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History of the Mango in Indian Cuisine
This month we’re writing about the mango and how it is one of many important ingredients in Indian cooking.
First we’d like to give a little description of the fruit and how it has appeared in myth throughout the ages. The mango has some importance for both Hindus and Buddhists and legend has it that the God of creation Prajapathi transformed themselves into a mango tree. Elsewhere, the daughter of Surya, the sun god, was said to emerge from a mango. The mango tree was said to have special significance in the life of the Buddha who spent much time resting in a mango grove.
But how is the fruit used? Obviously it is eaten as it comes but is also prepared in a number of ways. Some species of mango are more suitable for juicing; the liquid can be drunk even made into mango wine. A popular dessert is to boil, strain and sugar the fruit to make mango-fool.
It is also used for the preparation of meat which can be prepared by cooking or boiling it with mango slices and spices. The seeds and whole pieces of mango can appear in sweet curry dishes, especially in Kerala where this treatment is popular.
This is to say nothing of its more unusual preparations. Green mangos can be ground into chutney, it can be pickled or cooked in curd to create a relish. Mangos can also be made into sheets of dried fruit called aam papad and this is done by juicing the fruit and drying it on plastic or bamboo mats.
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