Celebrating Mangoes: Mango & Ginger Chutney | Spicy Mango Chutney Recipe

mango and ginger chutney

This post is about mangoes. And eating mangoes. But I am going to share a little story first. But I’ll give a picture of mangoes in hopes you will not stray from the page.

Kerala green mangoes

My great-grandmother was a really wonderful person. She was the only person I knew who didn’t have a jealous bone in her body. She passed away when I was in twelfth grade, and I still think about her often. She had 5 children, and twice the number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was also the only person I knew who was always genuinely happy and pleasant. Mainly because all she wanted in life was to see everyone around her happy, well-fed and well-settled.

She was a strict vegetarian and never even looked at a piece of meat or fish in her life. Until one day, when we had one of our summer family potlucks, I was grabbing a chicken leg from a plate of biryani (so my cousin wouldn’t get to it, of course!) and I bumped into her and dropped that masala and ghee laden chicken leg right into her lap, on her snow-white saree. Pretty much everyone gasped- they didn’t know how she would react. But she just laughed, said ‘Oh my god! Now someone please clean this up,’ and looked at me and said ‘It’s ok. If kids don’t spill, who will?”

She was also a severe diabetic- she was supposed to control her intake of root vegetables and natural sugars in addition to regular sweets and chocolates. But she had a secret stash of Cadbury’s chocolate in her room. I don’t know if anyone else knew, but I did. She loved mangoes too, and never passed them up during the season. She also taught me how to relish them, Kerala-style. She’d take one of these small, fibrous mangoes that grew in our garden, slice the skin off the top and squeeze the juice all over a small mound of red rice and eat it with a pinch of salt. I know it may sound like a strange combination, but it’s pretty darn good. Comfort food, Kerala-style- and it couldn’t get simpler. Those mangoes are small and green, and are great for curries. But most of the time, we’d just slice a bit off the top, and squeeze out the flesh and juice by hand, kind of like eating  Fla-Vor-Ice  popsicles.

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The flavour and juice of mangoes go very nicely with rice, and I made this chutney in an attempt to capture that. There is no coconut or onion to give it texture, so it is a viscous chutney which feels more like a spiced puree. But that is kind of what I was aiming for. I added ginger and green chilli for extra heat.

ingredients for mango chutney laid out

MANGO & GINGER CHUTNEY

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium to large sized mango, roughly cubed (Use a mango which is not too ripe- the flesh should be firm and a little tart.)
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 green chilli, sliced
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut oil because it’s the backbone of Kerala cuisine and flavors- but you can use any flavorless oil as well.)
  • Salt to taste

METHOD

  • Heat the oil in a shallow pan. Once it gets hot, add the curry leaves. Once they crisp up a bit, add the ginger and green chilli.
  • As the ginger softens and turns a slight golden hue, turn the heat to medium and add the cubed mango pieces.
  • Swirl it around, not more than a minute, stirring gently so that the flavors infuse and the mango begins to release it’s juices. You just want to soften the mangoes a little, not break them down.
  • Pull off heat, and blitz in your blender till it becomes pulpy. Add salt to taste.

Allow to cool before consuming. It tastes good with a little plain rice, but I sometimes eat it like a dipping sauce with plain tortilla chips or tapioca chips.

mango chutney with tapioca chips

Mango Chutney. So Easy.

Again, I have lost my blogarhythm. It’s the heat. It is just too darn hot to bake or cook. Oh, and I had some food poisoning. I blame the piri piri french fries I had at McDonald’s with my chicken McNuggets. I blame myself. I should not have had deep fried-processed-spicy-ketchupy food at all in this weather, but sometimes one feels weak. And lazy. And the laziness, I feel is induced by the heat, so can I go back to making it the heat’s fault?

Summer. Sultry sticky humid Indian coastal summers. They make your kohl liner smudge and your hair puff out. They give you heat rashes. But they do bring in something wonderful: mangoes. And when it is mango season, I must give you a mango recipe.

I think the mango is quite a sensual fruit. It is the shape, the contours of the fruit, so beautiful and perfect. No bumps, no bruises, just smooth and shiny and soft. And the fruit itself? It’s to die for. Tart, sweet, juicy- so many things all at once. I am NOT trying to be all porn-y and Nigella, but mangoes really are beautiful! In my last post I said I would share the chutney recipe in the next one, so here it is.

Manga chammanthi or mango chutney is the easiest thing to make; all you need are the ingredients and a blender. The closest translation for chammanthi is chutney, but they are not exactly the same- chammanthi is not watery like chutney. It’s actually quite thick, and does not need water. In Kerala, chammanthi is served with rice porridge, idlis, dosas…it’s a great condiment to spruce up a simple meal! You’ll find recipes for raw mango chutney as well, but I used somewhat ripe mangoes. The success of a mango chutney lies in the quality of the mango. You want a variety of mango which is not fibrous. You also want a mango which is firm and not yet fully ripe- perhaps something which looks like it’s got a few days to go before you can really slice it and enjoy it as dessert. The recipe is basically mangoes+ grated coconut + green chilli + pinch of salt. The proportions will vary depending on your taste and your love for coconut!

MANGO CHUTNEY (MANGA CHAMMANTHI)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium to large sized mangoes, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1 green chilli (De-seeded if you do not like too much spice. If you do not have green chilli, an alternative would be to use half to one teaspoon of crushed red chilli flakes.) I went overboard and used one green chilli and some crushed red chilli for added colour and kick.

METHOD

  • Pulse the mango pieces and chili in a blender until it reaches a grainy consistency. Not complete mush! You have to be able to see the texture, if that makes sense.
  • Add in the grated coconut and a pinch of salt and pulse a bit more, just to loosen things up a bit. If you would like your chammanthi to be more watery, then add some water or pulse for longer.
  • You can add a few drops of coconut oil if you wish, but the grated coconut should make it moist enough.

For a little variation, you can scissor in some coriander leaves, or temper with coconut oil and half a teaspoon of mustard seeds, but this works just fine. Like I said, it goes great with everything from idli, dosa, and kozhu katta to rice porridge, but

….WHY DON’T YOU…

*Dab it on a cracker and garnish with a mint leaf to create a spicy summery finger food?

*Make a sandwich with cucumber slices, fresh coriander and mango chutney?

*Make pita pockets with lettuce, tomato, onions, chutney and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt? This little guy is extremely versatile. I have been feeling a little under the weather because of my food poisoning, and have been angsting over creating a better daily schedule. I need to find a balance between baby, household, work and blog. But for now, I am just going to be a procrastinator extraordinaire and eat a mango. It’ll come to me.