Monday, May 31, 2010

Mangoes Galore - Mango, sweet, sour, tangy......bliss


Summer spells only one thing – MANGOES in capitals. The king of fruits is what mangoes are for some, even a novice can distinguish amongst the mangoes. For the connoisseur, mangoes are a byword in luxury, precisely peeled, cut to perfection, served beautifully untouched by hand. It is a fruit on which nearly everyone goes gaga on. And the capital is never left behind in its repertoire of mangoes. And why not, it gets flown in from the entire country. India may have innumerable mangoes but in Delhi it is riot from April onwards when mangoes start coming from the South initially, the the West and ofollowed by the ones from North. Mangoes actually taste better after the first showers of rain. That apart, the range is mouth watering. Each mango has its particular nuance.

The earliest to make its presence is Safeda as it is pronounced. Safeda is excellent for mango shakes. Then comes the Malda, smallish and green in colour. A good variety is the red coloured attractively called Sindoori. Yes, it looks a beautiful red and yellow just like the sindoor women use!!! and tastes wonderful. Safeda, Kesar from Gujarat, Kesari, hapus, tota (because it is parrot shape like)….  Mid June onwards Dussheri makes its way,  hapus, langda, chausa, dinga, saroli….Though for the discerning it is Ratnagiri Alphonso, Malgoa from the South….both which need some endurance to procure directly.

It is usually advised to soak the fruit in water to remove its heat. Milk / curd and mangoes go very well together. Nearly all restaurants / five star hotels plan their particular Mango festivals and there is range from Mango puddings, custards, kulfi, Mousse, Doughnuts, Tarts…..check out and create your own “must have” lists for every summer. Not to be missed ice creams and Gola or chuskis. Gujarati restaurants serve Chhunda, Amras, Kadhi, Kalakand, Mishi Doi with mango flavours are available at Haldiram & Mother Diary outlets.

Of course with all talk of the juicy sweet mangoes pushes the raw mango so popular for instant pickles, typical Aam ke Achar and chutneys to the background. From the Ram kea am, unripe Tota mangoes (excellent for instant pickles), unripe safedas for Aam Panna……

Location - A natural place is the Azadpur Sabzi Mandi, the C block is reserved for it, or pick it up from the Adarsh Nagar metro station. Okhla Subzi mandi has its range. The price there is almost 1.3rd of what one pays near homes. INA market, Khan Market, also stock plenty of mangoes including the exotic ones.
Exhibitions - The Delhi Government holds a two day mango festival in June – the venue which earlier was the Talkatora Indoor Stadium has since moved to Pragati Maidan, Dilli Haat – INA and Dilli Haat Pitampura. Watch out for it as the ads come out only a day or so earlier. One can taste a host of items from mangoes – jams, custards, puddings….and of course get to see the best of mangoes. Sad part though one cannot buy everything, majority is only for display. There are no sign boards or pamphlets available. All types of mangoes from the very tiny measuring a few cms to 5 inches can be seen, as well as rare exotic ones.
Highlight -   Mahilabadi fares come with plenty of experimentation. Mahilabad is known for its Dussheri and a host of mangoes the varieties of which can be seen at the Mango festival in Delhi
Insider Tip -  The NHB has been organizing mango festivals and getting Gujarat Kesar, Baganpalli from Andhra Pradesh, Malgoa from Tamil Nadu….under the Sangam brand. Baganpallis are also available at times at the Andhra Bhavan, New Delhi. The only problem is that they sell a minimum of one box or peti (4 dozens). You can try with other Bhavans if the caterer is kind enough to get you some special from that state.Alphonso mangoes are available at select shops. Rama Stores in Munirka brings in amblis or small green mangoes for pickles (called kanni manga in Tamil) in early Jan / Feb. They also stock some regional varieties during the summer months.

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