The unrelenting onslaught of summer has been given slight respite by the unexpected bout of rain. As usual everyone is stunned by the supposed “early arrival” of the monsoon!
But thanks to the continuous rain, for the first time in weeks, I didn’t mind the thought of eating something hot and comforting, as opposed to the endless bowls of curd rice and raita that I’ve been devouring.
The arrival of the monsoon also means that my beloved kairi (raw mango) was going to become unavailable almost immediately. If you thought I’ve had enough of the kairi, then you thought wrong! So as I sat wondering what more I could make with them (I’ve already made chutney and panna ) before they disappear for the year, I came across these Kerala style raw mango curries – this, this and this. Now I realise that 2/3 of these are fish curries, but fish is banned in my home – thanks to AK’s allergies. So I decided to make a vegetarian version of the curry where the mango is the hero. This curry can be had hot, warm, cool or cold. By itself or with additives like soya chunks, drumsticks, fish, chicken or anything else you can think of.
Here’s what I used for 2 servings:
1 kairi (raw mango) – approx 200 -250 gms
1″ piece ginger – julienned
3 green chillies – julienned (seeds removed if you want less heat)
1 tsp coriander seeds)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds)
1 tsp mustard seeds
4-5 sprigs curry leaves (including 1-2 small tender ones)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Pinch each of salt, turmeric & red chilli powder to marinate the mangoes
1 tbsp oil – I used refined vegetable
1/2 cup soya chunks/ drumsticks cut into 3″ pieces
Dhaniya leaves/ cilantro for garnish
Here’s how I made it:
First I cooked the soy nuggets as per the package instructions and kept them aside till I got the curry ready. If you’re using the drumsticks or any other veggies instead, then this is the time to cook them till almost done.
Then I peeled and chopped everything I had to – the raw mango, ginger and green chillies. The mango into matchsticks and the ginger and chillies into juliennes.
I sprinkled the mango with the pinches of salt, turmeric and red chilli powder and let it sit while I did the rest.
I sliced the onion into half-moons and kept aside.
In a kadhai or wok, I dry roasted the coriander and fenugreek seeds on high heat for a few minutes till fragrant but not really browned.
Removing these from the heat, I placed them in the mortar pestle and allowed them to cool for a few minutes before grinding to a powder.
In the same kadhai, I heated the oil and added the mustard seeds. When they started to sputter furiously, I added the curry leaves. The 2 tender sprigs I added whole, with the stem.
You should be careful at this stage because the curry leaves tend to sputter and sizzle all over the place and it’s the time that I burn myself the most! After a few seconds, I added the onions and cooked them till they began to brown.
Once they began to brown, I added the coriander+fenugreek powder, the ginger and chillies (reserving a few for garnish).
After another minute or so on high heat, I added the mango matchsticks and tossed to coat with the masala.
Tossing for about 2 minutes on high heat, I added the salt, the sugar, a splash of water and lowered the heat. Covering the kadhai, I cooked it till the mango softened but still maintained shape, for about 5-7 minutes.This is the point where you have a very important decision to make! Do you want to enjoy this curry as is – the sweet and sour taste of the mangoes with a hint of spice, with a chunky curry texture? Or do you want to have it as a flavour base, to which you can add the veggies/ meat/ fish of your choice? I doubt there is a wrong answer and it works beautifully in many many ways. But you DO have to make the choice! Since I wanted one of each, I don’t envy you your decision making process!
Anyway, I proceeded with the soy chunks plan! I tossed in the cooked chunks with 1/2 cup water and increased the heat to high.
Once it came to a boil, I covered the pan, reduced the heat to low and cooked for the final 5-7 minutes, just until the soy chunks absorbed the masala and flavours. I served this curry with steamed white rice and (Revati’s) spicy green chilly Tambli. Final garnish with fresh green dhaniya, ginger and green chilly juliennes.
- You can add a splash of coconut milk to the curry in the final 5-7 minutes and it will add some richness to it. I didn’t do so because I was having it with the coconut-y Tambli.
- As I mentioned in the beginning, you can have this hot, warm, cool or cold – depending on the season and your mood. It works in anyway that you want it to!