MAA’S KITCHEN perfect for Mother’s Day!
A mouth-watering, spicy-sweet mango curry from Kerala, a Mother’s day recipe!
When the mango season starts in April, Mrs Sundari Vinay’s phone doesn’t stop ringing. Her family and friends are all asking when she’s going to cook her special mango curry. “There’s a long waiting list,” she laughs. And no wonder. Over the years Sundari, who lives in South India, has perfected the art of this mouth-watering sweet and sour dish.
Fortunately, fans of Sundari’s Keralan speciality don’t have long to wait – April is the Keralan New Year and the celebrations are usually the first outing for her prized creation. “We have a traditional feast at home and all the food is served on banana leaves on the floor. The mango curry is the centrepiece – it’s a real delicacy.”
Sundari learnt this dish from her mother, and remembers eating it as a child in her grandparents’ house in Kerala. “We never had to go out to buy the fruits from a shop,” she says. “There were so many mango trees in the back yard.”
The curry has all the basic ingredients of Keralan cuisine – mustard, fenugreek and cumin seeds along with the ubiquitous
coconut. It’s best with rice and, if you have time, a dry dish, too. Sundari insists that when cooking the curry you should always include the stone and its surrounding pulp; she says this is where the strongest flavour of the mango lies. So don’t be afraid to eat
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3 large ripe mangoes (out of season tin mango’s will need to be used but can be a little sweet)
¼ fresh coconut, with the flesh broken
½tsp whole cumin seeds
500g curd (if not available, use 500g
Salt to taste
1tbsp sugar (or add more to taste)
2tsp red chilli powder
2tsp cooking oil
½tsp fenugreek seeds
½tsp black mustard seeds
3 dry red chillies cut into half
10 -12 curry leaves, fresh if available
Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour
- Wash the mangoes, then massage them until you feel the flesh inside become soft. Peel. Squeeze the mangoes over a deep pan until most of the flesh and juice has come away. Add the stones to the pan. Using a knife, scrape any remaining flesh from the skin.
- Put the coconut and the cumin seeds into a food processor. Grind for half a minute, then add enough water to make a paste. Grind again for half a minute. Set aside.
- Put the curd or yogurt into a clean blender. Blend for 15 seconds. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
- Add the turmeric, salt, sugar and chilli to the mango pulp and stir through. Cook for 10 minutes on a low heat, stirring continuously. Add the coconut paste. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a low heat. Add the blended curd or yogurt. Stir on a very low heat for three minutes, taking care not to let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat.
- In a separate shallow frying pan, heat the cooking oil on a high heat. Reduce to a medium heat and add the fenugreek seeds. When they start to crackle and turn golden brown, add the mustard seeds. When these start to crackle, add red chillies and stir until they become dark brown. Add curry leaves and stir until they turn dark green. Remove the mixture from the heat, setting aside a small portion. Add the large portion to the curry, mixing it through. Use the small
Words & Pictures: Gargi Shastri & Martin Philp