A taste of the tropics: Skye Gyngell celebrates the mango season

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The arrival of exotic, sweet Alphonso mangoes from India heralds the start of our summer. Skye Gyngell whizzes up salsas, sorbets and lassis

At this time of year, when local fresh fruit is thin on the ground, the arrival of Alphonso mangoes from India gives our desserts at the restaurant a tropical, exotic note, and a promise of the warmth to come.

Some people say that they don't like mangoes – but surely that must be because they have never really had a good one. Inexpensive and abundant throughout the summer months, mango is one of the tastes of my childhood.

I must have eaten thousands; we would have them as a simple dessert when we were children in Sydney, as well as for breakfast and sometimes as an afternoon snack too. Meltingly sweet, soft and exotically perfumed, with just a hint of limey sharpness at the end, they have a unique flavour.

Alphonso mangoes are some of the best, and are available for six weeks or so from mid-April to the end of May. They can usually be found in greengrocers and Middle Eastern food specialists. When ripe, they should be eaten as they come – a perfect end to any meal.

Or, if you're including them in a recipe, as here, try to keep it as simple as possible to showcase their beauty and fragrant sweetness.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627

Mango salsa

Simple and breathtakingly fresh, this is a good sauce to serve with fish, especially firm-fleshed white fish or tuna. At home we have made a version of this salsa for years – in Sydney we eat it on Christmas Day with cold glazed ham. It's best eaten as soon after you've made it as possible.

Serves 4, generously

2 ripe mangoes
1 red onion
1 small bunch of coriander, leaves only
1 small bunch of mint, leaves only
1/4-inch of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
1tsp brown sugar
The juice of one lime
1 medium red pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped

Peel and dice the mangoes and onion fairly finely, and place in a bowl. Add the chopped pepper. Chop the coriander and mint leaves and add along with the ginger and brown sugar. Squeeze over the lime juice and stir well to combine.

Mango jam

This jam is sweet; it reminds me of the tropics. It doesn't taste of any jam eaten here – one mouthful transports you to warmth and heat, breakfast somewhere by the beach. Delicious on home-made coconut bread, warm from the oven, or if that isn't possible, it would be just as good with a crunchy and textured white bread.

Makes four small jars

1kg/2lb ripe mangoes
250g/8oz caster sugar
1tbsp lemon juice
4 small, sterilised jars

Peel and chop the mangoes, then stir with the sugar in a large heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan. Let the mixture stand for at least 30 minutes or overnight, so that the mangoes release their juices and the sugar dissolves.

Then bring the saucepan of fruit to a vigorous boil over a high heat, stirring every now and then to make sure the fruit doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. The mixture will bubble up dramatically, rising high up the sides of the pot. Skim off any light-coloured foam that rises to the surface. The jam will soon boil down, beginning to form smaller, thicker bubbles. When this happens, begin to test the jam by putting a teaspoonful of the hot mixture on to a plate. This will serve to cool off the jam quickly so you can tell what the final texture will be like.

When the jam has cooked to the consistency that you like, stir in the lemon juice. Turn off the heat and carefully ladle the jam into the sterilised jars – this quantity should make approximately four – screw the tops on tight and leave to cool. When the jam is cool, store in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator.

The jam should last for up to a year if properly sealed.

Mango, rose-water and lime sorbet

Serves 6

4 ripe mangoes
120g/4oz caster sugar
240ml/8fl oz water
The juice of 11/2 limes
11/2 tbsp rose-water
40ml/2fl oz double cream
A small pinch of salt

To make the sorbet, peel the mango and slice the flesh off the stone. Purée in a food processor. Place the sugar and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat for five minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the puréed mango into a bowl and add the lime juice, rose-water and cooled sugar syrup. Stir well to combine then add the cream and pinch of salt. Stir well and taste. It should be slightly sweeter than you would like, as once frozen it will taste less sweet. Place in an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions or put into a plastic container, freeze and stir at 20-minute intervals until it solidifies.

Mango lassi

Makes 4 small glasses

1 ripe mango
120ml/4fl oz of plain yoghurt
1tbsp light honey, perhaps acacia
100ml/31/2fl oz water

Peel and chop the mango and place in a food processor, along with the yoghurt and honey. Purée until smooth and add the water, to thin the purée slightly. Place into glasses – ideally ones filled with crushed ice – and drink straight away.

The Forager by Wendy Fogarty

Petersham's food sourcer on where to find the freshest mangoes...

The mango is native to southern India, but is also cultivated in south-east Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean, South and central Africa, Australia and Florida

Best stockists: Fresh mangoes (as well as dried and tinned pulp) are best bought from Asian food stores. (The long-shelflife Tommy Atkins mangoes are the variety stocked by most supermarkets.)

Storage tips: The flavour of a mango transported halfway around the world can not compare with one eaten in its country of origin. However, to improve the flavour, leave them wrapped in newspaper in a basket to ripen in a warm, dry place. (They can be stored in the fridge to elongate their life but always remove and return to room temperature before eating to avoid flavour loss.)

Further reading: Latin & Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified by Linda Bladholm (Renaissance Books, 2001).

Tradewinds & Coconuts – A Reminiscence & Recipes from the Pacific Islands by Jennifer Brennan (Periplus, 2000)

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
The truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own