Mumbai Food: How to make most of mangoes before the season is over
From street-side thelas, to home chefs and fine-dines, they're all using kachchi kairi or green mango in different avatars. Make the most of it before the season is over
A Lingering sweetness follows the sharp kick of tanginess, leaving a tingling sensation in our gums as we bite into a piece of kachcha-pakka aam, sprightly in its spring viridescence. It is just the kind of emotion that we cherish years after having tried it at a kachchi kairi thelawala's, perhaps outside our school. Sprinkled with coarse rock salt and wrapped in yellowing newspaper, this simple street-side snack harks us back to simpler times. But nostalgia isn't the only virtue of a raw mango, that also boasts of multiple health benefits and serves as a versatile condiment to play around with. From wafer-thin slices being sold on pushcarts to piquant curries being cooked in homes — kairi has many avatars. Which one is your favourite?
Ek kachchi kairi dena
Thelas selling raw mango, along with other berries and fruits are ubiquitous across Mumbai's streets around this time of the year. Served diced, sliced or chopped, and sprinkled with a mix of masalas that range from chilli powder to rock salt, this snack is loaded with childhood memories. Enjoy the all-time favourite in paper-thin slices at this cart in
Dadar, where it's available in raw, semi-ripe and a pickled version, too, all served in an eco-friendly package.
At Shivaji Park, near Meenatai Thackeray Smarak, Dadar West.
Cost Rs 10 to Rs 20
Aam admi chaat
Mumbai's favourite chaat, sev puri, has tingled our taste buds for many years, now. Come spring and the snack gets an upgrade with the addition of chopped kairi on top. The condiment adds a tanginess and crunch to sev puri that we pine for all year through. Ask your neighbourhood chaatwala for an extra helping of the garnish.
At Juhu Chowpatty, next to Ramada Hotel (also available across Mumbai).
Cost Rs 40
. Raw mangoes decrease sweating, protecting you from sun strokes and liver issues.
. Plenty of Vitamin C in them translates to healthy gums, better skin and stable blood pressure.
. The sugar levels in raw mangoes are low, so they're ideal for diabetic patients.
. The abundance of flavonoids helps enhance eyesight.
Pork with raw mango (Rs 450) is an unusual combination, but a delicacy in the country's eastern region. On Gitika Saika's menu, this dish is a new entry. It has the slight sourness of mango, offset by the sweetness of palm jaggery. The curry for this regional delicacy is made with raw mangoes instead of tomato and is best paired with plain rice and dal. "In the Northeast, very few varieties of mango is available when compared to other parts of the country. This was the driving force behind this sweet and sour dish, which is yummiest when the pork is fatty," Saikia reveals.
At Gitika's Pakghor.
Call 9820445990 (the minimum order is five portions, which should be placed four days in advance)
Carmen Miranda Nayar is a Goan-East Indian from Mumbai, who is married to a Keralite. Her kitchen sees a riot of coastal flavours. The coastal mango curry (R500 for veg; R800 for seafood) prepared by her is a medley of flavours, comprising coconut, seafood or okra, raw mangoes, spices and curry leaves. "Other than its zesty flavour, kachcha aam has health benefits, too. Make the most of it before the summer heat turns it into a golden and sweet fruit," she shares.
At Enthu Cutlet, Andheri East.
Time 9 am to 9 pm
Call 9920137636 (Order eight hours in advance)
"Raw mangoes fuel about 60 per cent of a person's daily Vitamin C and 20 per cent of their daily Vitamin A requirements. Though they contain lesser carbohydrates than ripe mangoes, raw mangoes can slow down the speed of losing fat, especially if consumed in large quantities daily, making them a bad idea for people trying to lose weight with a low-carb diet."
Jaydeep Bhuta, nutrionist
Beat the heat
Our take on the classic mojito is inspired by Mumbai's favourite summer drink, aam panna," says Shankar Warli, mixologist at an Andheri gastropub. Warli has created the raw mango mojito (R595), a heady rum-based cocktail spruced with fresh raw mango purée, homemade aam panna, rock salt, fresh mint leaves, an aerated drink and crushed ice. "The sweet-sour flavour of the aam panna works well with the cooling mint and lemon in the mojito, making it a perfect drink for the summers," he explains.
At Woodside Inn, Oshiwara Link Road, Andheri West.
Time 11.30 am to 1.30 am
Enjoy Mumbai's staples in a dish that is prepared with a modern twist. "When we conceptualise a dish, it's completely produce-driven. Over the past couple of years, we've seen global restaurants and well-travelled consumers wake up to traditional Indian influences. So, they find their way into our menu," says Kedar Bobde, while speaking about the pan seared rawas with kairi curry (R815), a classic that is served with a carrot and ginger mash.
At Indigo Delicatessen (all outlets).
Timr 8.30 am to 12.30 am
Call 26429064 (Bandra West)
It's all about umami
At this Asian eatery, the tart fruit is used in the raw mango and pumpkin curry (R595), which is a vegetarian dish flavoured with lemongrass and Thai basil. Speaking about it, chef Nikhil Abhyankar says, "Raw mangoes have a lot of umami, which we were looking for since we needed a strong substitute for fish sauce. For this recipe, we purée the fruit and mix it with the curry, which adds a freshness to it. We finish it off with coconut cream and ripe mangoes."
At Miss T, 4, Mandlik Road, Colaba.
Time 12 pm to 3.30 pm; 7 pm to 1 am
With inputs from Chetan Nayak
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