Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Keeping It Simple - Green Mango Curry

This post has been long overdue. Not this particular post, but the next post on this blog, I mean. I had plans to reveal my grandmother's recipes, which I found in fragile aerogrammes and a tattered pocket diary on my trip to the US but I haven't had the opportunity to make any of them yet. I have also been having a bounty of fruit and green mangoes as our Uncle has been touring and passing them on to us so that they don't rot in his fridge. That would usually fall to my lot - for them to rot in mine - but I distributed most and consumed just a few.

The mangoes, though, were really hardy. As hard and as sour as ever even after a week. We made dal a couple of times and then there were three. By this time I was tired of dal, I had already made chutney and have the pickle, so I looked for some other recipes to use them up.

I saw some which called for grated coconut or coconut milk, but I didn't want a heavy affair. In one of those weary moments, I also wanted something that reflected tastes native to me, and not acquired ones. Now that was a challenge. I had never come across a mango curry back home so I decided to come up with one myself, using a recipe that I used for a pumpkin pulusu (pumpkin stewed in tamarind) a few weeks ago.

At this point, let me tell you of a conversation I had with a colleague recently. I had been telling her of a cook I had employed briefly three years ago. I had her for six months, three times a week. She would cook only with one hand. The other would be clapped to her ear, holding the mobile phone, and she would be chattering away. Well, chattering is not quite the right word. This person always was discussing something or the other busily, furiously. This happened every day that she came to cook. At this point my colleague said, "But how could she do that, Sra? It's food, and you have to treat it well." She meant we had to treat it with respect.

This stuck in my mind. Soon after, I read something somewhere that said a dish cooked peacefully, in a peaceful frame of mind, that is, would taste much better than one cooked when the cook was stressed. It sounded plausible, and reminded me of yet another discussion with yet another colleague who had said something similar: "When you are not harried when you cook, if you are relaxed about it, it will turn out well, whatever time of day."

What do you think? I have now resolved to find some peace before I cook.

My green mango curry was thus made in a moment of peace, low expectations and yes, a spirit of adventure because I was curious to see how it would turn out without being too invested in it.

Here's the recipe. I didn't use any tamarind or tomato which I would use in a pulusu because the mangoes would be sour enough. I intended to use onions and curry leaves but found out I didn't have any.

Sour green mangoes: 500 gm, washed well, cut into strips with peel on, retain the seed
Gingelly oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seed, cumin and hulled, split urad dal: about 1 tsp each
Red chillies: 2, broken
Garlic: 5 cloves, peeled, bruised
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Salt: Iodised, 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 2 heaped tsp
Cumin powder: 1 heaped tsp
Jaggery: 1 heaped tsp
Water: Enough to cover the mangoes halfway

Heat the oil and temper with the mustard, cumin, urad dal and red chillies. Add the garlic, saute till it gives off an aroma.

Add the mangoes and saute well for a couple of minutes. Season with the turmeric, chilli powder, salt, coriander and cumin powders.

Add water to cover the mangoes halfway.

Cover the pan and let it boil on a medium flame till the mangoes are soft. You can even mash the flesh of a few pieces to give the gravy some body.

***I tasted it at this stage and it was sour enough to make my mouth pucker.

Reluctantly, I added some jaggery to it. It improved a bit and I left it at that because I wanted a tangy and hot curry, not a sweet one.

It was good with rice, now I am going to try it with dosas. Now, that, of course, is an acquired taste - and more honestly, an attempt to clear the fridge. Bon appetit!

Here's the recipe for another mango curry, with fish in it! 


  1. Yes, I too believe that food cooked with a peaceful mind will always taste better and also pass on the positivity. You may cook in a hurry and run about in the kitchen but your mind should be at peace. I always play some music when cooking. I am so making this curry as soon as I am back and get my hands on some mangoes.

    1. That's interesting, Sharmila, that it passes on the positivity

  2. Anything done in a peaceful atmosphere (within and without) is bound to turn out well :) Especially if you're not worried about the end result, I've found...

    1. Shammi, if only the larger things in life were that simpler, right? Like work, etc ... :)

  3. I bet that's true - good food being a result of stress-free cooking. What is also true is that cooking itself is so relaxing that any get into it because of the stress-busting!

    1. Cooking being a stress-buster used to be the case for me once, not anymore. I don't seem to be able to beat the leftovers, whatever I do. And seeing a full fridge irritates me no end. So I don't cook often - it's a vicious cycle.

  4. Well said! Food when cooked in peace does come out well and tastes good too! Music is my go-to-mantra too, like Sharmila. Usually I don't pay attention to the song playing but it helps me zone out from the present moment. the first pic is mouthwatering. :-)


    1. Thanks, Siri! I had two bouts of cooking after this, it was so hot, I had to go shower in the middle of it and resume! Not peaceful at all! :)

  5. Hi Sra,
    This is new recipe for me, I would love to try as I am a big fan of mangoes. Yes you are right
    I also think that cooking should be done in a pleasant mood.

    1. Sadhna, yes, this morning, I made bottlegourd curry in the pressure cooker, something I never did before - and I think I got the idea because I knew it was going to be a relaxed day. It saved me a lot of time!

  6. Its just mangoes everywhere & I can just sigh wish I had some uncle who was touring

    1. You don't get them there, Priyanka?

  7. I love green mangoes. This looks like the perfect recipe! :-)

  8. I think it is true too - that food turns out well if you cook in a relaxed, happy frame of mind. Have experienced that so many times.

    I have to thank you for this recipe. I tried it out, with a few changes of my own, and it turned out just delicious. :) Here's my post about it: https://thegalnxtdoor.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/no-coconut-raw-mango-gotsu/

    1. I'm so thrilled! Thanks. I tried visiting your blog but it's not loading on my computer at the moment, will keep trying!

    2. For some reason, the comment form is not appearing on my blog when you view the latest posts, continuously, scrolling down the screen. However, it appears when you view one post at a time. I don't know how to fix it. :(

      Sorry for the inconvenience.


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