Madhur Jaffrey, one of today's most highly regarded writers on Indian food, gives us an enchanting memoir of her childhood in Delhi in an age and a society that has since disappeared. Madhur Jaffrey's book book is called Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of Childhood in India.
Madhur, whose name means "sweet as honey," grew up in a large family compound. Her grandfather often presided over dinners at which forty or more members of his extended family would savor the wonderfully flavorful dishes that were forever imprinted on Madhur's palate.
Madhur Jaffrey draws on several food memories to tell her story: climbing mango trees in the orchard, armed with a mixture of salt, pepper, ground chilies and roasted cumin; picnicking in the Himalayan foothills on meatballs, stuffed with raisins and mint, and tucked into freshly fried pooris; sampling the heady flavors in the lunch boxes of Muslim friends; sneaking tastes of exotic street fare. But the sweetest ingredient of all comes at the end of the book, where Madhur shares more than thirty family recipes from her childhood.
(From Madhur Jaffrey's Flavours of India)
A delicious warming fruity curry - ideal for supper time.
Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour
3 medium ripe mangoes, peeled pit removed and flesh cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1-1 1/2 tsp salt
2 oz jaggery or brown sugar, if needed
11 oz coconut, freshly grated
3-4 fresh hot green chillies, coarsely chopped
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 pint natural yoghurt, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp coconut oil or any other vegetable oil
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
3-4 dried hot red chillies, broken into halves
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
10-12 fresh curry leaves, if available
1. Put the mangoes in a medium-sized pan. Add 9fl oz water. Cover and stew for 8-10 minutes over a medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. Add the turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir well. (If the mangoes are not sweet enough, add the jaggery or brown sugar to make the dish sweeter.)
2. Meanwhile, put the coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds in to a blender. Add 250ml/9fl oz water and blend to a fine paste.
3. When the mangoes are cooked, mash them to a pulp. Add the coconut paste. Mix. Cover and simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes thick. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Add the yoghurt and heat, stirring, until just warmed through. Do not let the mixture come to the boil. Remove from the heat and put to one side. Check for seasoning.
4. Heat the oil in a small pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop (a matter of a few seconds) add the chillies, fenugreek seeds and the curry leaves. Stir and fry for a few seconds until the chillies darken. Quickly add the contents of the small pan to the mangoes. Stir to mix.