The intense summer heat in India produces one of the finest fruits…the king of fruits-Mango!

Scientifically called Mangifera indica, the evergreen tree is classified as a part of the botanical family Anacardiaceae, which also contains cashew nut and pistachio. It is believed to have originated in South Asia about 5,000 years ago. Thanks to the Buddhist monks who spread it to other countries, today it is widely cultivated in Brazil, Florida, California and the West Indies, besides the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

In India, the raw green mango and ripe yellow mango are used extensively in cooking up delicacies. In US, green mangoes are rarely available in the grocery stores. I substitute tart Granny Smith Apples in recipes that call for green mangoes.

The vitamin-laden fruit is said to increase blood circulation in the body. A cooling drink made of raw mangoes, called 'Pannah', is popular as an antidote for heat stroke and exhaustion.

The raw mango is very tart and crisp. It is widely used to make pickles, chutney and salad. The pulp of the raw mango is used to create a delicious drink called as 'Pannah'. Raw mango can also be transformed in to a jam called 'Moramba', which can be enjoyed throughout the year.

The ripe mango can be added in a variety of puddings, ice creams, smoothies, jellies, pies, desserts and sweet dishes for an interesting variation.

Here are some of my favorite recipes with one of nature's most delectable fruits.


Green Mango drink (Pannah)

This is a sweet and sour drink. According to the tartness of green mangoes or apple, add lime/lemon juice

3 green mangoes/ granny smith apples
1 cup brown sugar
3 lime/lemon (as per taste)
8-10 cardamom pods
¼ teaspoon salt (or as per taste)
6 cups water

Boil water in a pot. Peel green mangoes or granny smith apples. Make small pieces and add to the pot. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain water and make a puree of the cooked mango/apple.

In a jug add the puree, brown sugar, salt, lemon/lime juice and water. Stir well to mix all ingredients. Peel cardamom pods and remove seeds. Crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle and add to the drink.

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Green Mango Salad

This is a protein rich salad that is tangy and full of texture.

1 cup yellow split mung beans
1 raw mango, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 carrots, grated
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4-5 red chilies
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt (or as per taste)
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon coconut (optional)
1 tablespoon cilantro

Soak yellow split bean for 4-5 hours. Drain and keep aside.

In a salad bowl add beans, mango, carrots, onion. Heat a small pan and add oil. Throw in cumin seeds and red chilies.. Stir for 1-2 minutes and add to the salad bowl. Finally add salt, sugar, coconut and cilantro.

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Mango Lassi

This recipe demands the aromatic and silky smooth Alphonso mango pulp. Lately fresh Alphonso mangoes from India have become available in select Indian grocery stores. Canned alphonso mango pulp is available in all Indian grocery stores.

4 cups alphponso mango pulp
3 cups yogurt, plain
1 cup milk
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt

In a jug, add mango pulp, yogurt, milk sugar and salt. Whisk it with egg-beater or hand blender. Serve chilled.

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Fragrant Mango sauce

Manila mangoes are renowned for their smooth texture and work best in this recipe.

2 Manila mango, diced
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
10-12 saffron thread
5-6 cardamom pods
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

In a pan add sugar, saffron threads, and water. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Peel cardamom pods and remove seeds. Crush them in mortar and pestle. Reduce heat and add diced mango, cardamom powder and nutmeg. Cook for 2 minutes. Serve either warm or chilled.

Hema's Hints:

Serve it warm over vanilla ice cream. You could also mix in 1 cup of mango sauce with 1 cup of Cool Whip (or light whipping cream) to create a base for fruit salad.