Chefs introduce mango-themed menus to give Puneites more than just a bite of the king of fruits
Mangoes are one of the best things about summer, says Sushant Biswas,Executive Sous Chef at Ramee Grand,as he sets a slab of mango cheesecake on the table. The cheesecake looks pleasantly moist,soft and has a light saffron tinge. A thin golden jelly-like syrup glazes the dessert and on the very top,cubes of mango sit innocently. A closer look shows more cubes peeking out from within. The cheesecake is airy and sweet,with a light mango fragrance and aftertaste. But its the hidden mango cubes that brings the real punch,adding a tangy and juicy burst of flavour and texture.
People wait the entire year for summers so they can eat mangoes. But why should we stop at eating just the fruit? Ive designed an entire menu around mangoes for people to enjoy, says Biswas. His special mango menu features items such as Mango brulee,Mango yoghurt parfait and Green mango mojito.
Its not just chef Biswas whose love for mangoes has translated to a mango-themed menu. At Ambrosia Resort,sous chef Chander Paul has taken the mango mania a step further,experimenting with main course savoury items made with mangoes. Apart from mango-based drinks and desserts,the chef serves a chilled Mango and Mint soup which he says has been popular among guests. Its served chilled because no one wants hot soup in summers. The base ingredient,mango,adds a sweet and tangy flavour and combines well with the cooling mint flavour, he says. Paul also serves Grilled chicken with a mango salsa dressing. Tomato salsa is ordinary,but a mango salsa is special. You can taste mango in so many ways. It doesnt have to be an ordinary milkshake or aamras, he says.
At Khandani Rajdhani,maharaj Jodharam Chaudhary has gone back to traditional recipes to fuel his mango mania. Ive used recipes from Rajasthan and Gujarat for my mango menu. These dishes are traditionally served every summer in Rajasthani and Gujarati houses, he says. The famous Rajasthani preparation Aam ki lunjee is one of the restaurants mango thali highlights. It is a semi-dry preparation that uses kairi or raw mango cooked in spices. Raw mango is sour and adds a nice taste to the dish. We dont use ripe mangoes because they are sweet and are too soft to be cooked as a sabzi, says Chaudhary. The conventional Dal dhokli recipe from Gujarat appears in a new mango avatar,with diced mango added to the dish. Toor dal is cooked separately first and I add the mangoes at the end. When the dhokli is dipped into the dal,you can taste fresh mango, he says. The mango is added at the very end in the dhokli,while the Mango fajeto,a traditional Gujarati sweet kadhi,is cooked along with mango pulp. It gives every bite an intense flavour, he adds.
But chefs caution that using mangoes in recipes makes the the entire process more complicated. Chef Paul says,First of all,the mangoes need to be absolutely fresh. And we have to take care and avoid cooking at high temperatures or for long periods because mangoes can get overcooked very easily, he says.
Chef Biswas makes sure he only adds mango pulp to his milk-based desserts at the end. Otherwise the milk will curdle. You have to be careful while cooking with mangoes, he says. Chaudhary also agrees that one has to be extra cautious while using mangoes,but he says that the added trouble is well worth it. We wait the entire year for them. So when we finally get to taste them,it is all good, he says.