Fooding around with Jenny Morris
There’s no doubt about it; when you think of the fabulously fresh flavours of summer, mango is always first on the list. Perhaps that’s to be expected, given that this tantalising tropical fruit is renowned the world over as the ‘king of fruits’ – a title that purportedly harks back to its popularity among princes of the east centuries ago and the belief that it was the food of the gods in ancient India.
Although mangoes originated in this region more than 4000 years ago, they‘ve become pretty well travelled, spreading throughout the world’s tropical and sub-tropical belt. That includes our sunny shores, where they’re grown in abundance in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.
We’re really spoilt for choice when it comes to our home-grown mangoes; nine different cultivars are grown locally and are available from December well into April, all offering the most succulently sweet flesh and a range vibrant colours.
These include the early season Tommy Atkins, a medium to large sized fruit with a thick skin and beautiful sunset orange-red colouring; Zill, a small to medium mango with mild, sweet flesh and a greenish yellow skin with hues of red; and the medium-sized fibre-fleshed Peach and Sabre, with their yellow colouring and red cheeks. February to April (mid-season) mangoes include Sensation, a small to medium sized oval fruit with a firm, stringless flesh and green purple colouration; and the sweet, succulent Heidi, which is a medium to large, heart shaped fruit with hues of red and yellow.
There are two other mangoes that have greenish yellow skins – Kent, a green-yellow mango with sweet, juicy and fibreless flesh; and Keitt, an oval-shaped mango with a yellow skin and very slight red blush. The skins of both these cultivars often remain green-yellow even when they’re ripe and ready to eat – so don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re not ripe! Kent is available mid to late season, while you’ll find Keitt towards the end of the season.
That means you can include marvellous mangoes in all your summer dishes. Why not try chilled mango and roasted red pepper soup for starters, followed by chicken, mango and cashew nut curry for mains and a zesty mango fool for dessert? Having a braai? The mango, biltong and blue cheese braai salad is the ultimate accompaniment. And of course their gorgeous green and red festive colours make merry mangoes equally at home on the formal or alfresco festive table.
Perfect at the poolside or a picnic in the park, dressed up in a delicious dish or simply eaten ‘hedgehog style’ right out the skin, mangoes are undeniably this season’s must-have fruit!
But don’t curb your magical mango moments to the sunshine months, because you’ll find dried mango, atchar, jams, pickles, juices, tinned fruit and all the other mango by-products on shop shelves all year long.
Mango, Biltong & Blue Cheese Braai Salad
• 6 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
• 150g blue cheese, crumbled
• 100g biltong, sliced
Arrange mango slices on a platter, scatter the blue cheese and biltong over, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Chicken, Mango & Cashew Nut Curry
• 4 deboned chicken breasts, diced, or 8 deboned chicken thighs
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons korma curry paste
• 1 chicken stock cube (optional)
• 2 large mangoes, peeled and chopped
• 1 tin coconut cream
• 50g cashew nuts
• Coriander to garnish
1. Sauté the chicken pieces in olive oil, add the onion and curry paste and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, adding ½ cup of water or chicken stock if necessary.
2. Add the mango, reserving a few pieces for garnish and add the coconut cream.
3. Simmer for 20 -30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened slightly.
4. Serve garnished with cashew nuts, mango pieces and coriander.
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