Ever had bhel puri with little pieces of raw mango in it? Try it. We did that last week in the office — had a bhel wala come in to serve us freshly tossed bhel, salted and ‘chillied’ according to individual taste. We enjoyed it and were inspired by the pieces of raw mango or kachchi kairi in it, whatever you may want to call it.
Cool and chilled
Green mango has many uses and is a boon for those who can’t bear the heat. At home, we have a tradition to make kairi panna and keep it in the fridge, ready and bottled, every day of the week. It’s cooling, nutritious and tasty!
We add a generous pinch of green cardamom and some people like to add kesar. You choose. So bhel and panna aside, green mango is a great snack - cut it into thin slices and lightly salt them. The pickle industry thrives on this mango and I do look forward to the gunda kairi that my mother-in-law makes for us every year.
Add mango chunks to dal, add some grated bits to the thepla dough, make nice chutney with grated onion, make an instant pachadi with jaggery, use green mango chhunda to stuff mutton kababs or toss with peanuts and mustard seeds to tempered rice.
Grind two tablespoons of grated raw mango with a tablespoon of roasted peanuts, three tablespoons scraped coconut, a few red chillies and turmeric powder to a coarse paste. Add this to rice that's tempered with mustard, cumin, curry leaves and asafoetida.
I love to add some roasted peanuts and sprinkle some grated green mango and grated coconut. Serve it hot drizzled with a little bit of ghee. Uses leftover rice in a smart way!
Those who are hesitant to make pickles simply because they think they might not get it right, let me encourage you to do this simple one. It is best kept in a refrigerator in Mumbai. Let’s start with half kilo of raw mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes. Keep 100 grams of salt in a bowl. Take ¼ inch asafoetida cube in a mortar and add 1½ tablespoons of red chilli powder and a little salt. Pound with a pestle into a fine powder. Mix with the mango pieces and add three tablespoons of red chilli powder and the remaining salt. Mix well. Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge.
As an ingredient in main course dishes, green mango adds the perfect acid flavour. Mutton, fish and chicken take well to green mango. Surmai blends well with sour items like tamarind and lemon juice. Add green mangoes when it’s in season. Cooked with sweet coconut milk, this curry is simple to make and tastes awesome with steamed rice.
Sanjeev Kapoor — Master Chef, Author, Television Host.