Waltzing its way from haute couture to hot cuisine, the mango is naturally the King of the fruits. Equally competent is the raw mango, getting employed in all manner of pickles, chutneys, gravies and sides, from skin to stone. Cutting up a raw mango can, for the homesick desis in these shores, initiate one too many a prompt. The strong smell of a salty-metallic sourness as an iron knife slit up bite-sized pieces preceded the ritual of pickling in earthern jars – layers of salt separating the mangoes, crushed mustard and chillies coating them and asafoetida crumbling in warm oil, then settling with a sizzle on top, only to all be stirred and mixed up with a typical long-handled, dry ladle, under the able supervision of Moms and Grandmoms. That piquant salty-metallic smell also sustained the sprinkling of red chilli powder on crescent-shaped slices of totapuri gems, mingling with the crunch of the skins as one bit into them. The same smell could also point to fronds of mango leaves, exuding a fresh tartness, hanging on the doortops during festivities; sun-dried pieces of baby raw mangoes in their ebony glory waiting to be picked and packed into tin boxes for later use; and for the hopelessly maudlin of the lot, it could even point to the globs of mango sap from stems that crystallized on the lips, eventually turning into sores that wouldn’t heal for days. Before it gets any more painful to endure these prompts, as it were, we wish to toss up a Mango on the Mind series to satiate the cravings of the mango maniacs..
Tangy Mango Rice
4 Cups Cooked rice, cooled – preferably a short grain like Sona Masuri
1 Raw Mango
For the Tadka –
- 1 Tablespoon oil/ghee
- 1 Teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 Dry red chillies
- 1 Teaspoon urad dal
- 1 Teaspoon chana dal
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cashewnuts
- 3-4 Green chillies, slit
- Pinch of asafoetida/hing
- 2 sprigs curry leaves, washed and dried
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped or grated ginger
- ¼ Teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon mulaga podi/gun powder (optional)
Ghee, Whole fried/roasted peanuts or cashews to finish
Peel the skin of the mango and finely grate the flesh. Heat the oil/ghee in a large fry pan and toss in the mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the dry chillies, dals and nuts. Stir awhile and wait for the dals and nuts to brown up. Add the green chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and ginger. Allow the chillies and ginger to brown slightly and the curry leaves to crisp up, then add the turmeric and finally, the mango shreds. Stir everything together for a couple of minutes.
Add the cooked rice, Mulaga Podi and salt and mix gently until the tadka coats the rice. Drizzle with a few drops of ghee. Garnish with the whole nuts and serve with fried papad or chips and a salad for a light meal. Tasty even at room temperature, this rice dish is perfect in a lunch box, on the road or on a picnic blanket spread out under a shady tree.
- The dals will be quite crunchy in the finished rice. You can soak them 15-20 minutes ahead of time to make them softer. Drain, dry and add to the tadka.
- If the rice is hot, it will get mushy during the mixing, spread it out and allow to cool down while you prepare the mango mixture.
- Do not cook the mango for too long as it may lose its flavor.