Summer is here and so its sweltering heat and the fleshy ripe yellow mango is not just a feast for your eyes but also for your palette.
But for those of you who prefer the sour taste of the unripe version – the green mango or the kairee (as its referred to in Hindi) they are just as good in their cooked or pickled avatar. Not only are they packed with vitamins and minerals but the Indian cuisine offers a wide range of tasty preparations for this seasonal delicacy.
To start with, unripe mangoes are extremely rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is highly beneficial in strengthening the immune system and helps throw away waste products from the body. Therefore, raw mangoes are also recommended for patients of Scurvy – a condition resulting from lack of Vitamin C. Raw mangoes also contain B vitamins which are necessary for good health.
Nutritionist Astha Puri informs, “Unripe green mangoes are very useful in treating gastro-intestinal disorders. Having raw mangoes with honey and salt cures summer diarrhoea, morning sickness, dyspepsia, indigestion, piles and constipation. They are also important in preventing heat stroke in summer by blocking water loss and
bringing down the body temperature.”
“Raw mangoes are an excellent remedy for liver problems. The acids in green mangoes trigger bile secretion and act as an intestinal antiseptic. Having green mangoes with honey and pepper alleviates biliousness and diseases like urticaria and jaundice.”
Further, raw mango is highly valued for its ability to cure blood disorders. It increases the elasticity of the blood vessels and helps formation of new blood cells. It aids absorption of food, iron and prevents bleeding. It increases body resistance against tuberculosis, cholera and anaemia.
In Northern India, a very refreshing drink, aam panna is prepared from fresh raw mangoes. The fruit pulp is mixed with cumin seeds, black pepper and aniseed. Then it is cooked with jaggery or sugar and water and rock salt added to the drink. It is served chilled in summer to avoid dehydration. No Indian kitchen is complete without a jar of mango pickle to be had with roti or paratha, and this is made with raw mangoes. Cut a few mangoes in medium pieces. Prepare the spice mixture with fennel, fenugreek, mustard seeds, turmeric, chilli powder, asofoetida and salt. Then heat a good quantity of mustard oil, cool it and mix all. Let it rest in a jar in the sun for a few months before serving it.
In Southern India, a very tasty rice dish is prepared with mangoes. First, the desired quantity of rice is cooked. Then cashews, peanuts, soaked chana dal, green chillies, red chillies, curry leaves, mustard seeds and cumin toasted in oil/ghee. Then all of these are cooked with rice and grated raw mango added at the end. This dish is especially made on Ugadi – the Kannada New Year.
In Bengal, no meal is complete without aam-er chutney at the end. Chop a raw mango into two inch long pieces, sprinkle turmeric and toss. Then fry red chillies and mustard seeds in oil and add the mango pieces. At the end add water and sugar and cook till mango pieces are tender. Aam-er chutney is ready.