Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In Season: Mangos!

It's mango season time, and the yellow, kidney-shaped Ataulfo mango has been driving me mad for mangos lately. To me, they are the perfect match of texture and taste. The other common red and oval Tommy Atkin mango gets my thumbs down for its overly fibrous texture, although those go well with chili and salt. In celebration of the times, I've been making mango pudding, mango salsa, mango puree for mango lassi, and just eating them right off the seed. 

Since most of my mango experiences in the US were from mangos grown in Mexico, I always thought they were indigenous to here. However, on one of my first trips to Mexico (to, of course, Cancun), I met a tour guide who told me that mangos originated from Asia. Upon looking into this further, he was right. Mangos originated from India and Southeast Asia, made their way to other well-known mango producing countries like the Philippines, then to East Africa, and were eventually introduced into the Americas. There are at least 3-4 varieties available right now in Mexico, and I even saw "Manila Mangos" at the tianguis yesterday, though they were shriveled and more expensive. 

Of the hundreds of varieties available worldwide, my husband's family has a proud heritage of growing up in a region of India in Maharashtra State famous for their mangos. Ratnigiri produces a variety called the Alphonso mango and is considered the king of mangos. Unless you're from India, you've probably never had an Alphonso mango because the US banned mangos from India until 2007. It was big news among my family when the ban was lifted and they could once again enjoy their beloved Alphonso mango. If you're in the US and would like to try one, check out the Asian grocery stores, as I haven't seen them yet in mainstream grocers. 

Processing Alphonso mangos in Ratnigiri

Mango Lassi (Courtesy of  Sifu Renka on Flickr)

Ataulfo mangos at the Tianguis  (Courtesy of Rageforst on Flickr)

Delicious mango pudding at Dim Sum (Courtesy of newwavegurly on Flickr)

Mango Salsa (Courtesy of Amy Groark on Flickr)


  1. Did I tell you how jealous I am? I think I can only find REALLY good sweet and fresh mango one or two weeks out of the year in the grocery stores here. Usually the skin shriveled and the insides are mushy in the grocery stores. My mom usually finds good ones in the Asian store, but I don't go there as often anymore.

  2. I haven't been to the market lately to see about the mangoes, but I do think the season is a bit longer than one or two weeks--I hope!