before i left on my little manila jaunt, we were at the height of green mango season--people were dumping bagfuls of these little greeny gems on my desk everyday, and i was like "hold on, cowboy!" i have a mountainful at home that are untouched, what am i supposed to do with all of these?! unfortunately, the fruit ignored my slothy slothiness and continued on their ripening path, so that by the time i was worked up enough to experiment with them, they were beyond ripe. sadly, the local variety of mango has a large pit and very little flesh, and what flesh is there is better somewhat unripe (the ripe fruit lacks the flavour of larger varieties we can get from hawaii, mexico, and the philippines).
anyway, now that i'm back, the green mango mountain has disappeared, and the fruitful bounty (bountiful fruit) has ceased. damn, skippy. i was all het up with a fistful of recipes ready to go.
luckily, i did manage to scrounge up enough fruit to try two new things for me. one was a green mango chutney, based on a recipe from madhur jaffrey's "quick and easy indian cookery". green mangoes were combined with green chilis, fresh ginger, orange peel and a bunch o' spices to make a sweetish, spicy compote. as i rather like the colour of the chartreuse mango flesh, i tried not to use anything that would interfere with the colour, but i still wanted to add maximum flavour to this indian condiment. as i cut down the traditional cooking time considerably, the ginger still retained quite a bit of bite, as did the mango. i could (and did) eat spoonfuls of this without anything, but i can imagine it alongside my next indian meal, or even as an exotic condiment to a well roasted chicken.
i stuck a little closer to home for the second recipe and based it on a filipino pickled relish called achara. pretty much any vegetable can be made into achara, but probably the most popular traditional recipe uses green papaya. i went from that, and used shredded green mango, carrot and red sweet peppers, then brined them in a coconut palm vinegar sweetened with palm sugar, and spiced up with thinly sliced ginger, shallots, garlic, and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. it wasn't as good as some of my family's recipes (check out ate karen's ampalaya-kangkong creation), but as it was my first try, i was pleased. the green mango was a fine substitute for the papaya that still managed to hold on to its uniqueness in the spicy sour brine. next time i might make it slightly sweeter, but as a condiment to a simply grilled slab o' salmon, it provided a nice textural and flavour counterpoint to the tender, mellow fish. i will try this again, if those darned mangoes show up again....
green mango chutney
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1 to 1 1/2 cup water
zest from one orange
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 pounds green mangoes, peeled and cut into strips 1/4-inch thick and 2-3 inches long
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
1 green chili, cut into slivers
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
heat a saucepan over medium high heat. add the cumin, fennel seeds, and mustard seeds to the dry pan. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the ginger. cook for about a minute, then add the water, orange zest and turmeric. bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. add the mango, salt, sugar, ginger, chili, and cayenne. simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, or until chutney has thickened, and the mango has become translucent.
green mango achara
1 pound of green mangoes, shredded to preference
a couple tablespoonfuls of rock salt
1 large carrot, shredded in equal size to the mango
1 red sweet pepper, cored, de-seeded and cut into slivers
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible (use a mandoline if you dare)
2 large shallots, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible (again, use a mandoline if you aren't freaked out by one)
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or slivered finely
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup coconut palm or cider vinegar
shred mangoes, then sprinkle the rock salt on them and combine. let sit for about a hour, then squeeze out most of the excess liquid from the grated mangoes. combine with the carrot and red sweet pepper; set aside.
place the garlic, shallots, ginger, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan. bring to a simmer on medium heat, and cook gently until the garlic and shallots have become translucent, and the sugar has dissolved. take off of heat and cool thoroughly.
once the liquid has cooled, add to the mango mix, and combine thoroughly. pack into a glass jar or dish and leave to marinate in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours before using.