One thing is synonymous with Indian summers, mangoes! The king of fruits and the national fruit of India, the mango is a fruit so beloved in India and almost certainly world over. However, the Alphonso Mango has a special place in Indian hearts. And what better way to enjoy it than eating Aam Ras, mango puree sprinkled with green cardamon and saffron.
Its such a vivid childhood memory, my gran and mum would buy a big box (peti) of Alphonso mangoes in the peak of summer – usually April end or May. And then the wait would begin for the mangoes to ripen. Wooden crates filled with hay and hidden in the hay laid the alphonso mangoes, almost like golden eggs. Waiting for them to go from yellowish green to almost orangey yellow.
It was the just the ritual, every meal lunch and dinner would be followed by sliced mangoes. But before slicing the mangoes, gran would chuck the mangoes into a bucket filled with cold water. This was a trick that apparently would help reduce the heat that mangoes contain in them. But every so often on certain days, gran would puree the mangoes to a smoothie consistency. She’d add in sugar some times if the mangoes were a bit too tart, but mostly would only add in some milk. Milk again a heat deterrent. It being so hot in the summers, she would take all the precautions.
The days we’d have Aam Was – literally translated to Mango Juice – were basically days of feasting. Aam Was would be served with Puris – fried wheat flatbreads – and that super easy but super delish Picnic Potatoes. I drool as I type this!
It is such a beautiful combination of dishes, the tarty sweetness of the mangoes against the fried puris punctuated by the gingery garlicky potatoes, it is just perfect.
‘Where do I buy Alphonso mangoes from in the UK’ you ask? Well, pop into your Indian grocer and they’d mostly stock them between April and July. Whilst these days, we get many different types of Indian mangoes imported from India, I’d always suggest to stick to the Alphonso variety because they truly are the best. If you’re craving Aam Ras in the depths of winter, then don’t despair. Tesco and Sainsburys stock Alphonso mango pulp in tins. Just wander around in the World Foods aisle and you’ll spot it. I’ve tried KTC Alphonso mango pulp and it was delish.
I Hope you create many wonderful memories with this delicious fruit just like I have in the past and continue to do in the future, pssst I’ve got a tin of Alphonso mango puree sitting in my larder calling my name.