Come to think of it, raw – and sometimes ripe – mango is one of the very few flexible fruits used in a wide range of savoury dishes across cuisines in India – quite apart from pickles, chutneys and sherbets.
So how do India’s kitchens use the raw avatar of the king of fruits?
Bengali summers are synonymous with aam daal – masoor daal tempered with mustard seeds, slightly sauted raw mangoes and ginger paste. It’s food for the soul if you know what I mean.
Down south, raw mangoes often replace the essential tamarind during the hot season to find its way into pachadis, salads and chutneys. Nutritionist and food expert Dr Nandita Iyer, who runs the blog Saffron Trail, often drums up a spicy cold red rice salad with a generous dressing of raw and ripe mangoes and coconut.
Iyer also uses raw mango to give a twist to the coconut chutney. The recipe, featured in her recently released book The Everyday Healthy Vegetarian, involves putting peeled and chopped mangoes in a blender with grated coconut, green chillies, fried gram, ginger, salt and soaked tamarind. Blend well and finish off with a tempering of mustard seeds, urad daal, dry red chillies, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida (hing) powder in groundnut oil.
Or if you are planning to serve a raita, Iyer recommends you chop the vadumaanga(whole raw mangoes marinated for 7-8 months or more in brine and chilli powder till they become soft and yum) and mix it with grated coconut in a blender. Mix it with dahi (curd) and give a tadka of mustard seeds, urad daal, curry leaves and small dry red chillies, and voila, your vadumaanga thayir pachadi is ready!