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Mangolicious delight

Aggiornamento: 1 lug 2019

Summer is famous for the fruit season and we are so lucky to have incredible fruits such as mango, jackfruit, papaya, guava, banana, and rose apple.

Heat wave has hit every region of India and water scarcity is a problem that scares people, especially farmers at peak summer every year. Sporadic rains arrive as a significant relief to farmers. Still, nature has abundance of magic hidden under its sleeves. Summer is famous for the fruit season and we are so lucky to have incredible fruits such as mango, jackfruit, papaya, guava, banana, and rose apple. Mangoes are seen everywhere during this time and we consume them in numerous ways.

There’s a growing concern about unpleasant methods being used by vendors to ripen mangoes, and their impact on our health. But there are villages where you can still enjoy picking them from under the trees and savour their enchanting aroma and taste. Despite availability of many fruits in our region, mango scores the highest, and sweet stories attached to the mango season make them the most-favourite fruit of children.

Alphonso is considered to be the tastiest and most expensive mango as it is internationally popular. In south India, we have different kinds of local mangoes; every region has its own uniquely flavoured ones and they look and smell different.

Mango is the perfect after-dinner dessert. Cooking with ripe mangoes is a typical Indian habit, and we have been lucky to taste some of the finest mango puddings like kulfi and halwa. In London, cardamom-flavoured mango lassi is a hit among people in restaurants during summer.

Mohan is our master chef for the season, well-known for his knowledge of local herbs and their magical medicinal uses, but his passion for cooking and developing recipes from old tradition is exemplary. A couple of mango recipes amazed us as we explored his ideas recently.

Some of them are time-consuming and require a lot of patience. At times, he comes up with very simple dishes like mango sambar. But the most interesting innovation was a pudding called Raga Khandavam, one of the most fascinating mango preparations ever. It involves 24 hours of making and then a waiting period of 42 days to eat it. 

The day we had a delivery of 15 kg peeled and cut fragrant Gomanga mangoes, he transferred them into a large bronze vessel and cooked them with ghee, and added crushed candy sugar, cardamom, saffron and edible camphor. Mohan kept on stirring them for two hours until the ingredients were blended well. He was happy with the delicate texture and sweetly matured smell. We left cooked mango overnight to cool and finally added almost two litres of honey before shifting the mixture into a traditional clay jar, and sealed the top tightly. Then an area was dug to keep the jar under soil.  

Mohan hardly rested till we finished the job and he left us dreaming about the amazing taste of this pudding when it will be ready on June 10. We have decided to gather around this landmark spot on the pr0posed day. Mohan’s delightful recipe has opened many people’s eyes to the incredible variety in our mango preparations, and how experienced local talent could contribute to our future generation. In his gentle expression and innocent smile, Mohan concluded the cooking session saying, “It makes me feel proud of sharing this age-old pudding recipe and seeing all the youngsters fascinated about it. I am ready to share my recipes with people.

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