Make Way For The King!
Each one of us has a favourite food that, when we lay our eyes upon it, sets off a chain of reminiscences, mostly from our growing up years. But if there is one common food that would drown most of us in a sea of nostalgia it would undoubtedly be the king of fruits – the resplendent Mango! And which would be the most evocative of the almost 1500 varieties of mangoes available in India? It would indeed be the king of kings, the Emperor itself – the Alphonso!
Do not believe me? Just hold a ripe, bright golden yellow Alphonso mango in the palm of your hand and I dare you to hide the gentle smile that begins to spread across your face as the delightful heady aroma hits you, pushing back the years to your childhood when you waited all year long for summer season and the arrival of the mango. Come May and one fine day an emissary from the native place would arrive lugging along a couple of wooden crates, blades of hay sticking out awkwardly through the gaps; and neatly nested within the hay would be layer upon layer of green unripe mangoes. Grandpa would then spread a few old newspapers under his bed, followed by a layer of the hay from the crate, on top of which would be gently laid out the unripe mangoes like precious gem stones placed on a velvet bed. A layer of hay then right on top to hide the jewels, and the waiting game would begin.
Every morning we would enter grandpa’s room, sniffing the air in anticipation, searching for that familiar aroma of a ripened mango. As summer progressed and so also the ripening process, the heavenly fragrance of mangoes would pervade the entire house. The mid-morning Bournvita became passé as it was replaced by a delightful mango milkshake, the homemade plain Vanilla Ice-cream lost out to mango (and with luscious pieces in it!), the Lassi summer cooler got ‘mangofied’, and Sundays became much more meaningful, what with Aamras Puri taking the honours at lunch.
One dish in particular though which got divinely transformed was the ubiquitous Shrikhand – a liberal dose of mango puree and it was metamorphosed into a delightfully delicious Mango Shrikhand! Moving with the times, now that the wooden mango crates have been replaced by locally marketed, impressive looking, colourful cardboard cartons bearing ready to eat, ripe fruit, and modern age mango desserts like the mango panna cotta, mousse pies, cheesecakes and brûlées ruling the mango season, the time is ripe for traditional recipes to receive a modern twist. And what better way to start than a Mango Shrikhand Tart, the recipe for which is presented here!
Mango Shrikhand Tart
yoghurt (chilled): 450 ml
milk: 1 tbsp
saffron: 0.5 g
Alphonso mangoes: 3 (peeled, chopped and pureed)
nutmeg powder: 1½ tsp
cardamom powder: 1½ tsp
Chopped mango pieces for garnish
Mini Tart Shells - 15nos.
For the Mango Shrikhand:
1) Place the yoghurt in a muslin cloth.
2) Tie the cloth to create a knot over the yoghurt and place in a colander over a bowl to allow the whey to drain.
3) Warm the milk and add saffron strands into it to release the colour and flavour.
4) Untie the muslin and scrape the hung curd into a bowl.
5) Gradually add the mango puree to the hung curd.
6) Add nutmeg powder, cardamom powder and milk with saffron.
7) Whisk till creamy.
8) Adjust mango puree and a little sugar if needed.
9) Pour the shrikhand into a piping bag and refrigerate it.
1)Pipe the mango shrikhand into each tart.
2)Sprinkle fresh mango pieces for garnish
Here’s wishing you all a Happy Summer filled with lots of Mango Delights!