Juicy, sweet and fragrant, the luscious pulp from honeyed mangoes is hard to resist just as it is, messily sucked off the stone while standing over the kitchen sink, but the fruit is excellent to cook with, too. While desserts made from mangoes’ sensual flesh are a no-brainer, the fruit is also used in both its ripe and raw forms across India to make a host of regional savoury pickles, chutneys and curries in which the heat and aroma of the spices somehow expands the fruit’s flavour.
Rajasthani alphonso mango and coconut curry (pictured top)
I first came across a version of this curry when I was in Mumbai in the middle of alphonso mango season, at Shree Thaker Bhojanalay, one of my favourite restaurants in the city, if not the world. I love the generosity of keeping the mangoes whole and serving them with puris or chapatis to scrape the sumptuous flesh off the stone; sucking the remnants from the stone is fine in polite company, too. The heat from the spices, sourness from the tamarind and lush sweetness from the mango makes for a balanced, surprising and addictive curry.
Prep 25 min
Cook 30 min
4 ripe mangoes, such as alphonso or kesar
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
6 hot dried red chillies, soaked in 50ml hot water for 1 hour
1 tbsp jaggery, or light brown sugar
80g fresh grated coconut
65g tamarind paste
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch asafoetida
15 fresh curry leaves
1 long red chilli, sliced into thick rings
½ tsp ground turmeric
Coriander, to garnish
Chapatis or puris, to serve
Wash the mangoes thoroughly and peel. Set the peeled mangoes aside, then use a small, sharp knife to scrape all the residual pulp from the skin into a bowl, then add 175ml water, stir to combine and set aside.
In a blender, grind the coriander and sesame seeds to a coarse powder. Add the drained soaked chillies, sugar, coconut and tamarind, and blend to a smooth paste. Add a little water to loosen, if need be.
Heat the oil in a large pan and, once it’s good and hot, sprinkle in the mustard seeds. As soon as they crackle, chase with the asafoetida, curry leaves and sliced red chilli, and fry until fragrant. Stir in the turmeric, then add the coconut paste and fry for three minutes. Pour in the reserved mango pulp liquid, add the whole peeled fruit, season with sea salt and stir gently, spooning the sauce over the fruit. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, turning the mangoes once halfway. Uncover the pan, cook for a further five minutes, then garnish with coriander and serve with chapatis or puris.
This dessert takes the main elements of a classic tiramisu – mascarpone, boozy zabaione and sponge fingers – but swaps out the coffee for sweet mangoes instead. It’s as light as a cloud and lethally delicious.
Prep 45 min
Cook 10 min
Chill 4 hr+
250g creme fraiche
Zest of 2 limes
2 egg whites
1 x 200g packet savoiardi biscuits, or sponge fingers
6 ripe mangoes (such as alphonso or kesar), peeled and sliced
6 passion fruit, pulp scooped out
For the syrup
125ml mango juice
The juice of 1 lime
For the zabaione
2 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
30g unsweetened desiccated coconut, toasted
The zest of 1 lime
1 handful Thai basil leaves, finely sliced (optional)
For the syrup, mix the mango juice, lime juice and rum in a small pan, heat gently over a low temperature until it comes to a simmer, then turn off the heat and put to one side.
To make the zabaione, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, rum and a tablespoon of water in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until pale and thick, then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the mascarpone, creme fraiche and lime zest to combine, then fold in the cooled zabaione. In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then gently fold them through the mascarpone mixture.
To assemble, briefly dip half the savoiardi in the syrup and arrange the soaked biscuits in the base of a 25cm serving dish. Neatly spoon over half the mascarpone mixture, and top first with half the sliced mangoes and then half the passion fruit pulp. Repeat with remaining savoiardi dipped in syrup, and the rest of the mangoes and passion fruit. Finally, dollop the mascarpone mixture on top, smooth out evenly and refrigerate for four to six hours.
Once chilled, scatter over the toasted coconut, lime zest and Thai basil, if using, and serve.