Indian Mangoes are in season and Alphonso Mangoes, if you can locate them, are a little piece of heaven. How fortunate that the U.S. trade agreement with India now allows them to be exported! Although sensational eaten out of hand, they lend an exotic flavor to mixed drinks, ice creams and sorbets, and the refreshing Mango Lassi, India's answer to a mango smoothie.
You may, of course, use whatever mangoes are available at the market. The Ataulfo or "Champagne" mango grown in Mexico is less fibrous than other varities and is widely available. Combined with a buttery texture, it makes especially smooth drinks and frozen treats. Kents (from southern Florida) and Keitts (from California) are also very good. As far as I'm concerned, mangoes from Central and South America such as the "Tommy Atkins" look better than they taste (color is not a reliable indicator of quality so it's best to go by scent). Although they tolerate rough handling and transportation without bruising and have a long shelf life, their pallid flavor cannot compare to that of Indian mangoes. In her book "A Feast of Fruits", Elizabeth Riely states that in India "a gift of mangoes is considered a warm gesture of friendship".
For tips on how to cut up a mango and a great recipe for fresh Mango Salsa, go to my fellow blogger Elise's website (Simply Recipes) at:
For those of you cooking out this Memorial Day weekend, grilled mangoes and pineapple marry well with chicken, fish, and pork. According to my grilling experts, place 1/2" thick slices of the fruit on a well oiled grill with medium-high heat. Grill until just heated through, about a minute per side. Finish with a very light dusting of cayenne or chili powder and a squirt of fresh lime juice.
MANGO PINA COLADA
2 medium mangoes, cut into 1/4" dice
2/3 cup cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez, chilled*
6 tablespoons frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1/2 cup light rum, chilled*
1-1/2 cups crushed ice
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender and process for 15 seconds. Add the ice and process until smooth and frothy. Makes about 4 servings.
* Cream of coconut, which is usually found in the liquor section, should not be confused with coconut milk, which is unsweetened. Feel free to use a flavored rum such as Coconut, Pineapple, or Mango.
2 cups very cold buttermilk
1 medium mango, cubed
4 tablespoons superfine sugar or mild honey
Pinch of non-iodized salt
1 cup crushed ice
Ground cardamom, to taste
Finely chopped pistachios (optional)
Put the buttermilk, mango, sugar, salt, and ice in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with the cardamom and pistachios. I like to chill the mixture in the blender container in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and then process again before serving. Serves 2.
EASY MANGO ICE CREAM
This is a "Philadelphia" style ice cream, as no eggs are used.
3 cups diced mango (about 3 medium mangoes)
1-1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
1 cup chilled mango or peach nectar
2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)*
Pinch non-iodized salt
In a food processor, combine the mango with half the sugar, the salt and the optional cardamom and process until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine the mango nectar, the half-and-half, the cream and the rest of the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and add the mango mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Pour into an ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturers instructions (this usually means storing the ice cream machine's canister in the freezer for at least 8 hours before making the ice cream). Adding the cardamom will remind you of Indian Kulfi, a kind of ice cream. Store in a tightly covered container in the freezer no more than 3 days. Makes about 1 quart.