If fruits could start a mutiny, they would definitely wage one against the mango. After all, during the season it has a habit of manipulating the market, shoving the other goodies into the background while it smugly parks itself on almost every thela in a wide, assorted range that few can resist.

Not that one can blame the poor (or should I say, rich) fruit. With its sweet, pulpy, juicy nature it has a habit of winning the human heart — read stomach — with just one bite. And since it knows fully well that variety is the spice of life and survival, it presents itself in a staggering array of tastes, sizes and even shapes. There’s the ever-favourite chaunsa and desehri, which are the first to hit the market and eaten by the dozen, not to forget the good-old reliable sindhri and langra; the latter’s green coat belying the orange manna that it guards.

And then, the darling of mango-dom, the scrumptious anwar ratol, which is a perfect example of the fact that size does not matter. Inside its smooth, silky covering lies a taste that few, once tried, would forget. The list goes on, but well, let’s not get started.

For many of us, one of the favourite summer memories would be stealing mangoes from the neighbour’s garden. How vividly we can recall the quiet, hot summer afternoons, when we would stealthily climbing over the wall — the line-of-control — into the land forbidden, armed with sticks (or iron rods in some cases) to pull down the manna from above, and quickly scampering back before the ‘uncle’ or maali baba could catch the culprits. And finally, sitting under the shade of the widely brimmed imli tree, sucking on the yummy booty.

For staunch mango maniacs there’s no such term as ‘eating’ a mango. They devour one, smack their lips, wipe their mouth and reach for another one. Of course, there will be the sophisticated lot who’ll wait until someone has peeled the fruit, cut it into cubes and stuck a fork into it and then take tiny bites. For others, the real fun lies in sucking at the fruit while the thick juice runs down to the elbows. Barbaric, some would call it, but what the heck; it only lasts for a quarter of a year.

Another interesting way to enjoy a mango is to cut a thick slice and divide it into cubes in such a way that the pulp doesn’t leave the peel.

Turn it inside out, and lo behold, it takes the shape of a flower. With such a presentation, it’s no wonder there’s rarely any fruit left on the plate. There’s a reason why it lives up to its title, the king of fruits.

Besides enjoying it in its natural form, mango lovers have found delightfully tempting ways in which to use the fruit. There are the regular custards, shakes and ice creams; exotic cuisines like mango chicken (chicken!) salad and the usual dips and chutneys, but for someone like yours truly, eating a mango in any other way than natural is nothing short of desecration. Fortunately, the internet is replete with recipes that include mangoes, and so I dug out one that looks interesting and would probably appeal to most mango lovers.

Mango pudding

Ingredients Mango pulp: 2 cups Whipping cream: 500ml Sugar: ¾ cup Gelatine: 3 packets Water: 1 cup Mango cut into cubes: 1

Method

Mix gelatine and sugar in one cup hot water and let it cool for 10 minutes. Add mango pulp and mix well. Next, add whipping cream and again mix thoroughly. Then into it go the mango cubes for the texture. Pour the mixture into a big glass dish or individual serving bowls and refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. Serve as it is or with whipped cream topping.

If you put the same mixture in the freezer, you will get an instant version of mango ice cream!

Happy eating… I mean, devouring.


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