Mangoes – never ripe when you want them to be plus a pain to peel and serve. And yet so delicious. We try some unique varieties from Red Rickshaw, the UK’s largest online Asian store.
In fact though there are many, many varieties of mango available and aficionados wait patiently each year for the harvest of Alphonsos, dubbed the king of mangoes.
Right now it’s mango season in India and Red Rickshaw have lots of superb mangoes, not just Alphonsos, ready to send out mail order right now. We received Alphonsos, Kesars and Badamis in our delivery and each was just perfectly ripe with a day or two to go before becoming overripe. Ideal, basically
What do you do with mangoes though apart from eat them, the sticky juices getting everywhere? Well there are plenty of options.
We turned two Badamis into a complex curry sauce, blending the flesh with soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, limes and chill. No cooking, just warmed enough to coat pre-cooked chicken pieces. The Badami is very sweet and comes from Karnataka where it’s known as Karnataka’s Alphonso. This sweetness against the sour and citrus flavours made for a memorably tasty dish.
The Kesars are smallish mangoes with distinctly bright orange flesh. Fresh Kesars can have slight astringency I find and so I like to blend them into Lassis. The complexity of the flavour result makes a change from the usual kind of lassi which can be a bit cloying. They are also good simply sliced and topped with fresh yoghurt or even some labneh.
And so to the Alphonsos. They come uniquely from the Maharashtra region of Ratnagiri and Raigadand Konkan in western India. The unusual name comes from Alfonso de Albuquerque, who helped establish the Portuguese colony in India. The Portuguese introduced the concept of grafting plants, which allowed growers to go on to create the many varieties of mango we have today, including of course the Alphonso.
It is undoubtedly a great mango, during its short season Indians will eat them every chance they can; breakfast, lunch and dinner. I blended one and added the magic ingredient of gin, it was a little thick for a cocktail but no one complained.
The sweet and yet tart taste is provoking, the colour that of a sunrise (tequila optional) and they have the most wonderful aroma. All over London, chefs are making the most of mango season and I advise you to do so as well. Like asparagus, it’s a treat that has to be indulged in madly and generously before it’s sadly gone for another year.
Red Rickshaw is the UK’s largest online Asian grocer stocking hundreds of wonderful things often unavailable anywhere else with next day delivery for London customers seven days a week.