Mom’s house has this huge mango tree. It’s not ours. It belongs to the next compound, but every single leaf and mango grow into our side. Those poor dudes watered the tree and looked after it, but we reap all the benefits.
As kids, we would make this huge stick, one tied to the other to make it as long as possible. On the edge, a blade was jammed in and using a sawing motion many a raw mangoes have been cut and taken down. Of course, we had to do it as unobtrusively and slyly as possible. But even then the gardener would hear his beloved tree rustle and run after us with a stick. He was not allowed to cross over to our side, so obviously we dangled our stolen goods under his nose and felt thoroughly pleased with ourselves. This was summer holiday time and a very seriously planned agenda in our schedules.
We would then proceed to cut open the raw mango (we never washed it!) and spread salt and chilly and lick it for hours. Then spread some more salt and chilly and bite into the tart fruit. Our palate would go pop, and eyes would tingle, but the taste is embedded somewhere deep in my soul. Now when I eat a raw mango, I am transported back to that spot under the tree, where I either helped to hold that huge stick and saw off the mango bunches, or I stood under the falling mango, to try and grab it so that it did fall and get damaged.
As I grew up, the love for raw mango became a love for mangoes. I still love raw mangoes, but I cannot go at it with wild abandon like I used to.
I saw my friend Rekha, (the one who has to lead me to this wonderful thing called food!) make a mango salsa. She whips up the most delicious of dishes, with the most absurd of combinations. When I first saw her make the mango salsa, I was stunned. I mean, she was adding olive oil and herbs and spices to a fruit. A fruit which is so revered in India, for its taste and limited availability? Weren’t fruits supposed to be eaten as is???
Very reluctantly I tasted the mango salsa and immediately landed myself under the tree, where we caught falling mangoes. I tweaked the recipe, but I cannot call it mine. It still belongs to Rekha – my mentor.
The sweet and mildly sour, and extremely wholesome flavour of the fruit will pop open your eyes. You might then pick up the spoon and wolf it down! That’s what my friend does, whenever I make it.
Serve it with nachos, or chips.
Its not an Indian recipe.The closest is Mexican Fusion.
I love it with my all time favourite – Whisky.