Come summer and mango season is upon us. In India we are spoiled for choice with a variety of mangoes coming in from all parts of the country. There are 1500 varieties of mango grown in India of which 1000 are sold commercially, according to a government report. Now that’s a s**tload of mangoes and I assure you we don’t get to sample all of them, but the local fruit seller will have at least five or six varieties at any given time for you to choose from.
There’s usually a typical mango used in its raw form sold in the markets for use in its raw form but it’s usually very sour. I prefer a sweeter variety of raw mango for my chutneys and salads which allows me to cut down massively on the sugar required in the dish. My fruit guy in INA market gave me a very good tip, recommending the raw version of the Safeda mango for use in these dishes and it works like a dream. It’s not too sour, has a firm texture and is the most common and reasonably priced mango in the market. The only issue is that you will have to ask your fruit vendor and not the vegetable vendor for this and hope he has them when you need them!
This chutney, a Bengali concoction, is a favourite of my daughter. She and I eat it everyday with our food when it gets made. It’s like a bonding experience. The chutney doesn’t last too long. I’ve added paanch phoron, which is a combination of five spices very commonly used in Bengali cooking. You can make it yourself. Take equal quantities of nigella (kalonji) seeds, fennel (saunf) seeds, black mustard seeds, fenugreek (methi) seeds and cumin (jeera) and mix them together.
I added an extra teaspoon of fennel seeds because I love its flavour. The fenugreek gives it a bit of a bitter tinge but only when you bite into the seed, so if you don’t like that, you could either reduce the spice to 1 teaspoon instead of two or simply add black mustard seeds and fennel seeds. The chutney is great to have with anything actually and can even be paired with grilled meats. So here we go. Enjoy.
1 kg raw mangoes
4 tbsp mustard oil
2 level tsp paanch phoron + 1 tsp fennel seeds
4 whole dried red chillies (Kashmiri mirch)
1.5 level tsp salt
4 level tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
100 gms raisins
500 ml water
Get Started (pictorial steps at the end)
- Slice the raw mango into rough slivers. You should get approximately 800 plus grams of mango flesh once the seeds and peel are removed.
- Heat the oil in a pan, when it starts smoking, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and add the paanch phoron, fennel seeds and dried chillies. This ensures your spices don’t burn.
- After 10 seconds add the mango and mix well, increase the heat to medium and let it soften for about five minutes and then add the salt, sugar and turmeric. Stir intermittently and after another five minutes add the raisins and the water. Mix well, cover the pan and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes remove the lid from the pan, crank up the heat and dry up the water. Your chutney is done when it coats the back of your spoon or spatula and doesn’t come together when you run a line through it.
- Cool and transfer to a sterilised glass jar. Wait till the chutney is completely cooled before shutting the lid of the jar and store it in the refrigerator. Since the chutney has very little oil and no preservatives, it will have to be refrigerated immediately after cooling. Should last for at least a month in a well-cooling fridge.
Important Notes: Make sure not to burn your spices (paanch phoron and fennel seeds. To avoid this, when the oil is heated, turn down the heat to low and add the spices. If you’ve burnt them, throw them out and start again.
If you’re using a more sour mango, you will have to add more salt and sugar. Adjust according to your tastes.