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Mood for Mango

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If there is one thing that is refreshing about the summer, it has to be the mango. Well it has an apt moniker, king of fruits and we tell you how you can incorporate it into your summer diet. What makes mangoes interesting is the fact that there are several ways to use the fruit both in its raw and ripe form across various kinds of cuisines in India. Health wise, they pack a punch too.

Myriad Choices

The versatility of mangoes stems from the fact that it can be used in so many ways in your diet whether it is as a smoothie, juice, lassi or aam panna (raw mango drink). You can also have raw mango salad, raw mango chutney, shrikhand, mango jam and mango rice. “In Ayurveda mangoes are considered useful in balancing all the doshas in body specially the Vata dosha. Mango is a climacteric fruit and can ripen even if plucked raw from tree. Mango is considered king of fruits in Ayurveda because it fulfils the need of sapt dhatu (all necessary dhatus or metals) in the body,” says Chef Diwakar Balodi, Senior Sous Chef, Ananda in the Himalayas. In fact adding mango will make any dish delicious and substantial. Again, having milk or yogurt after having the fruit helps balance the acidic levels in mango. “Mango salsa is a very refreshing way to use the fruit and there is no end to the ingredients and combinations you can experiment with. Mangoes pair well with shrimps as well as with chicken,” says Chef Ranveer Brar.

Regional Specialties

Almost all local Indian cuisines have summer dishes which incorporate mangoes in the recipes as a flavoring ingredient whether it is fish curry made with raw mangoes, pickles or salads. “There are also dishes like Pazha Manga from Kerala which a curry made with full ripe mangoes in it with the seed. Aamras is a favorite breakfast from Maharashtra. Puri with Aamrakhand (mango shrikhand) is eaten in entire western India,” says Chef Sudhir Nair, Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott, Outer Ring Road, Bengaluru. Mangoes are an essential part of the Indian summer diet and it is one fruit that is associated with fond childhood memories too. Eating chopped mangoes along with rotis for breakfast every morning in fact is commonplace. In fact each state and region incorporates the mango into its local cuisine such as Avvakai Mango pickle and Mamidikaya Pappu, Andhra style mango dal, chutney Chunda in Gujarat and drinks like Aam Panna in UP and Prawn and Mango Curry in Goa.

Healthy Twist

The biggest advantage of eating mangoes in the summer is the fact that it is a summer fruit and freshly harvested in these months. Also, with the availability of organic mangoes one can be assured that the mangoes they are eating are not artificially ripened, and are made without pesticides and other harmful ingredients. Chef Alok Anand, Executive Chef, JW Marriott Kolkata says, “eating mangoes cools the body down instantly and thus prevents heat strokes. The enzymes present in mangoes aid digestion.” In the hot humid weather when germs and bacteria are abundant mangoes helps boosts the immune system by providing the body Vitamin A/ C and multiple kinds of carotenoids. It makes the body alkaline hence acting as a shield against virus and cancer cells. Ishan Shah, Co-owner MAIA – Eat, Bake, Mom explains how to eat the fruit. “Considering mangoes are considered to be heat heavy, the secret to consuming mangoes regularly in the season is to soak the mangoes in water for about 3 to 4 hours before consuming it. This reduces the heat element of the mango.” Incidentally, its leaves can be boiled and the decoction helps in controlling blood sugar too.

Traditions Galore

Mangoes have been associated with religious ceremonies since ages and its leaves are considered auspicious and are hung on the front doors. “Also an integral part of all ceremonies and festivals, mango leaves are used in all ritual ceremonies and to keep negative energies away,” says Shradha Srivastava, Wellness & Diet Consultant, Healthians. Mango twigs are used for hawan; a religious fire meant to appease the Gods in Hindu culture. With the rise of Buddhism, mangoes came to represent faith and prosperity among the religion’s followers. “Among Buddhist rulers, mangoes were exchanged as gifts and became an important tool of diplomacy. During this period, Buddhist monks took mangoes with them wherever they went, popularizing the fruit,” says Chef Y. Kalyan, Pastry Chef, Monkey Bar. And as it is officially mango season, make sure you add this dash of goodness into your food and embrace the fruit in all its myriad forms.

Did you Know?

  • Mangoes contain about 20 different vitamins and minerals which makes it a super fruit.
  • One medium size ripe mango provides about 100-110 calories.
  • In Buddhism Lord Buddha is shown resting under mango tree grove.

This story appeared in the May issue of Go Getter here: Mango

All pics courtesy JW Marriott Kolkata

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