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Envi ene bon ti salade melanz? While the average Mauritian is not a huge fruit eater, he/she will hardly ever say no to a freshly prepared fruit salad topped with tamarind sauce and disel pima/ chili salt. A colourful meli-melo of tropical fruits including mangoes and pineapple, our traditional fruit salad is not a homemade entity but derives its popularity from the road side sellers who usually extend their fares to markets and beaches on Sundays and holidays.
It will not be an uncommon sight if you come across one today on our crowded public beaches, which are always so on the eve and the day of a public holiday. And as we are celebrating our Independence Day today, there is, I’m sure, no better occasion to do a post on something we can proudly call as our ‘national’ salad. As the official celebrations unfold this afternoon in Champ de Mars in the attendance of eminent personalities, many will undoubtedly gather in more informal surroundings with the same feeling of being fier d’etre mauricien/ proud to be a Mauritian.
MAURITIAN FRUIT SALAD
2 semi ripe mangoes
1 medium pineapple
1 small cucumber
10 jamalacs/ love apples
1 carambole/ star fruit
2-3 dried red chilies
1 teaspoon kitchen salt
3 tablespoons tamarind
1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Peel mangoes, pineapple and cucumber. Cut each fruit into bite size pieces or chop into thick slices.
- Cut the jamalacs into halves and slice the carambole thinly. Place all chopped fruit in a large bowl.
- Crush the dried chilies and salt together in a grinder or in a mortar until it turns into a fine powder.
- Remove any seeds from the tamarind and soak the pulp in 2 tablespoons warm water for 5 minutes.
- Combine the tamarind pulp with 1 tablespoon of chili powder. Add more water and grind together.
- It should form a sauce of slow dripping consistency. Toss this dressing over the bowl of fruit salad.
- Mix till well combined and leave to stand at room temperature for at least one hour before serving.
- Top with extra tamarind and serve in plastic cups along with extra salt and chili powder. Serves 4.
Mauritian Fruit Salad
To counter the extreme temperatures we have been subject to lately, I have resorted to making my own ice creams and sorbets from simple everyday ingredients. In addition to creating new flavour combinations, it gives me complete control over the amount of sugar and fat that go in the making of my frozen treats. With the abundance of imported mangoes in my local fruit market, I knew it was high time to post a mango flavored dessert yet it felt unfair to bake them and lose all that glorious freshness in the process. It took me only an instant to register that I had never blogged about homemade frozen yogurt; somehow the simplicity of it made me overlook the beauty of this relatively healthy frozen dessert, commonly known and commercialized as fro-yo.
Frozen yogurt is now readily available in many popular outlets in our innumerable shopping malls, including brands like AngelBerry and SiMiS, boasting a wide array of flavors and toppings to accompany their creamy yogurts, almost ice cream-like in texture. The homemade version, while being slightly more tart and icy in comparison, carries the benefit of being genuinely fresh and way much cheaper. The recipe, from Sophisticated Gourmet, is made from juicy mango chunks pureed along with unsweetened yogurt. To reduce the chance of your fro-yo developing ice crystals, it is best to drain away maximum moisture from the yogurt by hanging it in a cheesecloth for a couple of hours and to replace milk with equal volume of cream for a velvety smooth texture.
MANGO FROZEN YOGURT
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup fresh whole milk
5 tablespoons sugar, to taste
2 mangos, peeled and diced
3 1/2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt, optional
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend till smooth for about two minutes.
- Place the mango yogurt mixture in a bowl that is safe enough to go in the freezer.
- Place the yogurt mixture in the freezer, cover it, and set your timer to 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, whisk vigorously. Be sure to whisk mixture and not use a fork.
- After another 1 hour and 15 minutes into the freezing, whisk it vigorously again.
- Do the same 1 hour and 45 minutes into freezing and allow the mixture to freeze.
- After the mixture has frozen, scoop it in bowls. Top with some crushed pistachios.
Mango Frozen Yogurt
Having lunch at a Thai restaurant where we had no dessert option on the menu was simply outrageous to me. To set this right, I had to compile my own sweet treat inspired from Thai cuisine. The recipe, adapted from Taste.com.au, combines coconut and mango – standard ingredients in Thai cooking – to create a creamy custard with tropical flavors. If someday I happen to own a Thai restaurant, I’ll make sure this shows up as the signature dish on my dessert menu.
COCONUT & MANGO CUSTARD
400ml coconut cream
125ml thickened cream
5 eggs, room temperature
70g brown unrefined sugar
55g golden caster sugar
1 large mango, peeled
3-4 fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Whisk together the coconut cream, thickened cream, eggs and combined sugars in a large bowl.
- Strain the mixture in a large jug and pour evenly among six 125 ml (1/2-cup) capacity ramekins.
- Place a steamer over a wok 1/3 filled with water and boil (make sure base does not touch water).
- Place the ramekins in the steamer and cover them with a large piece of non-stick baking paper.
- Cook, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes until the custard is just set, then remove from the steamer.
- Place mango, mint leaves and brown sugar in a bowl and stir until sugar dissolves completely.
- Leave the custard to chill for about 30 minutes. Top custard with the mango mixture to serve.
Thai inspired Summer Dessert