I grew up, an Armed Forces kid, in sleepy little cantonment towns all over India. We usually lived in rambling old houses, which more often that not, were old POW barracks or accommodation for the British army. Gardens, a luxury today, were also huge and overgrown, teeming with snakes and mongooses (mongeese?). Inevitably the gardens had a host of fruit trees- guava, gooseberry, papaya and mango.
The April-May holidays were spent climbing trees, harvesting mangoes, lolling on the sit out in the summer heat, reading books and playing inane games. Aah, those innocent times- with no TV and no Internet!
Mangoes were the high point of our summer holidays, with my mom (the worst cook in the world) reaching heights of culinary perfection with her myriad mango masterpieces!
From the humble mango panna and the mango pachadi to a multitude of mango chutneys, jams and pickles to mango juice and mango ice cream. From these unknown varieties of mangoes, she would extract pulp and cook it to a purée that she’d store in the fridge. And she’d whip up kulfis and confections through the year, amazing our frequent guests. In India, the mango season is a fleeting one, with poets writing paeans of praise to that beloved King of fruit.
We probably bought a mango only years later. And that’s when one learned of the huge variety of Indian mangoes –the Totapuri, the Chousa, the Langda, the Badaami, the Kesar, the Neelam, the Banganpalli and the world renowned Alphonso!
Here in Singapore we have an almost perennial mango season. With mangoes from all parts of South and Southeast Asia.
This is a quick and delicious dessert for all you Mango lovers. This is not from my mom’s collection though. Those, I’ll post, someday– like the unexpected goodies she’d produce, magically, when mangoes weren’t in season!
A delightful staple in most Thai restaurants, this dessert is simple to make, plus, you can make this as light or as calorific as you wish.
The one vital ingredient, is the glutinous rice. While I’m sure in a cinch you can make it with any rice you have at home, you won’t get that delectable, sticky texture that makes this dish stand apart from the ubiquitous rice puddings. The sticky rice, delicious by itself, plays the perfect foil to the mango. A delicate counterpoint to the bold taste of the mango.
While the Thai Honey mango is what most restaurants in Singapore serve the sticky rice with, use any sweet mango that you can lay your hands on.
For the sticky rice:
Glutinous rice : 1 cup, soaked for an hour
Water : 1 3/4 cups
Coconut milk powder : 1 50g sachet
Brown sugar or grated Gula Melaka : 1/2 cup
Salt : 1/4 tsp
For the sauce:
Coconut milk : 1x 200ml can or tetra pack
Tapioca starch : 1 tbsp
Brown sugar : 2-3 tbsps
Choose firm, sweet mangoes. Chill in the fridge, then peel and cut into slices.
Drain the rice. Mix in the water the coconut milk powder, sugar and salt and simmer over gentle heat until the rice is fully cooked and water completely absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the sauce. Mix the tapioca starch in 2 tbsps water and stir until lump free. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and add the sugar and tapioca starch.
Simmer over a gentle heat until it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat.
To serve, place a scoop of rice on a dish with the mango slices and pour the sauce over.
Do you have a favourite mango? Or a memory of the mango season from your childhood?