Summer is a time when most of Maharashtra is gripped in 'mango mania'. Now while this year things may be a bit subdued due to the current state of the pandemic, our love for the king of fruits here in western India knows no barriers. As is evident from the huge variety of mangoes available in the marketplace despite the restrictions. And what a variety of preparations we can make from the prized mango! From the tangy delights of the leathery, chewy aam papad and downing tall glasses of cooling aam Panna to a refreshing post-lunch bowl full of haapus (Alphonso mango) chunks dunked in creamy vanilla custard, the mango is celebrated in myriad sweet ways.
Speaking of which, while savoury preparations using mango are generally limited to mango pickles, murrabbas and chutneys, we in Maharashtra have some other rather interesting ones in our culinary repertoire. Take, for instance, the kairi bhaji. Here, freshly plucked green mangoes are cooked in a very simple way to come up with a truly lip-smacking dish. A unique kind of hybrid dish, this bhaji is a sort of pickle-meets-mango stew. One where whole raw mangoes are skinned, chopped in medium-sized cubes (including the tender, highly nutritious seed core) and mixed with a whole load of dry spice powders, besides of course onions and tomato. A little bit of jaggery adds that unmistakable sweet tinge to the otherwise sour dish.
A veritable ritual at my home, my caterer and cookery class instructor mother makes sure to whip up a batch of this bhaji almost every week. As long as her supply of green mangoes keeps coming in regularly, we at home are guaranteed an indulgence of this divine summer treat. One that we're rather sad to see the end of when the mid-June monsoon season commences and we bid adieu to the beloved mango.
Now, while there is no particular type of mango variety that's needed to make the bhaji, Mum is partial towards the aforementioned Alphonso mango. But one really needs to ensure that the mangoes are still green and not ripe. As that will change the entire taste and texture profile of the dish.
So, go ahead and try this kairi bhaji soon before the season's out and don't forget to thank us later!
Also Read: Here's How To Make India's Favourite Aam Ras
Kairi Bhaji Recipe | Green Mango Stew Recipe
Recipe by Ann Dias
- 4 raw mangoes (kairi) skinned and cut into cubes along with seed
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 4-5 curry leaves
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 1 tomato finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp jeera powder
- 1/2 tsp haldi powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp dhania powder
- 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 small lime-sized ball of jaggery (gur).
- 1 cup of water
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add mustard seeds and curry leaves till they splutter.
- Add in the chopped onions and tomatoes and lightly fry making sure to not brown the onions too much.
- Add in all the dry masala powders along with ginger-garlic paste and fry well for two minutes till a paste is formed.
- To the paste add in the mangoes, making sure they are well coated with the mixture.
- Add in the water, jaggery and salt to taste and cook on low flame for another 7-8 minutes till mango pieces are tender.
- Serve the kairi bhaji either as a main dish on its own with chapatis or as a side dish with dal and rice.
About Raul DiasA Mumbai-based writer, Raul is an ardent devotee of the peripatetic way of life. When not churning out his food and travel stories at a manic pace, he can be found either hitting the road for that elusive story or in the company of his three dogs!