I have done it on gymmers, on heights, on saris , on trousers...
Now it is the turn and time of mangoes.
I quote from a Karadi Tales song -
Mangoes, ripe mangoes,
Green and sour raw mangoes
Golden yellow round mangoes
Juicy plum and sweet mangoes
Fat and short, thin and long Mangoes to eat all day long.....
As a child I did not relish this fruit much- being much fonder of the watery genre such as water melon, orange and pear. But with time I was drawn into the family tradition of savouring each variety of mango. So you can say I have a cultivated taste when it comes to this fruit. Of course this affinity comes with small repercussion on your wallet and your face and stomach ( excess can lead to pimples/ loosies)
With April comes tantalizing raw mango laden trees. Small marble sized mangoes beckon to be pickled into " maavadu or vadu maangai" As May comes in and the temperature skyrockets (with Agni Nakshatram in Chennai it was at 43 degrees yesterday) the time is right for seduction- by ripe juicy mangoes.
Here is a list of all the mango varieties I know:
Baganapalli- My favourite from my Andhra days, it has lovely firm texture, is luscious in taste and a rich creamy yellow hue
Aapus/ Alphonso- The debatable King of Mangoes , native of Maharashtra , but introduced to us by the Portuguese. You also find the Salem variety now. Succulent, sunny orange and delicious it is best eaten just so or as aam ras.
Rasaalu- Great for Aavakkai pickles in the raw form, and should be sucked whole if eaten ripe. ( beware of worms though which you may not be able to tell from the outside) Very fibrous with a lot of juice, you can make mango juice concentrate with it. Also good for making mango jellies
Malgova- The bulkiest of mangoes, cream in colour, tiny seeded it is yummy and a favourite with a lot of Tamilians
Himayat- Rather expensive and exclusive. Slightly long and smooth textured
Dusheri- From Lucknow, it is often in contest with the next one.
Langda- A variety from Benaras,. Green in colour . It is yummy . The name means of ‘handicapped of the leg’ in Hindi- do not know the connection though
Kesar- As the name suggests it is orangish in colour and has a unique flavour of saffron.
Rumani- Often sour, it has a rounder appearance and is thin skinned. It follows later in the season and as per me a poorer variety
Neelam- Considered the poor man’s aapus. It shows up later in the season has a better shelf life. Though thick skinned creamy in texture, sweet in taste. Often the added bonus is the beetle inside.
Himampasand- A paler yellow inside, I love its flavour which just envelops you like a rich melody. As the name indicates, legend has it that a maiden was wooed/ wowed by this mango by a clever King who was besotted with her
Mallika- This longish variety is rather new to me and was a gift during pregnancy from Bangalore. It is incredibly sweet if you get the right batch, with a strange camphor like scent that leaves you smitten. Problem is if it is bad, it is truly insipid.
Pairi- Reddish green and yellow , relatively small sized- it is fairly interesting in flavour, favoured for its juice/pulp
Chausa- If I recollect green skinned but sweet and juicy variety
Killimuuku/ Tothapuri is now a perennial variety in Chennai. Crunchy, it is often eaten raw with salt and chilly powder. Also great for the refreshing kairi lassi (with yogurt with ginger, green chilly, sugar & salt) . Good for quick fix pickles for immediate consumption and biseeupanikai ( a Kannadiga style pickle with copra and jaggery- like a hot and sweet morabba) .
There are debates not just on which is the best mango but also on how it is to be eaten.
The choices are many:
- slice and eat with skin
- slice and suck on them and discard the skin
- peel the skin off and cut into cubes and eat with fork
- cut in half, scoop out with a spoon
- cut in half, cube unfurl , pretty style
- suck straight out- an art that comes with the danger of worms and squirting juice on your clothes
- eat cold, post refrigeration/ eat at room temperature
- as a milk shake/ Juice/ aamras/ aam panna
- as pacchadi ( cooked with chillie sand jaggery)
- as mango jelly
- with ice-cream/ souffles/pastries and of course
- for the raw ones you have a variety of lassi, chutneys, preserves and pickles
It is also an important item in Vishukani on Malayalam new year. In Maharashtra raw mango is used with channa dal in chutney form on Gudipadva (New Year). The Telugu New year Ugadi begins with the Ugadi Pachadi of raw mango.
Why don't you contribute your favourite experience relating to mangoes, take it up as a tag if you like? Also do refine any of the above if you are better informed....I do not claim accuracy. It is a just a Mango Maniac's account....