Thursday, 17 May 2012

Basic Mango Chutney

The grocery stores these days are well-stocked with red mangoes (nearly all of them from Mexico). One of the more depressing things about the culinary scene in these United States is our lack of mango varieties. The word for mango in Hindi is ahm. Ahm is also a word for "common" or "good." This tells us something about status of mangoes in Indian culture, I think. There are dozens and dozens of varieties of mangoes available this time of year in India. When I think of how wonderful and delicious and multifarious they are, and then I compare them with the sad green-red things in our grocery stores, it depresses me.

The Indian grocery stores aren't much help here, as there are laws against importing things like fresh mangoes halfway around the world. Some of those restrictions have gotten a bit little laxer, but still, to experience a true mango, one must have a passport, I'm afraid.

But let's not let our despair consume us. Some of those red mangoes are delicious! The trick is picking out a good one, like the one shown here:

You are looking for color (not a lot of green on this one), firmness (it should give a bit when you give it a squeeze, but it shouldn't be mushy), and smell (if it doesn't already smell vaguely like a mango, don't take it home--it's an imposter!).

You'll want to peel it and cut all of the yummy, brightly colored, beautiful mango-flesh off (I find that the mango slicers just don't do the job) and put it in a food processor.

Then, you'll add 1 heaping tsp of cumin (you can go with a little less if you don't like things too spicey)
1 tsp (or to taste) red pepper (this will make it hot, so you may want to go with less)
1/2 tsp (or to taste) salt


Voila, a fantastic, delicious, mango chutney that goes with everything. We eat this as an accompaniment with many meals, but it goes especially well with theplas (coming soon to this blog). It would also work very well as a dip for tortilla chips at your next party.

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