There is an abundance of mangoes in the world as the fruit comes into season across South Asia, flooding the streets of London with it’s sweet, sweet flesh. When life throws you lemons, you make lemonade. When life throws you mangoes, you make mango lassi.
Mango season is firmly upon us. This is massive news in my swathe of East London, the entire area goes mango crazy for a few months, seeing shops transform themselves from DVD stores, perfume shops or clothes retailers into mango traders. Any shop whose mango range numbers less than 6 different boxes is passed over as amateur as the street buzzes with people sniffing, prodding and squeezing the mangolian landscape whilst weighing up prices between vendors. My naive innocence of the way of the mango was highlighted last year when I asked to buy just one. The vendor chuckled, explaining I needed to buy a box of four, six or twelve.
Mangoes are consumed, literally, like sweets.
The familiar supermarket stalwart mango, poor old Tommy Atkins, suddenly looks like a sinewy, watery, estranged member of the mango family. The current season varieties differ according to availability, last week the predominant varieties were Alphonso, Kesar and Honey. A week previously, Alphonso were nowhere to be seen, aside from a few wrinkled leftovers. They’re all lovely, each has it’s own take on what a sweet, season-fresh mango should be.
Rather than regurgitating the same crap which is posted on the internet time after time, here’s my simple take on each of the varieties. One thing to note is that all of these varieties are much sweeter than the traditional green Tommy Atkins which you find year round on the shelves of your nearest supermarket. By any measure, they’re as good as a different type of fruit, unless you find a perfectly sweet, perfectly ripe Tommy Atkins, which is like trying to find a ‘foodie’ who isn’t a dickhead.
…are sweet and rounded in flavour. Probably the closest to the old Tommy Atkins, if he put on a dress, heels and performed a belly dance. Appear to be the most prolific and cheapest. 6 fruit for £6
…have a fragrance which sets them apart, as if they’re cross bred with cardamom, although it’s extremely subtle. Many people will insist that Alphonso are the best and are a firm favourite. Slightly more expensive than Kesar, 6 fruit for £7
…mangoes have a special place in my tummy, I’m taken aback at the unalloyed soft sweetness of this fruit, as if it’s not just honey, but Winnie and the gang came along, just to make the experience even more charming. Can be more expensive, yesterday they were 4 for £4 or 4 for £6, depending on brand.
Gorging on mangoes is, of course, great fun but my mind turns to alternative means of consumption beyond stripping squishy slithers of mango clean from the skin with my teeth. Mango froyo is a big hit in this household, I highly recommend the version with rosewater, it’s truly magnificent and a cinch to make, proving to be the highlight of the meal last time I served it to guests.
Lassi It Is.
Ultimately, I was unable to resist the allure of creating a mango lassi for my blog, which is the sweet, yoghurt based Indian drink that gives a fresh lime soda stiff competition for the best drink to have on a hot, hot summer’s day.
My take on a mango lassi is slightly thicker than some, I like thick drinks and thick shakes, but you can alter the recipe to suit, many people use milk or water to thin it down and get a lighter consistency. Personally, I’m a fan of thick gloopiness, hence used greek yoghurt to make this version.
Mango Lassi – Dairy Free
By Gavin Wren
Uses a blender, pestle and mortar
1 large perfectly ripe mango
250g greek yoghurt
2 cardamom pods, seeded and ground in a pestle and mortar
4-6 ice cubes
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Yoghurt, milk, water or dairy free?You can substitute Greek yoghurt for 250g of other types of yoghurt, such as soy to make it dairy free, or natural yoghurt will make a thinner lassi.
Alternatively, go half and half with milk or water. 125g yoghurt and 125ml milk will make an even thinner consistency, or 125g yoghurt and 125ml water to make it lighter.
Place the mango in a blender with the yoghurt, ground cardamom, ice and honey. Blend until very smooth, then serve and glug it back!