It’s peak of summer and the season of Mangoes. Here is a Mango Salad recipe that will make perfect use of those delightful things. Once you make this I promise you will keep some from your loot every time you buy them! Bursting with flavours of Fennel and grilled brussels sprouts, this is a perfect Summer Salad! And oh the post also has a tale of how a mango hater me got converted to a mango lover !
Mango Salad is one of my favourite ways to eat mangoes (apart from just eating it as it of course). I love the little sweetness that it brings to the salad and I am always keeping a mango or two aside for putting in a salad each time I get a mango delivery. Which is pretty much everyday since all of us at home LOVE mangoes.
But have I told you this wasn’t always the case? While growing up I pretty much hated mangoes. Yes you heard it! I would eat a slice or two of mangoes once in the whole mango season. I never really understood what was the fuss around mangoes. Dad was an ardent mango lover, a mango fan. In peak season he would eat as much as 4 mangoes somedays and he tried his best to convert me. With buying different varieties of mangoes, urging me to taste them, hoping I would change my mind with atleast something. But no my answer remained the same – I don’t like mangoes.
And every time I would tell this to someone, I would get shocked looks and confusion questions.
“Come one how can you not like mangoes”
“Oh, you don’t eat them at all? Because of pimples?”
“Arey they are really not fattening. Stop saying you don’t like them. Just eat them”
“But have you tried XXX variety. I bet you will like start loving mangoes after that”
These were only some of the questions I used to face when I talk about not liking mangoes. I spent all my childhood and a better part of my adult life responding to these questions. Sometimes, trying to convince people and sometimes just smiling and trying to ignore it all. Sometimes I even pretended to like Mangoes so that I don’t have to face a string of interrogative questions.
And then I got pregnant and some thing crazy happened to my body, apart from carrying a baby of course. I was craving MANGOES ! Everyone around me was shocked and the questions now changed to..
“You are having a mango?”
“Hey, how come you are eating a mango?”
“Oh, when did this happen. How come you are eating mangoes”
“Arey wah, shaadi ke baad you changed and eating mangoes. Naren likes them kya”
Yeah right, questions if you eat mangoes and questions if you don’t 😉
Wondering how that change happened. Let me tell you a little story. My husband’s grandmother owns a mango garden and every summer there are almost ripe but not yet ready to eat mangoes come home. Then they are laid out in the corner of the room over a layer of hay, covered with another layer of hay. And slowly over days the mangoes would start ripening. Every time one would enter the room, one would be engulfed in the heady aroma of almost ripe mangoes. The first couple of years, it was there I was happy to just soak in the aroma, relishing the sweet smell and still not wanting to eat. Everyone at home was still surprised that how could I resist that smell. But then one afternoon when I was in 4th month of my pregnancy and was coming back from my doctor’s appointment that aroma called to me like never before. All I wanted to do is run to the mangoes and bite into them.
I still have vivid memories of sorting through that pile to find that one mango which is ripe enough to eat. And I still remember the look on my husband’s face, the shock as if he couldn’t believe that it was really happening. For the first time in my 31 years of life, I cut and ate a whole mango by myself. And I relished every bite of it and at the end of that mango I wanted more !
And that was the start of my love affair with mangoes. Through pregnancy I almost ate them with every meal. I ate them whole, sucking into them after loosening them just like my dad used to. I ate them by chopping them in the way my grandpa used to leaving nothing on the seed. I drank them by putting them in milk and making mango shakes of my childhood. I ate them with ice cream and I made jam out of it. You get the picture, I got obsessed with them, it was the shortest journey from hate to love.
But people told me that this will go away after I delivered, that I would get back to not liking them. I wondered if that would be the case but then no one knows what the future holds. And bingo next summer I was eating them again. Strangely, I remember doing a jig. Being happy that the change and the journey is permanent. And that is when the love really begin.
I started experimented with mango, cooking with it, baking with it. And turns out one of my favourite ways to experiment with mangoes is to put them in salads. That way they still hold the texture and sweetness and yet blend so well with other flavours. The spice from the chilli, the flavour punch from herbs like basil and fennel, the crunch of fresh vegetables. Things like this make the mango even better. They really do mango shine. I make many mangoes salads and this probably is the first one in the series I will be posting. Mango Salad is all kind of dreams come true!
The grilled brussels sprouts and fennel paired with sweet mango, a little thai chilly and a handful of bocconcini. This salad is just perfect in every way that it can be.