Warmer weather beckons (I hope!) at the end of the week when I’ll be in the sunny Florida Keys and art deco Miami. I was last in the Keys when I was 19 so it’s been some time since I visited its warm shores and admired its glorious sunsets. There is always so much to get ready before embarking on a long journey and since I pride myself on my packing it is left up to me to pack all the clothes. There is definitely an art to effective packing right! The truth of the matter is I hate packing, seriously it is so tedious and tricky to get the balance on what exactly to take. I am hoping that since it will be warmer then in London, I won’t have to take too many clothes and the ones I do will be light weight cotton. Well that’s the plan.
There is nothing that screams sunshine and warm weather more than mangoes. They are undoubtedly the queen of fruits and whilst the yellow ones are juicy and sweet, the unripe ones – they are the green ones by the way – are perfect for chutney making. The sourness combined with spice and salt is a perfect winning combination and cools down the body in hot temperatures. In India a few spoonfuls of the chutney either alongside or after some spicy dal or curry works a treat.
We have all sampled the mango chutney served in curry houses when we order poppadums, however nothing prepares you for the true deliciousness of this knock out, authentic, fresh mango chutney. It tastes completely different and I love the sweet, sour, salty combination.
(or affectionately known as Aam-er Tok by Bengali speakers, which actually translates as sour mango)
Fills a small bowl/jam jar (can last in the fridge for up to a week)
2 small unripe green mangoes/1 large regular green mango, which you find in British supermarkets, skin removed and then sliced or diced
1 tsp mustard/groundnut/vegetable oil
1 large dried red chilli, cut into two pieces (or 2-3 small dried red chilli)
1 tsp panch phoron
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (optional)
2 tsp plain flour
three quarters of a tsp salt
110 ml cold water
2/3 tbsp sugar
1. Peel the mango skin and discard. Slice or dice the mango and keep the stone if you are using a larger mango as they are good to suck on post cooking! If you have really unripe green mangoes, which can be very sour, it is best to boil the sliced mangoes in a little water, with a pinch of salt, to remove part of the acidity for two minutes. Discard the water and put the mangoes to one side.
2. Place the oil in a pan and gently heat. When it is hot add the dried red chilli, including the seeds and fry the chilli gently until it darkens slightly in colour, which will take no more than a minute. Warning: you are likely to cough at this stage as the chilli darkens so do not be alarmed!
3. Add the panch phoron, turmeric and ginger (if adding) to the hot oil as well as the soft mango, salt and 75 ml of water.
4. In a separate bowl add the flour and 35ml of cold water to create a white, smooth liquid. Immediately add this to the pan and stir it into the mangoes. At this stage also add the sugar.
5. Boil gently for 5-6 minutes. If you prefer to have a runnier chutney add a little more water, however, if you prefer a thicker consistency then you will need to boil it for longer.
6. Leave to cool and chill. Serve at either chilled or room temperature, but not hot.
It is wonderful to eat after a heavy curry as it helps to cleanse the palate and digest your food.
Note: In hot climates people tend to prefer the chutney with a stronger sour undertone and as such the amount of sugar they add is less. For those who prefer a sweeter taste then add the amount of sugar that I have specified above.