It's officially Spring, the time of the year when things begin to bloom. "Begin" is the operative word here as a lot of things are not yet ripe and are still green. Of course some things will still be green no matter what time of year it is Thankyouverymuch!
As everyone knows from childhood, there are a million warnings about eating green apples (stomach ache) green bananas (no flavor) or stuff that started out as a whole other color but has turned green. I don't think we really need to go there though. One of the fruits that most people never, ever think of eating green are mangoes. Delicious, sweet, ripe mangoes. A very popular fruit. In Tamil Nadu, the mango is known as one of the three royal fruits along with bananas and jackfruit. The mango is the national fruit of India and the national tree of Bangladesh. Mango has been seen in the company of Lord Ganesha, as a symbol of perfection.
Yes, mango gets around. After all, who doesn't like sweet? Quite a few people as it turns out.
Which brings me to the subject of green mangoes. When most people go shopping for mangoes, they look for golden yellow, with a touch of red, not too hard yet not too squishy. The desired mangoes are just pliable with enough give to be fun, and have a sweetly fragrant scent. Mangoes that are green and hard as softballs are strictly Pass-a-dena as they say in Hollywood. But not so fast. There is a whole other world of mangoes out there, the mysterious and secret world of green mangoes.
Now, in the real world, green mangoes are no secret. They're used in a a lot of Indian recipes, mainly chutneys, pickles, and other relishes. And their crisp, tart, astringent taste kicks up the flavor of a lot of mild dishes, particularly Basmati rice dishes. Which brings me to the subject of a tasty rice dish studded with spices and nuts, green mango rice.
Green Mango Rice
Here's What You Need:
2 Cups of Basmati rice
1 and 1/4 tsps of salt
1 Tbs of unsalted butter or non dairy margarine (soy)
2 and 1/4 cups of water
2 and 1/2 tsp of brown mustard seeds
7 dried red chilies
1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
4 Tbs of grated fresh coconut or 5 and 1/2 Tbs of dried grated coconut
1 and 1/2 cups of grated fresh mango
3 Tbs of vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)
1 Tbs of yellow split peas (channa dal)
5 or 6 curry leaves
Here's What To Do:
Soak the rice in 5 cups of water for 30 minutes.
Drain the rice.
In a large pot melt 1 Tbs of butter.
When the butter is melted, add in the drained rice.
Stir it around.
Add in 2 and 1/4 cups of water and 3/4 tsp of salt.
Bring the rice to a boil and when it boils, put a lid on things and turn the heat waaaay down to low. Let it cook for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, lift the lid, fluff the rice, cover it again and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
Set it aside.
Peel the mangoes.
Grate them and set the grated mango aside.
Clean the food processor.
In a food processor or blender, grind together 1 and 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, 6 red chilies, the grated coconut, and 1/2 the grated fresh green mango.
Grind it all together into a paste and set it aside.
In a heavy skillet, heat 3 Tbs of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot, add in the 1 tsp of brown mustard seeds, yellow split peas, 1 dried red chili broken in half, and the curry leaves.
When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in the grated mango paste...
...and the peanuts.
Let things cook for a few minutes then add this mixture to the cooked rice.
Stir in the rest of the grated fresh mango.
Mix everything together and serve it up.
This rice dish goes well with any Indian or western meat dish or as the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal. If you want to make the recipe completely vegan, replace the butter with a non dairy margarine made of soy. So now, when you see all the piles of unripe mangoes at the market, just remember, green mango. There's a recipe for that!
Green Mango, it's not just the most popular karaoke club in Berlin!
Coming up next, an amazing vegetarian ragu from Indian Master Chef Suvir Saran and his James Beard nominated cookbook Masala Farm, plus a digital scale giveaway from OXO. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori