What’s a coconut without a Keralite? I mean what’s a Keralite without his share of coconut?
The coco-nutty malayalee cooks the entire range of taste bud tickling dishes ranging from sweet to spicy to the sour with the coconut.
So when the first mango of the season makes its appearance in the local push carts, I get myself a kilo of mangoes for about 60 Rs. I am thrilled.Anything to save money usually does that to me! As I prepare myself for the cooking the manga kootan or the ripe mango curry, my mouth is already watering anticipating the taste.
During summer holidays in those days when I was young back in Varandhirapilly, a small town in Trichur, the challenge was always to chew on maximum number of ripe mangoes. Unlike the prized cashew nuts, grand father never really bothered if any body ate a lot many mangoes or jack fruit for that matter. We had a free will to choose to have as many as we wanted of which ever type that too. So, once a bucket full of ripe mangoes were gathered from grand father’s sprawling property by some elder in the morning, we the kids would get ready to make the best use of it.The mangoes sat in the bucket tainted, muddied, some times bitten by birds but mostly fresh and ripe ready to have after you gave it a good wash.
We,the kids who visited our grand parents and some of my uncles who were kids themselves, vied with each other to finish the day’s pick.. The ladies of the house would slyly select their share for the after noon mango curry, leaving the rest for others.
Sitting on haunches in a line on the verandah, akin to monkeys, with some 5 to 10 carefully picked ripe mangoes washed and kept close for easy reach, we would compete on chewing each mango clean and dry and then throwing the seed as far away as one could.
When one was tired of mangoes, there were enough and more ripe cashew fruits to have. The sharp twang of the cashew fruit can sometimes burn your tongue. Then there was of course jack fruit which my mother or my aunt would cut and distribute evenly among the kids who were always a hungry lot.
Grand mother would chip in asking mom to keep aside the best ones for grand father.
Some times the heat and the over dose of ripe mango and other fruits can quite upset your tummy. My favourites apart from Mango, jack fruit, guava included fruits called lubikka and champakka. These I managed to get from my aunts house due to my friendship with her father.
Well, over come by a bout of nostalgia and homesickness I head to the kitchen to prepare my pazhutha manga kootan or ripe mango curry. Here it goes
Manga Kootan or Ripe Mango Curry- Recipe
3-4 or more ripe mangoes -the smaller juicy variety
2 cups grated coconut
3 cups curd
3 to 4 green chillies
a sprig of curry leaves
1 tsp of mustard seeds
salt to taste
1 red chillly
So its quite simple.
Boil the peeled ripe mangoes with turmeric, chilly powder and salt in a pot. Add a piece of two of jaggery into the pot depending on the sweetness of the ripe mangoes that you have.
Take the grated coconut and grind it with green chillies and curd in a mixer. Keep it aside.
Add the mixture into the pot of boiled ripe mangoes and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Heat a spoonful of coconut oil in a pan .Into it put half a spoonful of mustard and curry leaves and the red chilly.Once the mustard seeds crackle add the boiled mango curry into the pan and the ripe mango curry is ready to taste.
So you grind, fry or sweeten your coconut, its forever going to taste good. If you want to have something tangy and spicy, here’s what you can do to make Pacha manga chamandhi- or raw mango paste. You can have it with rice,dosa or whatever else you want to have it with.
Here it goes!
Pachamanga chammandhi- Recipe
Take one raw mango and peel the skin off. Take a few pieces of coconut and 2 -3 red chillies and fry it shallow in a spoonful of cooking oil. In a mixer, add raw mango pieces, depending upon how tangy you want it , fried coconut pieces, shallow fried red chilly and salt to taste. Grind it. It will be better not to make the paste too smooth. Add a little coconut oil for better taste and aroma.
all the year round.