Ingredient of the week: mangoes

The ultimate juicy fruit, mangoes are delicious, packed with fibre and endlessly versatile

When it comes to injecting colour into the kitchen mangoes are hard to beat. Here’s everything you need to know about these floral fruits:

FAST FACTS

Sweet and spice

Whenever you see mango in a recipe, chances are that spice will be there by its side: in a chilli-flecked salsa for crab cakes, sliced fresh and fanned over coconut rice that’s heady with vanilla, or blitzed with condensed milk for creamy ices that pop with cardamom. Mango and spice are meant to be together, and it’s been this way right from the start…

Tropic wonder

Mango is a distant relative of sumac and is in the same family as pink peppercorns, which adds weight to the vague whiff of spice that comes from its flesh. Back in the 14th century, Ibn Battuta (that Ibn Battuta) settled down for a meal with some locals of Mogadishu, Somalia, a country whose cuisine uses an eclectic blend of spices.

His hosts went to town on the spread: stewed chicken, meat, fish and vegetables, mounds of rice rich with ghee. And on the side, balancing the fire, mango with ginger, pickled lemons and chilli. Seven centuries have passed, but this idea has lost none of its appeal.

In a pickle

In his book On Food and Cooking, food scientist Harold McGee notes how the 18th-century English were fans of pickled mango. And in the 1700s, lack of refrigeration meant that mango pickling was so common the word mango came to be a verb meaning ‘to pickle’. Today, pickled mango is just as popular (hello, Asian beef with pickled mango and mint) but mainly because the sweet-sour combo is so irresistible.

STONE GOLD: QUICK AND EASY RECIPES


Mangoes aren’t just a great source of vitamins. They are full of fibre and are an excellent fruit to keep you full. One way to start your morning in fine form is with a thick and satisfyingly healthy mango smoothie. For our version, we blend mango with coconut water and natural yogurt, adding lime zest and mint for an extra kick.

Mangoes also work well as part of a light lunch. Combine slices with leftover roast chicken, spring onions, chilli and hazelnuts. Finish with lime juice and a scattering of herbs.

TOP TIP: HOW TO PEEL A MANGO WITH MINIMUM FUSS

  1. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the mango on either side of the stone to remove the cheeks.
  2. Score lines down the flesh, taking care not to cut all the way through to the skin.
  3. Now score horizontal lines across the flesh to create a crisscross effect.
  4. Turn out the flesh and slice the cubes from the skin. Remove the flesh around the stone.

You can find delicious Egyptian Keitt and Spanish Osteen mangoes in store now.