Mad About Mangoes!

Q: What's the best thing about Indian summers?

Could you have thought of a better answer for that question? None other, right?! The whole trauma of enduring the heat,sweat and sizzle gets compensated by this short term visitor to our fruit market called the Mango.The title,'The King Of Fruits', is truly befitting for this fruit, which oozes such rich exotic flavor that it cannot be compared to just any other fruit.I haven't yet met an Indian who actually detests mangoes....most of us love it to death! We wait for the ripe fruit to hit the market from the onset of March.There's nothing more nostalgic than the whiff of ripe mangoes. Last night, I had my first mango of this season, a tad too late this time.The after taste of the succulent Alphonso still lingers in my mouth...

Started with the raw ones as soon as they hit the market.Nothing adds zest to a boring dish as dramatically as a tangy raw mango does.Be it pickles,jams,salads,gravies or the spicy Indian street food snack called the 'Chat'.Or, have it sliced -raw by itself with a dash of salt and red chilli powder...the very thought of it makes my mouth water!

During our summer holidays in school, the only incentive of going to the south of India  where we originate from, to visit our grandparents, was the availability of amazingly large varieties of mangoes out there.We would get spoilt for choice between the 'Rasaalu'(juicy ones which can be just sucked into or extracted for juice) and the 'Banginpillis'(large fleshy ones which could be sliced and munched on).In Gujarat, the Gujaratis extract 'Ras'(thick mango extract), have it fresh with all their meals when in season and deep freeze it to store it for the rest of the year in large containers.Any authentic 'Gujju' house you visit would have 'Aam Ras' in their fridge given any time of the year! The 'Kesar' variety are the next best option available in Gujarat after 'Hafoos' or Alphonso.It becomes mind boggling at times to choose from the wide variety of mangoes that are available.Though, having lived in Mumbai for the past few years, I have become partial to the exotic 'Ratnagiri Alphonso'.

Well, I can have this fruit in just any form.Ice-creams,Salads,Milkshakes,Desserts or just sink in my teeth in the whole fruit by itself!

Here's a recipe of Mango Salsa, that I chanced upon, somewhere long back. I make this more often than other mango dish coz its fast, easy and super yummy!

What goes in....
1 large semi ripe Mango...the tangy-sweet 'Badami' variety which can be diced easily works well.
1 small capsicum
A big pinch of black salt
Half tsp red chilli powder
One tsp lime juice
Salt to taste

Here's how...
Dice the mango into small pieces. De-seed and chop the capsicum into tiny pieces.Toss the mango and capsicum in a bowl with all the other ingredients and mix well.Adjust seasoning to taste.You might want to add a bit of sugar if the mango is too sour.Top it with finely chopped coriander to garnish.Let it stand in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Bring it out when chilled.Pop open a bag of Tortillas...dip in and munch on! Makes for a super comfort food....yummmm.

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