Raw mangoes add a tangy punch to summer cuisines of India

Raw mango lovers are gearing up for the 2021 season and share a few of their favourite recipes

Updated - March 13, 2021 01:19 pm IST

Published - March 12, 2021 02:45 pm IST - Kochi

A vendor selling sweet-and-sour raw mangoes in the local parlance doing a brisk business near NTR Circle in Vijayawada on February 29, 2020. Each mango costs Rs. 100.

A vendor selling sweet-and-sour raw mangoes in the local parlance doing a brisk business near NTR Circle in Vijayawada on February 29, 2020. Each mango costs Rs. 100.

No Christian wedding in Angamaly takes place without the Angamaly manga curry. On the eve of the wedding or even on the main day, it is served over steaming hot rice, often accompanied by beef, pork, chicken or fish. This seemingly simple lemon-yellow gravy is the chief attraction of the wedding feast.

Angamaly Manga curry recipe, by Daisy Kurien
  • Ingredients: ½ kg raw mango; Milk of 3 coconuts; 3 cup shallots; Green chillies as per taste; 2 tsp turmeric powder; Salt to taste; Curry leaves; 1 tbsp coriander powder; 1 tbsp chilli powder; 1 tbsp carrom seeds; A few pieces sliced ginger
  • Method: Crush the washed, peeled and chopped raw mango well with shallots, chilli powder, ginger, curry leaves, corriander powder, carrom seeds, green chillies, turmeric powder, salt and keep aside for at least 20 minutes. Mix well, but be careful not to mash the mango too much. This mixture is then cooked in thin coconut milk (second milk) until the mangoes are soft. Turn off the flame and add the thick coconut milk (first milk). Temper with mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves.

For those from Angamaly, summers are inextricably linked to this raw mango curry. Every Indian, for that matter has a special raw mango memory: Summer makes its unofficial entry into kitchens in their form. Diced and pickled, dusted with chilli powder and salt, cooked and sweetened, mashed and juiced, the raw mango sets the template for the season.

Read More | How to make the best of raw mangoes

Daisy Kurien, a home-maker from Angamaly, elaborates about the curry. “It is usually made only on special occasions, such as a wedding or a baptism, but I make it at home often since the children love it.” The real taste of the curry is in the mixing of its ingredients, she says. Slices of raw mango, shallots, green chilli, ginger, garlic, a few pinches of caraway seeds, salt and red chilli powder go into a large bowl and are crushed together by hand. This mixture, after about 20 minutes, is then cooked in coconut milk. What emerges at the end of the exercise is a delicious tangy curry that lasts up to a week.

On the other hand, in most Bengali households, the first smell of the season is that of tok dal , says Aparna Mukherjee, who spent her childhood summers at her maternal aunt’s home in Kolkata, where her grandmother would make it.

Raw mango paapad by Amrita Solanki

Raw mango paapad by Amrita Solanki

“We still make it at home now in Nagpur. It is a very simple preparation — not too tangy and a little sweet, as we add a bit of sugar to it. Some make it with jaggery. It can be made with masur or toor dal. The essence of the dal is its simplicity and the excitement that comes with the first mangoes of the season,” she says. “For the same reason, we don’t kill it with too much spice or seasoning. The curry has to retain the taste and feel of raw mango,” she adds.

Kachcha Aam Paapad recipe, by Amrita Solanki
  • Ingredients: 4 raw mangoes; 2 cups water; ½ cup sugar; ½ tsp salt; ½ tsp black salt; ¼ tsp red chilli powder (optional); 1 tsp roasted cumin powder; ¼tsp black pepper powder
  • Method: Boil the mangoes until they turn soft (this could take a little over 10 minutes). The mangoes can be pressure-cooked too for those who so wish. Leave the cooked mangoes to cool at room temperature and then grind to a puree in a mixer. Strain the puree to remove lumps. Boil this puree and while it boils, add all the ingredients and mix well. Boil for two to three minutes and turn off the flame. Grease a plate or a tray with oil and pour the mixture on to it and spread out evenly. Keep in sunligt. This has to be sun-dried for at least three days. Keep it covered with a fruit basket lid. After three days, the papad can be peeled off the plate/tray. This can be cut into strips or rolled and enjoyed as a snack.

YouTuber Amrita Solanki, from Indore, makes kachcha aam papad (raw mango papad ) just the way her mother does, every summer. Though easy to make, it needs sunlight and takes up to three days to dry, says Amrita. The raw mangoes are cooked, pureed and boiled along with sugar, salt, cumin, black pepper and red chilli (optional). This puree is then poured onto a plate greased with oil and left out in the sun. Once completely dried, it appears as a translucent sheet, which can be rolled, or pressed into tiny squares and stored to be relished through the year.

“It can bring you the feel of summer each time you bite into it,” says Amrita. A traditional sweet and tangy dish, it also helps cool the body, she adds.

Appekayi Saru by Pavithra M Adiga

Appekayi Saru by Pavithra M Adiga

The appekayi saru is Pavithra M Adiga’s ode to the season. “Don’t mistake it for aam panna ,” she says. While panna , the popular North Indian summer cooler uses powdered spices, the appekayi saru uses whole spices and a squirt of coconut oil. It is also seasoned with curry leaves, red chillies, mustard and cumin seeds. Pavithra, a food blogger and photographer, learnt how to make it from her grandmother. Popular in coastal Karnataka, Malnad and the Western Ghats in Karnataka, the drink is a sure presence in her kitchens during the hot months.

The right tang

Appekayi is an aromatic, sour variety of mango found mainly in the Malnad/coastal and Western Ghats regions of Karnataka. Their availability in the local market has reduced to a large extent, so in their absence, Pavithra uses aromatic mangoes sourced from a friend’s farm in Bengaluru. The drink can be had chilled or warm, she says.

Much like the rasam or the sambar in a South Indian household, the pachi pulusu is a Telangana summer staple. Pachi means raw and pulusu means gravy, says Geeta Gudavarthi.

Pachi pulusu by Geeta Gudavarthi

Pachi pulusu by Geeta Gudavarthi

Geeta, settled in Bengaluru, is from Hyderabad and she makes the dish every summer. She has a food blog as well. “The traditional way of making it is to use every ingredient in its raw form — mango, onions, coriander. However, over time, people have started roasting the mangoes. Some even boil them,” she says.

Steaming or grating mangoes makes them easier to mash. What gives the dish its distinct flavour is the sesame seed powder, ground coarse with red chillies, a ubiquitous ingredient in every Telangana home, she adds.

Start making the most of raw mangoes now, for once the golden ripe ones flood the markets, it will be a different story.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.