Universally, the month of March heralds the onset of spring. In the western parts of
In fact, the annual love affair with mango starts early February. The environs of a mango grove are heavy with warm, heady scent of mango blossom. This attracts several birds, not to speak of honey bees and butterflies.
As time goes on, one sees little green fruits hanging from the tree. The birds and squirrels are especially interested in the fruit. So are we.
Raw mangoes invade the senses and homes of Maharashtrians. So much so, that there is a separate name for the unripe sour green fruit – ‘kairi’.
One can eat a kairi as it is, with a pinch of salt. Or pickle it in variety of seasonings and spices. Preserve it in sugar syrup. Grate it and prepare tangy chutneys. Add tiny pieces to ‘bhel’. Prepare a refreshing drink from boiled raw mango. My favorite is the ‘kairi chi daal’ – a preparation of ground, soaked chickpea gram and grated kairi, seasoned with salt, sugar, green chillies and a dash of fresh coriander. The beauty of this dish is that it does not involve any cooking.
Meanwhile the ripening raw mangoes on the trees start showing streaks of yellow and red. This is when they are removed from the trees and stored - usually in bales of straw – giving rise to golden fruit with a heavenly perfume.
Several varieties of mangoes are grown in
There is something very sensual about eating an Alphonso whole.
Select a good firm Alphonso mango. The skin is golden, smooth and warm to touch. Voluptuous. Close your eyes and bring the rind to touch your cheek, as you inhale the sweet aroma that proclaims this particular specimen as the genuine ‘hapus’. Wash the mango and pat dry. Start peeling the skin by working your fingernails around the base of the stem. Soon enough of skin comes off that can be gripped by the teeth. Once most of the skin is torn off, bite into the orange yellow flesh. Let the juice dribble down the chin as more chunks are greedily grabbed off the fruit. Finally you will reach the seed which is to be sucked on, to get the very last morsels of this tasty delight.
You take a look at your mango drenched hands and wonder – is this how Macbeth felt?