Summer is here and how! If the sweltering Mumbai heat is anything to go by, then we have blazing hot days ahead of us. I’m one of those odd ones who prefers summers to winters or even to monsoon for that matter. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’ve lived in Chennai, a city which has endless summers, for most of my life; or maybe it is just that I prefer the sunshine to anything else!
The good part about this season is what one can find in the markets. Mangoes, are a given, but I also look for varieties of green leafy vegetables like Gongura or Sorrel leaves that are abundant this time of the year. Then there are the raddishes and gourds that are recommended during this time of the year thanks to their high water content. And yes, the markets are flooded with cucumbers too. Undoubtedly, the King among these is the mango. Luscious, sweet and aromatic the heady fragrance calls out to you singing songs of summer.
While I’ve never been all that fond of mangoes, I do try and fit them into our meals as much as I can because they are seasonal, fresh and a powerhouse of nutrition. My favourite way to eat them is with yogurt. And while I’m partial to the raw variety over the ripe ones, I promise you this: There will be quite a few recipes here in the next couple of days!
Mangoes in desserts are the most obvious route to take while cooking with this fruit, but I wanted to do something a little ‘hatke’. I remembered tasting a Mango Salsa at a restaurant in Pondicherry once and I couldn’t stop eating it, even though I wrinkled my nose initially at the thought of ripe mangoes in something tangy, spicy as a salsa; this dip was a revelation. I’ve been wanting to make it ever since and it looks like the stars were aligned in the favour of this dish today.
The dish is really simple to make and I won’t be surprised if you end up tasting a little more that you intended to! It is addictive like that. I added some bright red Thai chillies to this to give it some more colour. Serve these with some Tortilla chips or alongside a Cajun-spiced grilled fish or prawns as an accompaniment, I guarantee you’ll have a new favourite.
4 ripe Alphonso mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium-sized Thai red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp of coriander leaves
Juice of 1 lime
A tiny pinch of salt
Take a large mixing bowl and add the mangoes, to this add the onion, chilli, salt and coriander leaves. Give it a good mix and pour the lime juice over it. Stir well and keep it in the fridge for at least 4-5 hours before serving.
*Add some mint leaves for a fresh zing to the dish
*If you can’t find the Thai red chillies you can use Jalapenos (the preserved ones will do too) or even regular green chillies, but be sure to check the spice quotient before you are generous with it!
*It is absolutely essential to keep the salsa in the fridge of a minimum of 4 hours. This helps the flavours come together and ensures you have a dish that’s perfectly balanced. You may want to add some more lime juice or coriander leaves just before serving, though