Monday, July 2, 2007

Maine aaj tak tumse kuch nahin MAANGA.

Its almost the end of the Mango season and this has definitely been a bumper year. The trees in the garden are groaning with the weight of the enormous fruit they have produced this year. Squirrels and monkeys wear perpetually satiated looks on their faces. My mother, after patiently distributing fruit to all the neighbours for a month, now hurls them at the vacuum cleaner salesman. My brother spent a week talking lovingly to the first batch of ripening Raspuris in his bedroom. When 200 new ones joined them a week later, the love was quickly replaced by panic. He now threatens them daily with early decapitation if they all ripen on him at the same time.

They always say mangoes taste best when the summer has been infernally hot, and sure enough, this year has produced the best mangoes in a long long time. If the west savours wine and cheese, India definitely savours its mangoes. Sensitive, seasoned palates can make out the subtlest of nuances in mango flavours. Old timers can give long detailed discourses on the delicate differences between the same variety of mango grown in different regions in India. I'm getting to be somewhat of an oldtimer myself over the years, so here is a treatise on some of my favourite mango varieties from around Bangalore:

Totapuri: Big and parrot-beak shaped, this mango is best enjoyed unripe with salt and chilli powder. Always reminiscent of summer holidays and fun times in the sun.

Sendura: The first mango to appear in the mango season. Bright red, fibrous and turpentiney, this mango deserves mention only because of the joy it brings to people's hearts at the thought of the oncoming mango season.

Raspuri: My personal favourite. Also an early bird in the season, these round, slightly hook-nosed mangoes are the most popular variety in Karnataka. The fruit is pulpy, sometimes tart and slightly fibrous, though their most endearing feature is their divine floral aroma.

Badami: very closely related to the alfonso, this is a mid-season mango. The perfectly shaped fruit is perhaps the most sought after mango in the south. Dark orange and smooth as silk indside , these supersweet mangoes are the most expensive in Bangalore's markets. Tipu Sultan's famous mango graft- the Srirangapatna Badami - is definitely the best among the badami varieties

Mulgoa: These sweet yellow-fleshed mangoes appear very soon after the badamis. Their amazing sweetness more than amply comensates for their slightly gamey odour and itchy sap.

Ratnagiri: A gracious long mango. Reveals a shockingly red inside when cut. Native to maharashtra, these are quite a delight especially if you want to dress up your dinenr table with some alarming colour.

Mallika: A recent introduction to the Indian market, this is the only hybrid that I will admit into my favourites list. I am definitely partial to floral fragrances in mangoes, and a good strain of Mallika can rival the best raspuri with its slightly orange-pineapple-champa scent.

Banganapalli: Native to andhra, this is a favourite of many, often called the most harmless mango. Banganapallis can be heavenly sweet at their best, and a bit flat at their worst. The skin of the banganapalli is sweet and thin and can be eaten with the mango as long as you remember to wash the itchy sap off thoroughtly.

Sakkarepatna: These tiny little bundles of joy appear on market shelves towards the close of the season. This is a mango that you cannot slice, because it is no bigger than a lemon. The trick is to press it all over and squeeze the juice straight into your mouth (and clothes and feet) :)

Rasalu: Another Andhra variety, this is the big brother of the sakkarepatna. The enormous coconut like mangoes need to be held under a tap while being pressed all over, so that the skin gets a little wet and the sap washes off. You then bite a hole at the bottom slightly towards the right of the seed, and out gushes a whole litre of delicious mango juice. Best enjoyed when sitting in a tub!

Rumani: A sour, turpentiney mango, desired only because of its perfectly spherical shape. More common in Tamil Nadu, this mango is more pretty than tasty.

Neelam: Neelams end the mango season with a flourish. These ochre yellow mangoes pile onto shelves in the market in June. The best neelams are sweet, pleasant- and invarably have a bug in the centre. My honest advice to true mango lovers is to turn a blind eye to the bugs and eat the rest of the fruit, as mango bugs choose only the best neelam flowers to lay their eggs in.


Mo said...

Ah, do I miss the joys of binging on mangoes in summer! I especially miss those little ones (what you call Sakkarepatna).

Here in Singapore, you get Thai Mangoes through the year, which are huge in size, not half as tasty, and very expensive.


priya said...

No Imampasand (or Himampasand)?! or does it have another name which you've already put in the list? :-? I was told that Imampasand is the closest one gets to the royal Alphonso (which apparently is export quality and is hence not available at my local supermarket! what nonsense!)

P.S: I'm tempted to say 'yeh dil mango more', but I resist. :-)

priya said...

Badami = Imampasand, eh?

Krish Ashok said...

Great post as usual. The Thathachariyar gardens in Trichy are well known for their exquisitely delicious Imam Pasand mangoes. Apparently, Mr Thathachariyaar was the one to have bred them.

mike said...

I vouch for the Trichy imam pasands :) but my fav is always Malgoa. It is a meal in itself...

Bikerdude said...

Mo: Yeah Ive tasted the thai ones. They are actually not as terrible as teh mexican and african ones- bleagh.

Priya, Krish, Mike: Ive heard about the Imampasands but never got to taste them. Must try sometime.

Mike: Apparently the mulgoa is a portuguese hybrid named after the surname of the grafter who hailed from the town by the same name. whodathunkit huh !

Pri said...

How do u know all of this? Jeez all i know is that polly mango is the one u eat with uppu khaara and thats about it. My dad however is the expert. You two would get along.

freespirit said... i am homesick! I get stuck with those Thai mangoes here in Malaysia as well...but once in a while come across the 'Indian Mangoes' as they are called...though not sure which type and which cost an arm and a leg and enough to pay for the flight tickets of the mango seller and his wife from India to KL!

Bikerdude said...

Pri: Cos I dont live in the cantonment :) Heh actually no, we have a few mango trees at home and my granny is a great mango person.

freespirit: Pity about the cost of mangoes there. They're ridiculously high in India too btw.

Bikerdude said...

PS: Polly mangoes = Totapuri, so called because they look like the beaks of parrots.

pepe M. said...

hai biker dude!
just blog ur link from my fave indian look quite familiar and hottie too *blush*...
the mallika is my favorite coz its really popular in my country and really really tasty...its popular too in US and Europe but i havent seen one in india! sigh!
hope you dont mind if i include you in my blogroll?

Bikerdude said...

:) Err thanks Pepe. Didnt know Mallika was an international hybrid! It only hit Indian markets about 10 years ago. They actually dont taste like Indian mangoes at all, to come to think of it.

Tamu said...

Great post dude!!! but then again with you its a habit... Jeez I am gushing now!!!!
My fave mango is the Banganapalli.. I think its the bestest mango... and can beat Malgova and Alphonso ANY DAY!!!

comment_raja said...

will the neelam mango bugs lay eggs in our stomach as well? i will feel very flattered then.

my favourite manga = badami.
it is just absolutely delicious. always keeps me going back for more.

great post bikerdude!

i've always tried to tell my friends here about the mangoes back home, from now on, im just going to give them a link to this post.

Meenakshi said...

Bikerdude.... neat post. My favs are the Banganpalli and the Neelam, only if the Neelam is very very good :) I always tell people that summer mango season was one of the compelling factors in my list of reasons to move back to India! Hated going to the local Indian store and paying a bomb for a box of mangoes and finding that half were rotten :-(

themartianscientist said...

did you know that one the mango trees in chromepet was rasalu? I started drooling justby reading your blog! I do get mangoes here, and I could use them for the following purposes:
1- To throw at stupid undergrads who think its fun to throw water balloons at me
2- To make mango pickles, even if they have ripened, as they taste the same anyway
3- To wipe my bottom

Bikerdude said...

comment_raja: Remember the folk-story of some Indian emperor who hid away in a tower to escape being killed by a demon? The demon disguised himself as a mango bug and was carried up to the emperor's tower whereupon he emerged out of the mango in his true form, wore a straw hat and did the macarena.

..or something like that.

Bikerdude said...

Meenakshi - You bet. Was very distraught everytime I missed the mango season while I was abroad.

Martian - OMG boss too funny! died laughing! Of course boss - infact thats the only rasalu I have ever eaten (err drunk?). I still remember paati's bangles jangling while she rolled the mango around to juice it. Uff what gorgeous mangoes no?

Bikerdude said...

Tam: Gosh thats really nice of you to say :) Full shy is coming.
Yeah a good banganapalli is absolutely divine. Right now theres plenty of those to be had! Slurp.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should update the Wikipedia page on mangos. Brings back great memories of India - I'm in the US. Mangos have only recently become widely available here. Mallika looks a bit like what's called Manila here.


Roopa said...

"The trick is to press it all over and squeeze the juice straight into your mouth (and clothes and feet)"

this reminds me so much of those summer hols with my cousins (esp the clothes and feet part)...we thought we were the ones who had invented and knew about this way of eating mangoes...apparently we were wrong! :D

anyways, banter aside, nice post!

Bikerdude said...

RP: Heh good idea leme have a go at it. I think youre right about Mallika and Manila being the same.

Roopa: Thanks! Heh yes those were the days for sure!

freespirit said...

new post!!!!

Bikerdude said...

Yes yes please to waiting just a minute for 2 minute ok va

Enchanting poetess said...

Ahh that was a fabulous recap of the delicious varieties..I went to India in the mango 'season' this time...hmmm it was mangoes galore all along.I even got to pose with mango! Damn the Mexican mangoes here, don't smell like mangoes at all..or should I say don't smell at all!What good is a maanga, if it doesn't smell like one..tsk tsk India supposedly exported a lot of mangoes to the US this time...hellooo where are they??I haven't seen any:( Greedy me, just can't get enough of the yummmy mangoes!

paul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

man o man! what goes, but never comes around here :-(

nice juicy descriptions and photo. thanks dude!

- s.b.

Diabetic said...


Peter Roebuck is to be credited with this assertion. His recommended method is to eat it on the beach and then go into the water to wash it off.

It's one of the many small cruelties imposed on us diabetics that mangoes are strictly off limits.

Vicarious pleasure though in reading this blog and other works such as Davidar's 'House of Blue Mangoes'.

Hmm...deep theatrical sigh of despair.

Bikerdude said...

enchanting: This year was a crazy bumper crop. The freightliners must have eaten them up before they arrived there!

sb: Why dont you use that as an excuse to come back to India in the mango season?

diabetic: Isn't there some granny's cure for it, where you drink either bittergourd juice or powdered jamoon seeds after you eat a mango to mitigate the sugary effects? Dont take my word for it of course!!

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