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Sweet and pulpy retreat



The mighty mango is not known as the king of fruits for no reason. The tempting bright orange pulp, the tangy and sweet taste along with the aroma can sweeten any day and add richness to a dish. Since it is a seasonal fruit, Indians make the most of it during the hot summer months that the 500 odd varieties are available. So mangoes make an appearance everywhere — desserts, beverages and even the main course.

Cafes and restaurants in the city are not far behind and add their own special twist to the seasonal fruit by creating an array of mango-based dishes to their menu. Amuse House has incorporated Olive oil poached salmon with mango sherry reduction (mango pulp can be blended with reduced sherry brandy and seasoned with salt and pepper) and Mango and mascarpone tart (sliced mango assembled as rose petals over a mascarpone and cream cheese filled tart shell). They use Alphonso and Safeda due to their fibre-less and smooth, creamy texture. For Karma Kismet, in desserts it’s Pilabel chai chocolate and mango texture and a mango-based cocktail called NRI.  The restaurant uses the Alphonso variety as its delicious tropical sweet taste blends well with intense taste of chai and chocolate. Tama Brewery and World Kitchen have kept it simple with Mango chicken tikka salad (mix chicken tikka, mango, asparagus, mango salsa, iceberg lettuce and malden sea salt with soya honey chili for dressing).

Going a step further, Fatty Bao has undertaken a Colour Me Mango food festival where people can relish mango smoothie, pudding,  mousse and peach sangria. In Monkey Bar’s Mango Unchained festival, Mango falooda is presented like an ice cream sandwich where the mango ice cream, falooda sev, sabja seeds and tutti frutti are layered with chocolate cake. Other than this, there is Mango chaas, Mango lassi kulfi, Mango Nutella shake and cocktails like M passion (Old Monk, mango juice, passion fruit and a dash of bitters), Mango-rita (tequila, mangoes and fresh kiwi rimmed with powdered chili), Mango Mule (mango puree, fresh sweet line juice topped with fizzy ginger ale), Mango-colada (Bacardi, mango puree, pineapple juice and coconut cream).

Chef Kalyan, pastry chef Fatty Bao and Monkey Bar, said, “Mango pudding is predominantly made in Southeast Asia and we have taken inspiration from Thailand for this where tapioca coconut pudding with fresh mangoes is quite popular. I made a mango pudding with coconut ice cream topped with gels to give contrast and textural balance to the dessert. The mango cremo has Japanese influence in terms of ingredients such as sesame and matcha. Cremo means creamy texture and I have used black sesame sponge and green tea crumbles which are predominant in Japanese cuisine.” The chef informed us that mango cremo and mango pudding are the hotsellers.

Summer in our country for foodies is synonymous with the mango season. When asked the reason behind mango-based dishes becoming a favourite with customers, chef Deepankar Khosla, Karma Kismet, said, “Mangoes are the ultimate Indian summer treat. The heat, dust and glare of an Indian summer is exhausting and draining. Nature offers delicious compensation in the form of luscious mangoes.” Arvind Kumar Bharti, head chef, Amuse House, said, “Mangoes come in varieties and flavours, ranging  from tangy to sweet. The raw mangoes can be used to create tangy and refreshing dips and chutneys. The Alphonso variety can be used to create purees which are perfectly balanced in sweetness. For main course dishes, it is used as a fruit-based sauce or chutney or salsa.” He believes that mangoes add a fresh value to the dish and its creamy texture. Its perfect level of sweetness helps in making it a excellent accompaniment for dishes.

And it is not just the flavour, there are health benefits of the fruit as well. Mango is a natural antioxidant. Chef Sumit Kalra, Tama Brewery and World Kitchen, said, “Mango is high in copper and along with that it helps in improving vision. It is the tastiest natural weapon against dehydration and sweating.” He feels mangoes lend thickness and aroma to the dishes.

Indulge in Mango Mojo at Shangri La’s Eros Hotel’s Novelé, where there is a mille feuille of cheese and crumble layered with fresh Alfonso mangoes coupled with edible gold and mango candy wrapper. This dish is like a talisman of mangoes. To augment this dish, there is a quick frozen mango buttermilk dome which is flambéed on the table.

Being a seasonal fruit, the markets are flush with mangoes. Mango-based dishes can be taken a notch higher by using it with a dash of creativity. Said chef Khosla, “Owing to the diverse and rich flavour, fragrant sweetness, and succulent texture of this magical fruit it can be used in limitless ways. Fresh and raw mangoes can be used chutneys, salsa, salads and desserts. Mango puree can be used with different elements to form sauces or  used in preparing different desserts.”

According to chef Kalra, due to the aroma, consistency in the flavour and various heath benefits; mango can be used in different drinks and recipes. “We use kacha aam (raw mango) for preparing chutneys and are serving mango sauces with various salads. Apart from this, we are working on different mango based mocktails/cocktails.”

Across the country mangoes are used in various dishes such as Mamidikaya pappu (raw mango dal) in Andhra Pradesh, prawn curry in Goa whereas Gujaratis add sweetness to their pickles in the form of aam chunda. Mangoes can be added in tacos and other global delicacies as well. So, we are saying one can begin a meal with mangoes (starters) and end it with this fruit as well (dessert). Bon Appetit!

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