Spring summer is my favourite season of the year. In childhood it signalled the start of the summer holidays, endless hours of Enid Blyton with my favourite music playing on the side with a bowl of mango pulp (sheekarni) next to me.
Now, as I take a walk in the evenings and see the tiny flowers blossoming in the park, my heart is filled with happiness. But, of all the treasures of the earth, the one closest to my heart which I never tire of writing about is the matchless supreme fruit, the mango! With the appearance of these seasonal green mangoes (itâ€™s a pity that raw mangoes are available through the year these days), I patiently await the appearance of the majestic manngo!
Raw mango means many delicacies in our household, the tambli (raw mango soup) being a top favourite. One of the other favourites in this category is this gojju, one of the first dishes I learned to make from my beloved ajji (grandmother).
One summer, as I relished a meal cooked by her and was particularly amazed with the taste of the raw mango gojju cooked by her, I went and sat besides her with a notebook in hand, the motive behind this being knowing the recipe to make this at my wish and will. The bonus of this recipe being that raw mangoes can easily be substituted with tamarind, to be enjoyed through the year.
Ajji was always amused when I sat with her with a book in my hand. These are just simple dishes and not that great that they have to be noted down, she said. Not paying heed to her I went on asking her to describe the exact procedure, step by step, not wanting to miss a single ingredient or course of action required to replicate a similar taste, the taste of my grandmotherâ€™s hands and ofcourse to preserve it for posterity. I still remember the thrill I experienced when I recreated the same taste sensation in her absence. From then on, every encounter with her meant talking and learning about food.
Mixed into hot rice with a dollop of ghee or coconut oil or eaten as a side with curd rice alongside a dry vegetable curry, gojju has always been comfort food for me. This tradition has lingered on and I love eating this condiment with white rice as well as brown rice.
The tangy and mildly hot flavours of this traditional chutney which is an intrinsic part of a south Indian brahmin meal, leaves an imprint on the tastebuds long after the meal is done and the memories come back asking for more.
Raw Mango Chutney (Mavinkai Gojju)
This appetizing chutney is sure to liven up any drab meal! When raw mangoes are not in season, you can still enjoy this gojju by using tamarind.
1/2 tsp oil
4 tsp bengal gram dal (channa dal)
2 tsp black gram dal (husked urad dal)
4 to 5 dry red chilies* (or red chili powder to taste)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1/4 tsp asafetida
1 cup fresh or frozen coconut
1 medium raw mango, peeled and cut without the seed
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 tsp asafetida powder
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1/2 tsp oil and put in the bengal gram and black gram dals. Roast over low flame for a couple of minutes and put in the dry red chilies. When the dals change colour and acquire a golden brown hue and just before they turn black, put in the fenugreek seeds and roast for about 30 seconds. Mix in the asafetida and coconut and continue to roast until the coconut is light brown in colour, about 3 to 4 minutes more.
Allow the coconut mixture to cool down and add the raw mango pieces to it. Put in the water and blend to a slightly coarse texture.
In a seasoning pot or pan, heat the oil and put in the mustard seeds. When they pop stir in the curry leaves and asafetida and when the curry leaves turn crisp, take off the heat.
Pour the seasoning over the blended coconut mixture and mix well with the salt.
Enjoy with hot rice!
* I use byadgi or bedgi chilies which give a nice colour and are not very spicy. Remember that the sourness of the raw mango balances the hotness of the chilies in this recipe.