoes were the star fruit in our household and I would look forward to their coming into season which was between May and June. The varieties were always Kesar, Alphonso andRajapuri.  Imported from India.  It was a real education shopping at this gem of an Indian store with her, When I was  a child it was exciting and delightful to see her cut into one.

Tip 1. - To buy a ripe mango ready to eat, choose one that gives slightly under a little pressure from your thumb.
Tip2.- Smell the mango ( stem side). It should have a sweet fruity aroma. Avoid a sour alcoholic scent as that indicates an over ripe mango where the sugars have started to ferment.
Tip3.- Look for a full bodied plump mango. Do not worry about little brow flecks. That's a characteristic of the fruit.
Tip 4.- If the stem falls off very easily- it’s a another sign that the mango is over ripe.
Tip5.- Store them at room temperature. Only place them in the fridge when they have ripened to the desired  taste, Eat them  the same day  and watch out for dribbles as mango juice stains clothes badly.

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