Mangifera indica. The revered mango. You’d think growing up in Asia I’d have mango juice running through my veins instead of blood, but the truth is, I’ve never been a massive fan of ripe mangoes. I mean, they’re tasty and all, but I’ve always preferred the unripe, green ones–with a little salt and chili powder like the fruit vendors sell on the streets of Bangkok. And living in India makes it hard to avoid mango mania. Mango trees dominate the treescape in Bandra (I have four trees flanking my building alone), and come March, everywhere you look you’ll see clutches of bright green fruit emerging from the dusty leaves. For the mango indifferent such as myself, it can be an annoying time of year. When you’re not tripping over boxes of Alphonso mangoes stacked on every street corner in Bandra, then you’re probably deleting emails and texts advertising said boxes of Alphonso mangos. Everywhere you go, you’ll hear locals and expats alike extolling the virtues of the mango with almost religious fervor. I almost didn’t buy any mangoes out of pure stubborness…but then I thought I’d be doing the readers of my blog a disservice if I didn’t partake at least a little, so here goes: my toe-dip into Mumbai Mango Madness!
This is one elegant mango! Unlike its voluptuous, petite, and stout kin, the Totapuri is slender and elongated. The one pictured below was still slightly tart, so my impression of the taste could be inaccurate: I found it quite delicate and acidic. ”Subtle” was the word M used to describe it. (It’s the mango I made a “hedgehog” out of in the pic below, just in case you were wondering what it looked like on the inside.)
Badam means almond in Hindi, and I guess this mango sort of resembled an almond (it certainly didn’t taste like one). It was very juicy, and I liked the fresh, light, and floral taste.
This is the darling of Maharashtra and for good reason. M and I both agreed that it was the best mango either of us had ever tasted. Its bright orange flesh was soft but not mushy; it was the perfect balance of sweet and tart; and while very rich and creamy, the floral notes and acidity prevented it from being cloying. This is the mango of stereotype that you didn’t know actually existed (especially if all you’ve ever eaten are the fibrous embarrassments sold in US grocery stores), the Body Shop Body Butter mango! Mangoes in general still aren’t my favorite fruit, but the Alphonso might be in my top 5. And a box of 12 cost us only $9!
The varieties mentioned above are not very fibrous, so you can easily eat them with a spoon.
But mango “hedgehogs” are way more fun!
And as if mangoes weren’t rich and desserty enough, someone had to go and make ice-cream out of them! Natural makes a crazy good mango ice-cream with no artificial flavors, just real mango goodness. It’s only available for a few months, so get your fill now! Did I mention they deliver?
If you want a more comprehensive and less grouchy guide to mangoes, try Mumbai Boss.