Mangoes are a seasonal fruit, and the joy of biting into a perfectly ripe and juicy mango for the first time each year is indeed food for our souls.
According to online stats the exact number of mango varieties is uncertain, there are at least 500 and as many as 1,000 varieties of mangoes grown worldwide of which 350 varieties are commercially grown. India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world.
Mangoes first found their way from the Isle de Bourbon, an island in the Indian ocean and a department of France to the island of Martinique around 1865. Here in Trinidad and Tobago we enjoy about 70 different varieties the most popular being starch and Julie mangoes.
Mango season came early this year, April found me picking Julies from my backyard trees, not to mention my dogs were enjoying their fair share of them as well. In times of abundance, when I can pick over two dozen at a time, I share with one and all. But I am always left with excess, at which time I slice off the seed and freeze for use later on in the year or I make jam.
So, remember, in addition to enjoying the orange, sweet, and fleshy goodness of a mango straight off the seed there are a myriad of ways we can include them in delicious recipes. Not all mangoes are meant to be cooked or included in desserts. If you are going to enjoy them in different recipes go for mangoes that are smooth-textured without a lot of stringy texture. If you’re including them in a salad use them at the half-ripened stage my choice? Julie mangoes!
Jerked chicken kebabs with mango salsa
2 lbs boneless chicken pieces cut into 1½-inch pieces
4 tbs jerk marinade
2 tbs vegetable oil
8 wooden skewers soaked in water for 4 hours
For the chicken:
Combine jerk marinade with oil, add chicken and combine, let marinade for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat gas grill or barbecue, or broiler.
Thread chicken onto skewers and place onto preheated grill or broiler.
Grill for about 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
Serve with mango salsa, and a rice pilaf.
2 mangoes, half-ripe, preferably Julie mango or any large smooth textured mango
1 clove garlic minced
½ hot pepper finely chopped and seeded (more or less to taste)
1 tbs fresh lime juice
salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
¼ cup cilantro finely-chopped or chadon beni
Combine mangoes, garlic, pepper, lime juice, salt and pepper.
Let stand for one hour before serving. Add the cilantro last.
Makes about 3 cups
Mango watercress salad
The sweetness of the mango balances with the peppery flavour of the watercress in this salad
You won’t need all the dressing, refrigerate what’s left.
1 bunch watercress, washed and dried
4 half-ripened Julie mangoes, flesh cut into julienne
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small sweet red pepper, cut into julienne
¼ cup chopped chadon beni or cilantro
⅓ cup wine vinegar
2 tbs fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic
⅔ cup olive oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Place all vegetables into a large salad bowl.
Whisk the vinegar with the lime juice and garlic.
Add the olive oil in a steady stream.
Whisk until thick.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour some dressing onto salad and toss just to coat the watercress, don’t all too much.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Mango lime tart
3½ ozs ginger snaps or digestive cookies
2 tbs melted butter
4 egg yolks
1 cup condensed milk
1 tsp lime zest
⅓ cup lime juice
½ cup mango puree
1 cup whipping cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 325F
In a food processor process gingersnaps to fine crumbs, add melted butter and process.
Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake for 5 minutes until set.
Preheat oven to 350F
With an electric mixer beat yolks until light and fluffy.
Add condensed milk, lime zest and mix on low speed until combined.
Add lime juice and mango puree, and mix well.
Pour mixture into pre-baked cookie shell and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the centre of the pie is firm and dry to the touch.
Chill thoroughly until ready for use.
Option: you may serve with whipped cream if desired.
Serves 6 to 8
Mango lime sorbet
4 cups mango pulp
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp crushed cardamom pods
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Boil water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Cool and stir in lime juice, cardamom and mango pulp.
Pour into an ice-cream freezer and process according to manufacturer’s directions.
Makes about 3 cups