“Live life to the full; eat a mango while naked,” goes the saying. And no wonder mango is the fruit of freedom: it’s the most slurpy, juicy and slippery of them all.
Hailing originally from South Asia, mangoes are now cultivated in most tropical climates. They are typically eaten fresh in a ‘hedgehog’ style (slice off segments with the skin on, make a criss-cross pattern in the flesh and flip them inside out), but can also be transformed into all manner of delicious variations like jam, sauces, atchar and dried strips.
In some cultures green mango is enjoyed with fish sauce or mixed up with salt, vinegar, black pepper and hot sauce; or ripe mango cubes are speared onto sticks and dipped in chilli powder. The fruit is possibly even more popular in sweet recipes for smoothies, ice creams and desserts.
Mangoes are rich in dietary fibre, antioxidant vitamins A and C, vitamin B6, other B vitamins and essential nutrients like potassium, copper and amino acids.
• Mango chutney is easy to make and is a delicious accompaniment to roast meat, duck or charcuterie, or can be spread on gourmet sandwiches. Simply fry chilli and mustard seeds in oil for a minute, add chopped mangoes, vinegar and castor sugar. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for just under an hour until it’s very thick. Pour into sterilised jars and set aside to cool.
• Another easy condiment is mango salsa, which is perfect with salmon or gammon. Combine chopped mangoes with deseeded and sliced chilli, lime juice, finely chopped red onion, shredded mint leaves, crushed garlic and a shredded lime leaf. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
• Meaty mangoes are perfect for meat-free Monday meals, like this lettuce, mango and mozzarella wrap. It’s equally good as a big salad.
• Got freshly caught tuna? Simply sear it and serve it with handfuls of rocket and slivers of ripe mango. Squeeze a lime over it and season.
• Mango lends great flavour to roast chicken. Add the fresh mango along with garlic, onion, thyme and seasoning (as per a standard roast chicken recipe) and use mango juice instead of stock.
• For a quick, delicious dessert, combine crushed meringues with a mixture of plain yoghurt, sliced mangoes and fresh granadilla pulp. Add finely chopped mint if you like.
• Try this refreshing fruity take on a classic vodka cocktail – the mango and chilli mule.
Photograph by Visual Density