Slurp up some of these homemade mango dishes from Goa

The Goan love for mangoes is clearly displayed in the yum preparations made from the seasonal delight
SEASONAL DELIGHT: Goans prepare  several dishes from the summer fruit, mango.
SEASONAL DELIGHT: Goans prepare several dishes from the summer fruit, mango. Gomantak Times

With all the waiting over, it’s finally that time of the year, when Goan markets turn yellow and the smell of mangoes wafts through the air, tempting everyone from a mile away.

It’s that familiar scent that swiftly takes you right back to those childhood summers when mangoes took over a room, solely dedicated to lay these seasonal fruits in rows and under hay to ripen. 

MAKE WAY FOR THE KING: Goan markets stocked with mangoes, the king of fruits.
MAKE WAY FOR THE KING: Goan markets stocked with mangoes, the king of fruits. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Hidden under the straw, it was a hunt to scour through the stack and find the ones that had, as though by magic, turned yellow. Relished for breakfast, lunch and even dinner, there wasn’t anything like ‘that’s too many mangoes’ as these were consumed in varied preparations.

Clecy Fernandes reminisces such summers, that have always been synonymous with the sweet fragrance of mangoes wafting through her house.

SEASONAL DELIGHT: Goans prepare  several dishes from the summer fruit, mango.
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Hailing from Panjim, since her mango tree blooms every alternate year, mangoes are a special affair.

“Summers have always been spent plucking over a thousand Mankurad mangoes, meticulously storing them and checking them every day to separate the ones gone bad,” she says, adding that as much as she loves a chilled mango milkshake, or mango cakes and puddings, her favourite has to be the mangaad.

Made from a mango variety, Monserrate (Musarad), the Goan mangaad is a sweet and delicious mango jam that’s prepared in almost every Goan home during the summer months.

Made from a mango variety, Monserrate (Musarad), the Goan mangaad is a sweet and delicious mango jam that’s prepared in almost every Goan home during the summer months.

“My mai (grandmother) made it when we were young, and as my siblings and I grew older, we began participating in the vicious battle of making the mangaad,” she adds.

EVERY BITE IS HEAVEN: Goan 'mangaad' is a sweet and delicious mango jam.
EVERY BITE IS HEAVEN: Goan 'mangaad' is a sweet and delicious mango jam. Photo: Clecy Fernandes

They all took turns, continuously stirring the large kail (vessel) for hours, simultaneously dodging the onslaught of the sputtering hot mango pulp escaping from the vessel and trying to save their skin.

Once ready, while storing the jam, she reminisces how they’d often end up comparing their blisters (battle wounds).

SEASONAL DELIGHT: Goans prepare  several dishes from the summer fruit, mango.
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But, like it’s said nothing comes easy, and spreading that brownish golden mangaad on the Goan bread or adding it to that dessert, is definitely worth the trouble.

“The best thing about mangaad is that even whilst I'm dressed in a sweater, a spoonful of this jam could take me back in time, in the arms of a golden summer!” she smiles.

MORE MANGO PREPARATIONS: Mango sola (L), water pickle with raw mangoes (R).
MORE MANGO PREPARATIONS: Mango sola (L), water pickle with raw mangoes (R).Photo: Lou Renita Barneto

Apart from the flavourful jam, mangoes are pickled and relished with hot rice during the rainy days that follow the summer.

From mango solam that are used for Goan curries, amchur powder used as spice, sweet-spicy mango chutney, water pickle with raw mangoes (stored in glass jars in brine), to the mouth-watering masala pickles, mangoes are integral to Goan households.

SEASONAL DELIGHT: Goans prepare  several dishes from the summer fruit, mango.
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And Lou Renita Barneto from Loutolim loves making most of these at home.

“I learnt quite a bit of my cooking simply watching my mother-in-law, Franie Barneto, cook,” she says, adding that she now uses the ghontam (sucking mangos) to prepare the stuffed mango pickle she noticed her mother-in-law making.

SPICE IS NICE: Raw mango chutney (L), mango pickle (R).
SPICE IS NICE: Raw mango chutney (L), mango pickle (R).Photo: Lou Renita Barneto

Borlolem thoram or stuffed mango pickle are usually made from mangoes that are plucked directly from the tree. Local rock salt is usually used for layering these, which are kept under a weight for a couple of days, occasionally changing the position of the mangoes.

“Each mango is then removed, and an insertion, a small cross, is made to remove the seed. Thereafter the masala (made of red chilli powder, hing, haldi powder, jeera, mustard and meethi seeds) is stuffed into the insertion,” informs Lou, who places these in a barni in oil that prevents it from growing fungus.

SEASONAL DELIGHT: Goans prepare  several dishes from the summer fruit, mango.
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Another mango preparation made from half ripe, half raw mangoes is chunda, that’s sweet-sour spicy and eaten with rice or chapatti.

“I scrape the mangoes, salt them, and cook with jaggery, chilli powder, haldi, two cloves and cinnamon on a slow fire,” says Lou who won accolades for her mango delights at the recent Konkan Fest.

While mango season is eagerly anticipated, a reminder of home, Goans carry their love for mangoes with them everywhere they go, and continue to relish flavourful recipes passed down through generations.

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