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Friday, 18 May 2012

Mango thieves and Instant mango chutney

I vividly remember how afternoon siesta was snipped short every day in the summer to chase the mango thieves.
 The huge mango tree was the pride of our backyard. We were intensely possessive of our prized mango tree.
The tree had dared to grow with us in the face of adversity when our garden was just barren land and huge rocks.
 It was the seed of a mango that Baba had sucked dry and flung into the far corner of the garden. Determinedly green fingered, Maa had given it its place of pride in the middle of our backyard and nurtured it into this massive tree.
It vied with us for her affection and we were often jealous. In summer when the branches were weighed down with mangoes however, we were compelled to love it just as much.  
There was a lot of competition for the mangoes.
The parrots were the first ones to discover the mangoes. They greedily gobbled up the juicy bits and let the rest plunk messily on to the courtyard floor.
This did not go down well with us kids and we immediately commissioned Vishwanath our handy man to salvage some mangoes for us.
The raw mangoes would be lovingly turned into chutneys and murrabbas by Maa. The ripe ones would go to Pahlwan our fruit vendor to be further ripened and sweetened by his own secret techniques.
The evenings would then be excited trips to friend’s houses to give them their share of the booty.
Finally one day Vishwanath would give up and say he had had enough of climbing the tree and plucking and throwing mangoes into bed sheets eagerly spanning the courtyard beneath him. That was when the thieves were invited in.
My parents would call in the boys hanging on the trees along the road side and let them loose on all the remaining mangoes. Their squeals and smiles were the stuff that would inspire fairy tales.
Then the dear tree would go back to its quiet undisturbed existence for the next year and give us just its loving shade.

Mango chutney

This is an instant chutney made of mangoes that are falling off the trees right now. They are not ripe enough to be enjoyed as such but they are not raw enough for the real chutneys either.
They are somewhere on their way to being ripe and the pulp is yellow but not sweet.
1.     Take a mango and grate it. Don’t grate it too fine – a coarse grating is better as it gives the chutney a texture
2.     Put this in a bowl.
3.     Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, ¼ tsp of red chilli powder and a tiny pinch of salt to this and mix
4.     Taste it.
5.     Add a repeat of any of the already added ingredients as per taste

Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days

Get ready to lick up the whole mouth watering bowl with an eye squeezed tightly shut.

This picture was taken from our bed room window. It shows our mango tree peeping into our room


  1. U know what my wife would just salivate at his :-)

    1. Yes! It's my favourite too! It's one of those recipes that can be attempted even after you've sat down for your meal. In fact this is my Mom's recipe. She is a very busy gynaecologist, and she used to make this for us while we waded through our dal and sabji. Watching this mouth watering dish being put together and dying to attack it used to be our incentive to finish the meal.

  2. Leave Chutney & all that, who does not like those?
    But what I liked most was the lucid write up about the mango tree.
    It was so live as if you are actually witnessing it.
    Please always do write something lively & real LATERAL thing about & around your recipe so that useless people like me who wont even fry an egg can taste the good literature that come as a side dish with
    your main munu.

  3. I am so glad you liked my write up. Food for me is all about memories. Every memory has a unique taste and every new taste builds a fabulous memory.