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on mangoes and fiction: amulya malladi's second novel is called "the mango season". haven't read it, so don't know to what degree mangoes actually figure in it--her first book "a breath of fresh air" was not a bad first book, though there were things about it i didn't like.

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I like raw mango with the peels

Indeed, you can eat the peels of the "green mango" varieties -- the ones you eat when they are very sour, and the ones the bengalis will make a chatni out of.

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David Davidar's decent novel is called 'The House of Blue Mangoes'.

There could probably be a good compilation of subcontinental writings about mangoes, they've been passionately written about from the beginnings of Indian lit.

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This article indicates that the damn Canadians also get their hands on exported Indian mangoes, and goes a little bit into the love of the fruit inbuilt into Indian culture.

So, I guess it's us in the US alone who live lives entirely deprived of the subcontinental best.

I think something should be done about it.

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a simile and metaphor for women's breasts.

Hm, in my mind it's always worked the other way around. Come to think of it, that may be the way it works in most Indian lit to - more evidence of the paramountcy of the almighty Indian mango.

--

Anyway, I don't know if it still is the convention, but the Times of India always used to run an article or two about the "arrival" of Apoos at Crawford market and into the easy reach of consumers. I wonder if it's still the case, maybe Vikram can confirm (and link?)

But the marketplace works a bit differently now. When I was in Bombay in mid-February there were already early Apoos being sold in a couple of spots, for princely sums. I hesitate to admit (on this mango deprived board) that I had a bunch of them, as many as I could.

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This article indicates that the damn Canadians also get their hands on exported Indian mangoes, and goes a little bit into the love of the fruit inbuilt into Indian culture.

So, I guess it's us in the US alone who live lives entirely deprived of the subcontinental best.

I think something should be done about it.

You are so damm right something should be done about it.

In the US

mangoes come from Mexico

peeled fresh garlic comes from China

Onions come from Canada and mexico

Frozen diced magoes from the philipines

lamb from Australia & Newzealand

Shrimp from half a dozen counties including India

to name just a few items

Why can't we get mangoes from India??

PS. Did anyone mention that the Mango was the most eaten fruit in the world.

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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In Hawai`i, the most frequently planted variety is the Haden. Very elongated, frangrant, hardly stringy at all. Around this time of the year acquaintances with trees used to come around with shopping bags full of mangoes and leave them by their neighbors' doors. Not any more, the decline of civil society. . .

Can't compare Haden to the Alphonso cause I've never had a chance to eat the latter (fresh at least). . .

P.S. Hawai`i is part of the U.S., at least officially.

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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yes, the only civilized way to eat a mango is to grab it with both hands, rip the skin off the narrower end off with your teeth and squeeze the flesh and juice into your mouth, pausing only to wipe drippings off your chin and lips and to lick your hands.

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! This is no way to treat the perfect Alphonso. (And with something like a Banganapalli I don't think its possible, they're too large and firm). What you're describing is the best way to eat the juicy and fibrous mangoes like the Pyries which are used for aam-rass (mango purée), and its presumably the origin of the idea that you should only eat mangoes in a bath.

But it would be terrible to treat an Alphonso like that. Its flesh is quite different - firm, and not that fibrous, so it really is best eaten scooped from the sides sliced off the stone, and then of course you run the skins through your teeth to get all the flesh and juice, and finally, the best part - sucking the stone. If you're feeling fancy you can do the peel and cube version, though there's no fancy way of sucking the stone.

This is perhaps the point to note how odd the Alphonso really is. Among mangoes, its not a particularly sweet variety, and sometimes its first taste on the tongue can make it seem almost tasteless. But then you get the real reason for eating - the extraordinary fragrance, that just takes over your nasal cavities, and the incredibly rich, dreamy back-of-the-throat feeling when you start swallowing it. Like all really great luxury foods, the secret of the Alphonso lies in its subtlety,

Vikram

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Its flesh is quite different - firm, and not that fibrous, so it really is best eaten scooped from the sides sliced off the stone, and then of course you run the skins through your teeth to get all the flesh and juice, and finally, the best part - sucking the stone. If you're feeling fancy you can do the peel and cube version, though there's no fancy way of sucking the stone.

as long as the process involves no utensils and at some point the mango is raised to the mouth and the teeth used to remove flesh from peel or stone i may be willing to allow for such effete behavior...

i was exaggerating, of course, in protest against overly dainty treatment of this sensual fruit--what i described is actually the only permissible way of eating daseris.

and eat mangoes in a bath? who are these people who come up with such things? are they the same people who only have sex with their clothes on and the lights off? mangoes, like our bodies, cannot be contained--their juices and flesh must spill.

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Among mangoes, its not a particularly sweet variety, and sometimes its first taste on the tongue can make it seem almost tasteless. But then you get the real reason for eating - the extraordinary fragrance, that just takes over your nasal cavities, and the incredibly rich, dreamy back-of-the-throat feeling when you start swallowing it. Like all really great luxury foods, the secret of the Alphonso lies in its subtlety,

I second Vikram's recommendation of a proper technique to eat Alphonse mangoes. In the better fruits, there is no fibrousness at all except around the seed and thus the cheeks must be eaten, chilled, with a spoon. You can gnaw at the seed directly, but there isn't much work to do as there is with many other mango varieties.

However, the characterization of the flavour of the mango (above) indicates to me that Vikram has possibly only ever eaten Ratnagiri Apoos, and not the source product - the magnificent Goan Alphonse. The former has been cultivated for hardiness, to hold up in lengthy shipping, and for uniformity. The latter, while recognizeably the same variety, comes from trees that are notoriously fickle and unreliable, and when the trees bear fruit the output is much more often than not consumed completely by the owners and friends and family.

In a Goan village, everyone knows which are the good trees. If one of these flowers, everyone is on alert. Small boys are warned off long before the mangoes even start to appear, and the owners will check the branches several times a day to make sure that everything is going well. The bounty from such a tree is then carefully doled out, and some of it may be made into the suberb and sinful ripe mango jam - 'mangada' that far-flung relatives (like me) have to cope with as their share of the harvest.

Property matters - always bizarrely convoluted in Goa - become wrenching torture when mango trees of repute are involved.

But then, no place in India is more obsessed or more identified with the mango. There are still at least 50 varieties grown in the small territory. And Goa has been known for many centuries for the quality of its fruit. Akbar used to demand shipments annually, visitors have raved about the Goan mango forever starting with the famous (pioneering Western botanist, and fleeing converso refugee) Garcia da Orta.

Anyway, the odd thing is that the Alphonse is still probably not the most prized mango in Goa. That distinction belongs to the 'mankurade' or 'malcorado'. The name is roughly derived from the Portuguese for 'badly colored', and this particular variety is notorious for bruising and travelling badly. Still, off the tree, there is nothing badly colored about it and the fruit is as flawlessly rosy golden as any Alphonse. The flesh is equally custardy-smooth and perfect, but the aroma is more heady and the taste more honeyed and intense.

Ah, mangoes.

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Alphonsos have come to our house. I go into my kitchen innumerable times a day to just smell them!

We weren't in Bombay for the last two mango seasons but this year we are back!

In my mothers house we know Mango season has begun when "Hanuman Kairiwala" arrives. Hanuman is a mango wholeseller and he made contact with my mother some 10 years ago, when she sent out a whole lot of crates. Through us over the years he has gained a lot of regular clientelle. Ever since then he turns up when the rates are reasonable to peddle his mangoes. He is almost a family member now as can only happen in this country.

Anyways he has the best mangoes, and they are always perfect, never bruised or rotten. He guarantees the quality and if there is anything wrong he replaces them.

I have always adored Mangoes, but this year I have enjoyed them more than ever after watching my son have his taste of Alphonso. I have a video of him saying "nice mango nani" (nani - grandma) with his face plastered in mango juice. so I think that wil be my favourite video!

A friend was just commenting the other day that she did not know what mangoes were till she ate an allphonso. I did not know that there was anything beyond an alphonso.

The coming weekend I am going accross to my Grandmothers house, where four generations of women will get together to make mango pikles for the coming year.

The pickles are Chunda - a sweet/hot grated green mango pikle, GolKairi - chunky sweet green mango pikle with a hint of red chilli, Murabba - cardamom spiced sweet green mango pikle and there is one more cant reacall the name.

Vikram should I bottle some for you? Did you get my PM by the way?

Rushina

Edited to add soaking mangoes overnight in water is said to take away the heat. Also if you wash the mangoes and squeeze the bit that was attached to the stem, a little transperent liquid will a[ppear, doing this also removes that itchy stuff.

Edited by Rushina (log)
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Does anyone have any idea what exactly the US government objects to with Indian mangoes? As people have pointed out, they import mangoes from other countries and other foodstuffs from India, so what is it with mangoes? Is it the particular use of some kind of pesticide or something? If the reason was known, perhaps some growers could find ways of growing Alphonsos in an acceptable way. There a major mango festival starting in Bombay tomorrow, more reports from there (squirm Mongo squirm!). But if anyone can shed light on this US embargo I could put questions to the growers there,

Vikram

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I developed an allergy to mangoes last year after a week-long orgy of too cheap mangoes led me to have two a day with the juice dripping down my chin as I turned the skins inside out to get the last bits. Foodie 52 told me that some of the Central Market produce handlers can't touch the whole fruits without latex gloves. I recently had a minor outbreak after sampling some slices at CM. Now I'll have to experiment with carefully placing the slice in my mouth without allowing the juice to smear my lips. Wonder why the allergy only shows up on my face - not inside my mouth?

Tryska,does mango sorbet affect you in the same manner as fresh mango?

just saw your message memesuze - i can eat mango sorbet just fine - it's jsut coming in contact with the peel. I would love to get my hands on eastern fruit to make sure it's not just a sensitivity to western varietals.

gald to know i'm not the only one with this wierdness.

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It's not just mangoes.

All 'fresh' fruit and vegetables from India are proscribed by the FDA.

I think the biggest reason is standardization. The inspectors need to know that one container is going to be near-exactly like another, and that is a very difficult hurdle for Indian producers to get over.

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  • 1 month later...

Come on Episure, if you wanted to drive Mongo mad, you're going to need more appetising pictures than that pile of distinctly unripe looking mangoes (unless its one of those types that's ripe when its green).

Like maybe he should have seen the mangos in Chennai's central produce market at Koyambedu the other day. Its a wonderful and very well organised place, so when my father suggested a trip there a few mornings back, I jumped at it.

In one of the few sensible urban planning decisions this town has taken, the markets were moved from the crowded area near the port, to this place on the outskirts on the Poonamalee High Road, but close to the Ring Road, so its quite accessible.

Its in a nice looking sprawl of a building, long low sheds with triangular roofs, the fruit market at one side, the veggies in another, the flowers in a third, I have discovered the meat market yet. You either need a pass to access the area, or have to pay Rs10 to enter, a good decision that prevents it becoming chaotic.

High summer is not the best season to go there, but even now, when you go in, what a sight! The veggie market is OK, lovely looking stuff and so cheap, but not that much variety - we'll see that, I guess, after the rains. The fruit market though is the place to be.

The mangos don't hit you at once, you're lead in to them by big heaps of guavas, plump brown chickoos (Rs20 for 25!), piles of papayas (interesting to note how many of the fruits here have American connections) and the more local stuff like the sour green starfruit and black berries called jambul, I think.

And then they hit you - the mangos, and if the smell is not an intoxicating as the piles of Alphonsos in Crawford Market in Bombay, its in a way more interesting. Alphonsos tend to swamp everything else in Bombay, while here you get to see a much greater variety of mangos.

The biggest are the Banganapallis, huge yellow footballs of mangos, lots of flesh on them and very nice in taste if you don't mind the slightly chalky undertaste. There the totapuris, long and pointed at both end, best for ras or for sucking in the style that Mongo recommends. Mulgovas are almost perfectly round, with just that upturned tip at the end, that classic mango shape you find in paisley prints.

A vendor tried interesting us in the greenish Neelam or 'blue' mangos - a waste of money, in my opinion, whatever effusions David Davidar made of them in his 'House of Blue Mangos'. Another greenish mango was the Dilpasand which was OK, but tasted fibrous. And right at the end of the market, the most exclusive dealer had boxes of Alphonsos, even cheaper than in Bombay (though not as large), a conformation of sorts of what I've always suspected that the Bombay price is kept artificially high.

But I have to say that all thoughts of mangos were banished by when in another vendor's shop we spotted baskets filled with little dark round balls each with their distinctive cap - mangosteens! And really big ones, the best I've ever seen so far. Even my father, who normally bargains like crazy and refuses even the most reasonable offers, turned weak and only put up a minimal resistance when the guy asked us for Rs450/- for a basket of 100.

We did buy some other fruit, but I couldn't care less, because now I'm in mangosteen heaven! I hesitate to say this on a list devoted to mangos, but I have to say that a perfectly ripe mangosteen is perhaps... the most perfect fruit ever. Yes, even better than mangos. They look so gorgeous when you cut them open - the neat white segments in the protective red flesh that surrounds them (which should never be eaten).

And the taste!!!! Its a combination of apricots and peaches and raspberries and mangos and every sweet fruit you can think of, in succulent white flesh. OK, I know I sound raving here, but I've always seen mangosteens as impossibly expensive fruit of which you'd be lucky to get one or two to eat, and that will only serve to whet the appetite. For the first time in my life I'm in a position to eat mangosteens for breakfast, lunch and dinner and that's just what I've been doing!

Vikram

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Come on Episure, if you wanted to drive Mongo mad, you're going to need more appetising pictures than that pile of distinctly unripe looking mangoes

The sucker punch is under construction and perfection. Watch this space.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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this is not attractive behavior (as close a translation as i can get to "yeh tumhe shobha nahin deti"). i will have to wreak terrible revenge once i can figure out what it might be.

:biggrin::smile:

You will have to stick a drinking straw into my artery,( Main tumhara khoon pee jaoonga), though it will still be in vain.

Prefer a Shobha.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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I was in our finest local grocery the other day. They had mangos on sale. I had tried one years ago and found it rather vile. Hairy, tasteless, weird, nasty. But I loved mango ice cream and mango candy.

I recalled the passion that Mongo and Vikram had when talking about mangos, so I decided to give them one more try. I bought a very large Marathon Mango from Mexico. It seemed to be perfectly ripe, so I took it with me to work the next day. I forgot it at work over the weekend. When I got in this morning, I looked at it in the fridge and thought that it was probably very overripe at this point and considered chunking it.

I just had it for lunch. If anything quite so divine has ever passed my lips, other than really good chocolate mousse, I'm not aware of it. I did manage to take dainty bites. I did not dribble juice down my chin, but I did get my hands all sticky.

I gnawed (daintily mind you) every square inch of skin free of any meat. I sucked the seed like it was my last meal. If it were, I'd die happy.

It was cold, and juicy, sweet, creamy, smooth, perfection. I'm afraid to have another one. What if it isnt as good?

I want to go buy a bushel and just wallow in their glory.

Maybe I need to make some mango sorbet or icecream so that when they aren't in season, I can still indulge.

And you say that Indian varities are even better? I might expire were I to test that theory. Assuming I could get ahold of said contraband, that is. :wub:

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nessa,

leave the mango to ripen outside the fridge next time (folk wisdom in india has it that they'll ripen faster if you store them in a sack of rice). not only will the mango not dehydrate if it is outside but the aromas as it ripens will spread through your home. pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes before you eat it--a chilled mango is a good thing.

mongo

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