The last couple of weeks have been hectic, for the ongoing food festival at Chilekotha. It was a super success and we loved every bit of it.
Read – The food festival in Chilekotha and what bengali dishes were offered . Link
Many moods of Mango
In the mean time, this happened and hence this blogpost. I was invited to write in Eastern Chronicle about the progress/ evolution of mango from being a meagre fruit to a key component across different stages of a meal. Salads to starters, main course to desserts and cocktails to mocktails. As a key component, the flavour and texture is used extensively and both for raw and ripe mangoes.
The surprise came later in Eastern Chronicle when they published many moods of mango
It has been a mixed experience working for print publications or for other independent journalists. While in some cases, the concerned journo / writer has not only quoted us properly but has taken the pain to send us over the hard copy of the publication, it has been otherwise also. Some pieces and write ups never saw the daylight (which I understand is not in the hands of the journo or the writer). Then at times, there hasn’t been any intimation on the same from the writer. Sometimes, you cannot even follow up when you have submitted your 300 word writing and 5 pictures on a particular topic within 48 hours. However, this is not about all this. This is about the cover story in Eastern Chronicle.
Many moods of Mango in the cover of Eastern Chronicle
Little did I know that Many Moods of Mango will make the cover story. Sunday tabloids have always been of immense interest. There used to be Robaibasorio, the supplement which used to come with Anandabazar patrika and there was Graffiti. Before which, there was Sunday telegraph and if I am not wrong “Metro”. This one has three of the well known chefs of Kolkata, sharing their views on mango and its use. Executive Chef Sujay Gupta of Taj Bengal, Chef Shaun Kenworthy from MYX and OTT and Chef Raymond from Yauatcha India, were kind enough to take the time out and respond to my queries. Then on much deliberation, I thought that Many Moods of Mango can be a great title and my editor Anindita, who is a gem to work with, accepted the same.
The write up on Many moods of Mango in Eastern Chronicle
Bangali and aam, a key part
Which one is tougher for a Bangali bhodrolok? To pick the perfect mango or to identify the perfect fish? Come summer, cometh the mango. Smell, shape, colour, size and pedigree all checkboxes need to get tricked before the handpicked (in true literal sense) one finds its place in the bajarer tholi. It was not ages ago that Mango was only a seasonal fruit. It was a must have for summers and less of a bankable flavour for restaurants and chefs to try out new dishes. No one though will ignore the fact that it’s not now but our grandmothers always used to add mango as a part of the folahar -a healthy bowl of fruit and milk for the several types of fasting they used to keep.
Mango in modern times in kolkata
Fast forward to modern times. The menu across the restaurants in summers gets influenced by mango in many forms. Sweet or savory, hot or cold mango is present in some form or other. The restaurant scene in Kolkata has changed a lot in last few years and move over Kolkata Chinese, we now have many Asian restaurants. Mango acts as a key ingredient for various dishes in Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Philipines and other countries. The distinct prominent flavour and texture makes this king of fruit a unique one to play with.
Chef Raymond Wong and innovations in Poila Boishakh with mango another aspect of many moods of mango
Chef Raymond Wong, Executive chef of Yauatcha, doesn’t leave a chance of using mango in his innovations. This year in Poila Boishakh he presented the very popular shorshe bhekti in a new avatar. The versatile bhekti was marinated, steamed and topped with kasundi, mustard, mango puree and garnished with red chilies. His favourite dish, pork sweet and sour, has mango as the main hero balancing the acidity and heat of the dish from ginger and chilies. He focusses on procurement of correct mangoes for correct dishes. What happens when Mexican Nachos gets a touch of mango? Nachos Mango sold at The Monkey Bar is the answer, where the Nachos gets topped with ripe mangoes and bhut jholakia cream.
Chef Sujoy Gupta – Executive Chef Taj Bengal speaks on his take on Mango
Sujoy Gupta, Executive Chef Taj Bengal Kolkata has his horses for courses. In his kitchen, it’s Alphonso for chunky desserts, Kesari for milk based products, Dasheri for compotes, preserves and pates, Himsagar as stuffing and Langda for sauces, salsas, salads and others. Sujoy is of an opinion that Mango needs to be handled carefully and the other contrasting flavours need to be very carefully chosen. Therefore, the flavour of mango doesn’t get dominated. Ask Sujoy about some of his best creations and he will give you a smile and a list to die for. Mango and thyme stuffed chicken roulade, mango labneh taco with charred mango topping, emulsified mango and galangel millie fuielle, coconut and chunky mango sea salt sorbet are few. His best tip is to not fiddle with this king of fruit, so much that the natural juice and texture remains intact.
Read – how I surrendered myself to Sujoy Gupta and enjoyed some of his best creations Link
Chef Shaun Kenworthy and making mango an equal in the dish
The flavour is strong and definitely needs to be handled carefully, otherwise it becomes overbearing. Celebrity Chef Shaun Kenworthy who is the chef consultant of the Myx Bar and Kitchen, is of an opinion to make mango equal, if not an hero of a dish. He loves to infuse mangoes primarily in the savoury dishes and fish and sea food, in particular. So, a prawn stir fry with oyster sauce, spring onions and toasted sesame is a perfect example of how mango elevates a dish. His personal favourite is his creation of sticky mango glazed baby back ribs.
How can we ignore the mango based drinks
Such is the power of the king of fruits that it’s not only food that gets influenced by the flavours. Therefore, some of the best cocktail drinks this season have been influenced by mango magic and when it comes to drinks, Aam Panna is the magic wand. Mangaa is one of the all time favourite of people visiting The Monkey Bar, a concoction of vodka, sweet lime and aam panna. The regulars at this place swear by it. Green mango with the tanginess is more often used here and here are some innovative drinks like Rum panna – Rum with aam panna and soda and spices, Chili Mango where the tandoor baked green mango is mixed with sriracha sauce and Thai tamarind and kashmiri mirch is mixed with soda.
The flavours and the textures of this fruit remains as one of the preferred ingredients for culinary artists and as mango lovers, we can hope for more and more innovations grace our plates.
In case you are looking for some Mango based recipes, wait and click here.
- Date and mango based smoothie / Aam kherjurer Ghol – Link
- Mango and chicken salad with zesty coriander salad – Link
- Kancha aamer ambol – The essential summer relish – Link