A few weeks ago, a colleague told me about mango-rasam and I was intrigued. I mentioned this to my mum, who told me about our own family version of a ripe mango curry; a recipe handed down by my great-grandmother! Funnily, mum had never attempted making the dish herself, but had very fond memories of eating it at her own grandmother’s home during summer vacations (back in the 60’s). It took a bit of digging with relatives to get a basic blueprint for this recipe; all quantities were down to intuition. Must say, am over the moon with the results! 🚀
This Mangalorean version, unlike rasam, is a thick gravy relished over freshly steamed rice. It’s sweet when it first hits your taste buds, but soon you’ll feel the sourness of tamarind, and later an unexpected heat🔥 from red chili and black pepper. Its such a sublime balance of sweet, sour and spicy that you don’t even notice the heat at first. But, by the end of the meal, you’ll probably stick your tongue out a wee bit to draw-in cool air! (and go isss..issss..)
Without question, the most delightful part of eating this curry, is relishing the whole mangoes! There is no respectable way to eat them other than scrapping the pulp off the seed with your front teeth 😅, and it’s quite likely you’ll be sucking on the seeds long after all the pulp is gone😁.
Traditionally, a small variety of mangoes called Sakkare Gutle or Sugar Babies are used to make this dish. If you can’t find them, just try to use ripe mangoes of the smallest size possible. Don’t worry too much about the flavor of mango you are using; it can always be balanced by adjusting the amount of tamarind and jaggery in the recipe.
Recipe: Mavin-hannina Saaru (Mango Curry)
- A Mixer / Grinder/ Food Processor
- A Kadai/ Karahi / Deep Bottomed Frying Pan
- A small pan/ tadka pan
For the Curry
- 10 – 12 Sugar Baby Mangoes
- 4 cups Warm Water
- 5 – 6 Dried Byadagi Red Chilies
- 2 – 3 Dried Short, Round Red Chilies
- ½ tsp Pepper Corns
- ½ tsp Jeera / Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1½ tsp Dhanya / Coriander Seed Powder
- 2 tsp Coconut Oil
- 5 cloves Garlic [peeled]
- 1 medium sized Onion [roughly chopped]
- ⅓ cup Coconut [cut into inch sized pieces]
- 2″ sized piece Tamarind
- Salt [to taste]
- ¼ tsp Haldi / Turmeric Powder
- 1 walnut sized piece Jaggery [ 1½ tsp]
For the Tempering
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil
- ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- ⅛ tsp Hing / Asafoetida [optional, and just a pinch!]
- 10 – 12 Curry leaves
- Peel the mangoes and soak the skins in 2 cups of warm water1.
- In a deep bottomed pan, dry roast half a tsp each of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, 5 – 6 byadgi chilies2 and 2 -3 short, round red chiles3 on a low flame. Roast for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Next add a tsp and a half of dhania / coriander seed powder and stir continuously while it roasts. Roast until you can smell a nutty aroma of roasted dhania; it should take barely a minute.
- Transfer these roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool. Add 2 tsps of coconut oil4 to the pan and fry the garlic cloves until the edges turn a deep brown. Next add 1 roughly chopped onion and fry on a medium heat until translucent.
- Add the coconut and continue to roast on a medium to high flame for 2 minutes
- Combine the roasted spices and the coconut mix in a blender. Add a small piece of tamarind and begin to grind.
- About halfway through grinding add a tsp of salt, a quarter tsp of haldi /turmeric powder and a 1 – 2 tbs of water to help the mixture grind down to a smooth paste.
- Using the edge of a small serrated knife or your fingers, scrape off as much of the pulp as you can from the soaked mango skins. Add the pulp right back into the liquid that the skins have been soaking in, but discard all skins.
- Combine the ground masala paste, the mango pulp extract and an additional 2 cups of warm water in the pan and bring to the boil. Taste check! Add jaggery and salt to taste. If and only if you feel the need, add slightly more tamarind extract.What you are looking to achieve is a beautiful balance of salt, sweet, spicy and sour!
- Now add the star ingredient, whole peeled mangoes, to the gravy. Cover and simmer for 5 – 6 minutes. The mangoes will swell up slightly and absorb some of the spice from the masala.
- For the tempering, heat a tsp of coconut oil in tadka pan; add half a tsp of mustard seeds and wait until they begin to pop. Add a pinch of Asafoetida, followed by curry leaves and allow them to crisp up. Pour this tempering over the mango curry and cover with a lid immediately. Turn the heat off and allow the curry to rest for at least 10 minutes with the lid on so that the aroma of the curry leaves can seep into the gravy.
- Serve hot over soft, freshly steamed rice and Enjoy!
1 Sugar Baby mangoes are extremely fibrous and hard to cut into pieces; its why we use them whole. If you are using large mangoes instead, its ok to cut off the cheeks and scoop out the pulp for the gravy. You can later add the fleshly seeds to the gravy, once it comes to a boil.
2Byadagi chiles are what gives this curry its orange-red hue; they aren’t too spicy, but are used more for the unique colour that they render when ground.
3These short, round, (as my grandmother said) ‘ball chilies’ are what bring the fire!🔥 Feel free to skip them if you prefer less heat.
4You could use any other neutral oil, for instance sunflower or vegetable oil if you prefer; though I strongly recommend cold pressed coconut oil for that authentic coastal flavor.
This curry blew my mind! I hope you attempt this old family recipe too. Definitely send me a pic of those mango seeds once you’ve eaten them clean 😉