So I am out of Gujarat..for six years now..well a little more than that…During winters, I seem to miss the undhiyu and ponk and Garbas while during summers I miss the mangoes.
There is something about the mangoes in Gujarat, somehow I am not able to feel in Bombay…which of course RD doesnt agree, he thinks mangoes in Bombay are the best 🙂 On Friday when I went to the market I saw the yellow fruits all over..it was as if a wave of yellow had replaced the greens in the market..every guy had Alphonos all over the place...
While Alphonos are considered the king of the king of fruits, I beg to differ. No, dont get me wrong, my Appa and I are the only ones in the whole world who would be thinking that the alphonos are over rated. Of course, that doesnt stop me from buying and eating them heheheeh 🙂
In Gujarat, the mango season meant a lot of work infact. Amma who has adopted a lot of Gujarati culture, would use every type of mango in the kitchen. As soon as her school closed the start of May, we could expect a mango mood everyday.
First, the Totapuris made their appearance. They are among the first mangoes Appa would buy. Now those of who know my Appa via the blog would realise that he cant buy vegetables and fruits in small quantities. So he will get huge amounts of totapuris and Amma would fume and they would have their usual love talk and then Appa would tell her ‘Kannamma I will cut for you na’ and he would set off to cut the totapuris. He would make thin slices and then cut the slices vertically in such a way that the slice wouldnt be cut completely but there would be small idendantions in it so that if you folded the slice it would resemble a flower and I would eat that with a bit of salt and chilly powder 🙂
Two things amma would make out of it.
1. Totapuri Peruku.
Recipe from my memory. and I am a horrible cook so please dont take it at face value. Google it 🙂
Small minutely Appa cut Totapuri
Take some coconut, green chilly and grind it.
Add this to the totapuri,some salt and put a tadka of kadipatta, mustard, oil and hing. Before serving add some curd to it. This tangy tasting stuff was a pretty much a favorite among our Gujarati friends.
2. Totapuri Achar
Again, recipe from my memory.
Small minutely Appa cut Totapuri.
Take til oil, mustard, hing. Put tadka in the totapuri and then add salt and red chilly powder. Mix well and eat with everything under the earth. Need to be kept in the fridge though after a couple of days.
Finally all the totapuris that Appa bought would end and Amma would heave a sigh of relief. Until….
….until Appa would make a trip AGAIN to the market to get the chotu chotu mangoes to make vadu mangai. Now Amma would just give up and say okay okay I will call your aunty and get the recipe. So then the small mangoes would be soaked in brine (Err..thats so chemical engineeringish!) and then after some days Amma would make the vadu mangai after the brine managed to shrivel the cover of the mangoes completely 🙂
Recipe – I dont recollect from memory but Appa’s chitti is an expert in that. If anyone wants the recipe I will ask my chitti (Appa’s chitti’s daughter in law)
And then as amma would threaten Appa that she would boycott the kitchen if there were any more mangoes to be done, our maid C ben would remind amma that its chundo time. Now chundo I must tell you is a Gujarati speciality and there are two varieties I am aware of. You would need the special Rajapuri mangoes which are these huge green mangoes used to make varieties of pickles like avakkai and stuff.
But, RMB and I were chundo freaks. Again, we both liked different varities and Amma would make both. Did I mention I was a difficult kid 😉
Another thing about the chundo was that my cousins in Calcutta LOVED it….so much that my brothers would eat them even with curd rice! and our going to Calcutta every year in the vacation meant that Amma needed to make a minimum of 10 kgs to last us for the whole year as well as last everyone in Calcutta for at least the end of summer. And we were 9 cousins put together in Calcutta, (My mom is the only sister to three brothers :))
So then of course, the starting of Chundo involved Amma and C ben sitting and grating the 10 kgs of Rajapuri mangoes. RMB and I would try and help but often, we would stop after 1 because its pretty difficult to do. The rajapuris were bought by Appa and C ben who would check if they were of right quality. The selection of the mangoes is important. It should neither be too pakka nor too kacha 🙂
Anyways, so after the grating the mango was divided into two
1. Yellow chundo. This would involve heating the grated mangoes, sugar, salt in the gas and the mixture would be yellow in colour. RMB being the nicer baby, would prefer eating that.
2. Red chundo. Now this is a bit complicated. First to take a grated mangoes and equal amount of sugar. and then add some salt to it. put this mixture in a wide mouthed vessel and tie the top of the vessel with a thin muslin cloth. Keep the vessel in the sun. EVery morning, RMB would take it up the terrace and in the evening bring it down. After about 10 days of sun, (you shouldnt add any water, the sugar will melt and make the mixture like a thick viscous fluid (Aiyo, why am I getting so chemical engineerish I have no clue!)) Amma would check the consistency. Then our neighbour aunty would come and buy the fresh jeera and roast it and grind it. Then she would buy the fresh Kashmiri mirchi powder. She would add both of that to the chundo and the yummy concotion would be ready. Appa would pack up for Calcutta and the rest we would store it through the year. I must admit the chundo made by my Amma, neighbour aunty, C ben and RMB is the best I have ever tasted till date 🙂
Then of course, it would be the time for Aamras by then. Appa and I both are of the opinion, that in ripe mangoes, the Junagadhi mangoes (ETA: These are known as Kesar infact, thanks Hitchy) taste the best. Whether eaten just like that or converted into aam ras. Once I grew a bit older, taking out ras was my job. Amma appa found it too cumbersome. So I would sit on the dinning table with the washed mangoes, a big bowl of water. Slowly slowly I would start pressing the mangoes and it would become really soft. then I would remove the head of the mango (the place where the mango is attached to the tree) and the ras would flow out. It would slowly seep out and then my patience would run out. So I would start fighting with the cover and then finally remove every inch of the cover and the pulp from the seed. Since my hands would be covered with the yellow coloured pulp I would lick them properly clean :), wash the hand in the bowl of water and then start out with the next. It used to take about an hour but I loved the combination of bhindi roast, pulkas with ghee and aam ras. Its still my favorite.
And then we would always have curd rice and totapuri pickle to finish off the meal.
Ah! I am missing Gujarat so much!!
Alphonos were bought once in a while because they were 10 times the cost of Junagadhis. We would end the season with the Langda variety.
All in all, our entire summer was filled with mangoes. Of loads of types, from raw to ripe, we would do it all.
I dont get time for all this now in Bombay but this sure triggered a long long post eh.
Inspired by the Tulika I-heart-mangoes-summer-Blogathon.