Sunday, May 03, 2009
I am notoriously fickle when it comes to picking my favourite fruit. My favourites change with the seasons, in winter I favour crisp apples with ruddy skins and faint green veins running through their flesh, but before they have time to wrinkle at the approach of spring, I will have shifted to green, bursting grapes. But year after year, as the grapes grow brown and slowly fade away from the bamboo basket of my favourite seller, I scarcely spare a moment to mourn the loss, because mangoes will finally be in season.
Gloriously yellow flesh with the sweetest smell imaginable, through the months of May and June mangoes hold prime position in my heart. I've eaten all kinds of mangoes in every way possible. Giant golden ones eaten while sitting on newspapers so I won't get the floor dirty in Perimma's house, with the juice trickling down my arms, tiny green ones from Atthai's garden to get at which I would gobble down my curd rice with scarcely a chew, sliced into translucent pieces and eaten with a fork at formal lunches, or sliced into giant wedges and eaten leisurely during long and heated post-dinner conversations on the best way to cut mangoes, with the family.
After hearing Appa reminesce about his favourite cafe in Pune where they would serve giant bowls of mango pulp every summer to hungry young cadets, I made my first mango pulp. It was possibly the first dessert I ever made, filled with lumpy mangoes inexpertly peeled and a giant mound of garish tuitty-fruity on top for decoration. Appa, bless his heart, praised it to the skies. Since then I've experimented more and more daringly with this versatile fruit and have always been rewarded. I bake mangoes into buttery pies topped with crystallized sugar, a scoop of ice cream and my trusty toffee sauce. I cream them into souffles, light as air. I stew them into spicy jams that will make pretty sandwich cookies. And with every dish and every day, I fall a little more in love with this glorious fruit.
(Photo courtesy thailandholidayhomes.co.uk)