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Sunday, May 25, 2014

The color of the summer is mango

A lesson in how to handle a woobly-ooubly mango jelly

                                                                                     The summer evening transform her-self into a sky of mangoes-the spectacular shades of orange, yellow,  red, in the foreground the trees add the hues of green, all the play of colors you will find in a mango! That is the way I choose to see at times, so can you. Summers and mangoes are so close to each other that it will be fun to imagine that two of them worked with each other to build a bomb packed full of both of their flavors, when the sun shone bright and came close to this part of the earth the bomb exploded, the flavors, the heat, the mangoes covered great distances, fell here n there, reached corners of the earth and made the corners juicy n yummy.

                                                                                                                                          I am literally driving on mangoes these days-if I was a car my wheels will be mangoes. This year our good old mango tree being blessed by the sun, the rain, the wind, the earth burst into mangoes. 3 weeks back was when they started making sounds on the ground-the ripe mangoes hitting the ground covered with dry mango leaves and it’s a sound you get only accustomed with after the first couple of falls. When I first heard it I was unsure of the source, curiously I walked out to see if someone has been visiting the garden secretly, I looked around at eye-level, no one, then I started inspecting the garden floor and I found out who it was, a green mango with hues of orange on the top laying silently in the ground, then I found another. I knew it was time to get the mangoes out of the tree.

                                                               So there Is this special tool for that, in description it is long wooden branch of any tree, on the narrower side another tiny twig is fastened with ropes that almost creates the letter “X” in the top, sometimes beneath that a small light metal wire box or an inverted umbrella shaped cloth is added to collect the falling mango which has been detached from the tree by hatching the “X” with hand when the particular target mango is caught in one the narrower angles of the “X”. While many times there is no wire box under the “X”, so the mangoes come falling to the ground. It is a fun tiny adventure because sometimes the falling mangoes tend to love landing on our heads! Timing and observance thus saves our heads, it’s so much fun.

                                                                                                     You can imagine the charm of collecting mangoes. On the first day I counted, there were 55 of ripe mangoes and some more waiting in the tree. So I let them stay there. The smell that hit me whenever I go near them is summery-delicious. If I can say mangoes smell like summer, harsh summer only would sound so beautiful.  All I was thinking what will we do with all these mangoes, most will eaten just like that, we will share some with our neighbors, some will be used for making mango-lassi, some for mango-shake, some will be made into a jelly-which is what I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                 For a mango jelly it is a good idea to choose a variety of mango that is sweet n sour in taste, especially if we are eating that in summer, you know how refreshing the tang in summer can make us feel. However I made two kinds of jelly with 2 different variety of mango, one is “Gulabkhash” which is sweet n sour and has a beautiful flavor and another one is from our own mango tree “Himsagar” which is sweet and what a subtle beautiful flavor! So when finally the came out of the refrigeration and I have my chilled bite, it was so refreshing in that hot yellow day…it was like a chilled hug of a mango who loves you and whom you love.

Now I will tell you about the recipe.

For The Recipe:   you will need
2 medium ripe mangoes which are sweet n sour in taste
2 tbsp of gelatin powder
2-3 tbsp of sugar
Half a lime
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp of lightly roasted fennel/mouri/saunf powder (optional)

1.       Soak the gelatin in cold water for 20 minutes, you will see it will begin to fluff a bit n get think.

2.       De-skin the mango with a knife, then chop the mango flesh in chunks, put them in a blender and whiz them until smooth. Pour it in a container then add the sugar, stir to dissolve, add freshly ground black pepper, fennel powder, a pinch of salt and the lime juice. Taste and if you think you need more sweetness add more sugar, for more sourness add a bit of lime or more mangoes.

3.       Now put this in a saucepan and add the gelatin mixture, heat this gently, don't let it come to a boil anyway, stir so that the gelatin is completely dissolved. Now off the heat and cool this mixture.

4.        Place small dices of mango in the bottom of small glass or metal containers, I added  a little strawberry crush in some of them, then pour the mixture gently into the glass or metal containers and put them in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight and they will set.

5.       When they have set and you are ready to eat, take them out of the refrigerator, rub your hands and warm the container by the warmth of your hands and shake gently on a plate until the jelly comes out.  Beautiful! Now dig in. Bon appétit. J

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