Its the beginning of the Mango season in India. Mango is a very auspicious tree for us South Indians. For all major festivals we make a thoraNa( String) of fresh, young mango leaves and tie it to the front door. Mango leaves are also used for making kalashas during important puja’s. India grows some of the best mangos in the world. Mangoes are full of antioxidants and vitamins, and taste great ripe, as well as raw.
Every form of the mango is used in our cooking. The Green, unripes mangoes make great pickles, chutneys and Thokku. The dry powder from raw mangoes is called ‘Amchur’, and is used in all types of Indian cooking. Amchur powder and the powder of dried gooseberries( Nelli Chettu) are used a lot during the Chaturmasya Vratha, instead of tamarind.
Unripe mangoes can be found in Indian grocery stores in all seasons in the US. This is a recipe for a common chutney made from grated mangoes. The chutney can be mixed with rice to make a great tasting Chitranna, or eaten with chapathi, dosa or idlis.
1. Green Unripe mango- 1 medium sized( Peeled and grated)
2. Fenugreek seeds( Menthya)- 1 Tsp
3. Whole Red chilies- 5 to 6( depending on how hot they are)
4. Dried Turmeric root( arashinada beru)- 1 inch piece OR 1/2 Tsp turmeric powder
5. Asafetida- 1/4 Tsp
6. Dry grated coconut( Optional)- 1 Tbsp
7. Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp
6. Oil- 2 Tbsp
7. Curry leaves- 1 Sprig
8. Salt- To taste
Dry roast the all the ingredients( Fenugreek, red chilies, coconut including the turmeric and the asafetida) till you get a nice aroma. They can also be done seperately to avoid burning. Cool well and make a fine powder.
Make a tempering of the mustard seeds and curry leaves in the oil. Add the grated mango,masala powder and salt. Stir well till the oil starts floating. Cool and store in an airtight container. This chutney can stay outside for up to a week, and much longer in the refrigerator.
The other way would be to grind together the roasted ingredients with the grated mango and salt (This way works better if you have a grinder that can grind without adding water). Add the paste to the tempering and stir well. Cool and store.
To make the Chitranna-
You will need
1. Cooked Rice( cooled)- about 4 cups
2. Peanuts- a fistful
3. Channa Dal- 1 Tsp
4. Urad dal- 1 Tsp
5. Oil- For the tempering
Fry the peanuts in the oil and keep aside. Add the Channa dad and Urad dal, when they start getting brown, add the mango chutney, mix well, add the peanuts. Mix the Rice well, check for seasoning and serve hot.