I’m waiting for a call from an Indian man. No, he’s not going to ask me out – it’s far more exciting than that. He is the owner of the local Asian food shop and has assured me that he will give me a bell as soon as the boxes of mangoes arrive.
It’s been mango season for a month now and my girls and I have been dying to sample some of India’s finest. I have driven about 100 kms in that month looking for the golden pods of heaven-scented deliciousness to no avail. It looks like today may be my lucky day.
I love mangoes. I love everything about them – the heft of a ripe one in the hand; the scent of them; the colours of them; the shape of them. And, of course, the taste of them. I love their versatility – the way you can use green, unripe ones as a savoury side dish if you pop few mustard seeds and coat them in chilli powder; the way you can make drinks, pickles, desserts, ice-cream, breads, crisps and even curries out of them. Of course, nothing beats eating a perfectly ripe mango just as it is.
I know some of you may be frowning and thinking ‘But there are mangoes in the shops all year round – what’s wrong with her?’ Well, yes and no. The truth is that I’m a mango snob and I wrinkle my nose at the sight of those small, red and green bullet-hard fruits from places such as Brazil. Everyone knows that mangoes – real mangoes – are only grown on the India subcontinent. Beautiful, firm alphonsoes, for example. Or, my personal favourite, the banganapalli.
When they are perfectly ripe, the banganapalli is soft beneath the taut golden skin. Then, the only way to eat them is to squish the fruit gently with your fingers and then bite off the tip of the mango. Slurp out the pulpy, slightly-sticky contents until there is nothing left but the seed rattling around in the pod of skin. A word of caution, though; don’t do this around people you don’t know/want to impress. You will end up covered in mango nectar, but that’s half the fun. Or it can be, if you’re with the right person. 😉