Sour mango, the most awaited fruit in summer

MUSCAT: Everybody, young and old, is fond of mangoes. In the mango season, it is not unusual to eat five to ten mangoes a day, especially if the mango is Omani and terribly sour.

In many households around the country, it is time for mango to rule not just the taste buds but also the day-to-day menu. Raw mangoes are in the market now, and the sight of them brings to mind thoughts of a multitude of dishes, from pickles to desserts.

Traditionally, many recipes appreciate the fruity sourness of raw mango. When one falls from a tree, the one who picks it up cannot decide whether to eat it raw with a sprinkle of salt and chilli, cook it or eat it with rice.

The advent of summer and abundance of crop is a major determinant of our food habits, says Maryam al Hattali, a chef who makes the best out of the raw mango. That could be the reason why eating raw mangoes is an emotion, and the mention of it brings rushes of childhood memories. Raw mango is that one piece of the puzzle that can easily connect people through generations and states with their mango memoirs.

“One thing that I love to make is the mango pickle that the majority in the Sultanate favor. Of course, some, like my mother, prefers to eat the raw mango uncooked with salt and sometimes with rice instead of the lemon. However, it is very favorable to eat the spicy mango pickle with the lunch dish”, explains Maryam.

Maryam shares some tips when making the mango pickle:

Use fresh spices. Take the spices in a plate and then remove husks or stones if any. For the sour mango pickle, coarsely ground the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Get raw mangoes with really tender skin. Don’t peel the skin off. But if you get raw mangoes with tough skin, then peel off the skin. You can choose to add more red chilli powder if you want more spicy taste in the pickle.

Remember there should be no water or moisture in your jar in which you will keep the mango pickle. The jar has to be clean and dry. Hygiene and cleanliness are very important when you are making pickles.

Here is Maryam’s recipe:

1 big raw mango,
2 pinches roasted fenugreek seeds powder
1 pinch turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red
chilli powder,
Salt, as needed,
2 pinches asafetida

Chop the cleaned mango and place in a mixing bowl. In a pan, heat oil and switch off the stove and add fenugreek seeds powder, turmeric, red chilli powder, and mix well. Add salt and asafoetida and mix everything with the chopped mango. Your pickle is ready.

Zahra al Abri is a usual customer for Maryam.

She said, “My family impatiently wait for summer to get the pickle. I buy adequate amount and I store in the fridge. The markets provide the pickle the whole yearlong but the taste is different. It is healthier when it is fresh”.