Mango stew might sound strange – why would you take a fruit that is pretty perfect as it is and cook it? But mangoes are actually wonderful to cook with – they soften and get silky and luscious. Smaller, more fibrous mangoes release their juices and you can squeeze out the pulp easily while you’re eating them.
This is a recipe that has been passed down from my grand-aunt to my mom to me. My grand-aunt is someone who is simple, kind and elegant. And this dish is quite like her – simple to make, forgiving to the extent that it can’t go horribly wrong, and an elegant balance of a handful of flavours and textures.
The mangoes are washed and cut into long strips. You put these, along with the seeds, into a pot and cover with just enough water, and add a little salt, sugar, turmeric and chilli powder. You let it simmer gently until the mangoes and their skins soften, but don’t come apart. You reduce the heat to low and add in coconut milk and allow it to simmer for a few minutes more. Then you turn off the heat, drizzle a little coconut oil over the top and add finish with curry leaves.
Unlike some other curries where mango plays a supporting role (like being used as a souring agent), here, mango is the star through and through. It’s a beautiful marriage of sweet, tart mango and creamy coconut milk with a spike of heat from the chilli powder. And the best part? It comes together in half an hour, tops.
MANGO STEW/MAMBAZHA MOLOSHYAM
2-4 mangoes, depending on the size of those you are using. If they are the small fibrous variety that easily fit into the palm of your hand, I would suggest using four. With larger mangoes like Alphonso and Badami, 2 will suffice.
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp salt (or more to taste)
½ tablespoon sugar (or more, depending on the sweetness of the mangoes)
½ to ¾ cup coconut milk, depending on how creamy you want it
½-1 tbsp coconut oil
5-6 fresh curry leaves
Wash your mangoes well and get rid of any grit that may be stuck to the skin.
Cut the mangoes into long slices, if using the large ones. Smaller mangoes can be left whole, just cut off a bit of the top so that the juices can seep into the liquid.
Place the mango and seeds in a large pot. Add turmeric, chilli powder, sugar, salt and just enough water to cover the mangoes.
Simmer until the mangoes are soft.
Turn the flame to low and add the coconut milk and mix well. Let the stew simmer for a few minutes – but be careful, you don’t want the coconut milk to split!
Adjust for salt and sweetness.
Turn off the flame, drizzle coconut oil over the top and garnish with fresh curry leaves.
Serve with rice.