I am ready for mango season this year. With their abundance of Vitamins A, C and D, along with iron, mangoes are a great addition to summer eating. In their homeland of India, mangoes are purported to cleanse the blood and soothe fevers. Although the large pit is a hassle, a sharp knife makes short work of the task, so I say, “Bring on the sensational, sweet-tart mangoes!”
Whether in salads, salsas, sauces or chutneys, mangoes will bring goodness to your meals. The Haden variety is juicy and full of flavor; the Gouveia variety is also good. The best mangoes give slightly when pressed and have a fragrant, sweet smell. You can put them in a paper bag to ripen, and store ripe ones in the refrigerator for a few days.
Mango season officially started in May, though imported fruit is available year-round. I encourage you to support our local farmers markets and request locally grown mangoes. Here are a few of my favorite mango recipes for you to try at home:
Shrimp salad with mango and grapes, coconut vinaigrette
Chef Philippe Padovani contributed this recipe in the cookbook, “Pacific Bounty: Hawaii Cooks with Roy Yamaguchi” from the PBS series; makes four servings.
1⁄2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons chili paste
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
Bring coconut milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add remaining ingredients. Stir for two to three minutes until ingredients have dissolved and vinaigrette is fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Garlic and shallots:
2 tablespoons sliced garlic
2 tablespoons sliced shallots
1⁄4 cup oil
Sauté garlic and shallots in oil for two to three minutes, until crispy. Remove from oil; set aside to dry.
4 large lettuce leaves
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and sliced into orange wedge-size segments
4 cups halved green and black grapes
1 red chili, finely diced
32 small shrimp, shelled and deveined
1⁄4 cup whole cilantro leaves
Shape lettuce leaves into four cups. In a mixing bowl, combine mango, grapes, chili and shrimp with the coconut vinaigrette. Mix well, then add the garlic, shallots and cilantro leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve salad immediately in the lettuce cups.
Mama’s mango salsa
Mama’s Fish House on Maui created this salsa to serve with fried fish. Makes enough for four servings.
3 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and minced (11⁄2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sweet Chinese chili sauce
4 green onions, sliced thin
Combine all ingredients, stirring gently. Refrigerate until ready to use.
True to its Indian roots, the mango blends with tangy yogurt and tomatoes and garam masala, an Indian spice mix, in this heady sauce. Try it with lamb or other curries. Recipe from “All Around the World Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins; makes 3 cups.
2 ripe mangoes
3 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1⁄4 inch dice
1⁄4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno chili (seeds and ribs removed)
2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1⁄2 teaspoon sweet garam masala*
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Remove skin and pits from mangoes; cut flesh into 1⁄4 inch dice. Place in a bowl with tomatoes, onion and jalapeno; gently fold together and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix yogurt and garam masala. Fold yogurt into the fruit, season with salt, and gently fold in cilantro. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour but no longer than two hours. Stir well before serving.
*Garam masala can be found in the spice section of your market, or you can make your own version by combining all the following ingredients in a small bowl and then storing in an airtight container in a cool dry place:
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 teaspoon ground mace
Makes 2 tablespoons of garam masala.