In 1965 or 1966, while living in Bahrain, I had my first mango at a royal feast. What a taste of Heaven, I thought, a palate-pleasing blend of sweet and tart that reminded me of the feeling on my tongue of raspberries, which I was missing very much. I decided then and there that if I was ever rich, I would have a mango every day.
It turns out that mangos are not a luxury item in the Pacific Northwest, a discovery made many years ago. They are imported from places south and east, are plentiful and inexpensive in the summer and early fall, and once a year I take advantage of that fact to make a large batch of Mango Ginger Chutney, my own spicy, hot version. I use a mixture of greenish, ripened and dried mangos.
This year I found some dried Chili Mango slices at JD’s Market in Lynnwood, my favorite local ethnic grocery store. The name alone can be a vocal dance with the Spanish accent on the word “chili” drawn out just to hear the pure sound. Say it, twice. Chili Mango. Chili Mango. Sway a little to each side while you’re reading this and say it again. Chili Mango. Chili Mango. See? A chair dance inspired by food.
It takes about half a day to do all the preparations, cooking, bottling and labeling, which is why it’s only an annual event. It can last for a year in the refrigerator, too, since it is, at heart, pickled mango. Whether a jar of it will last for a year in the fridge is a different matter entirely.
BTW, one of the reasons I use some dried mangos in this chutney is for the large chunks which pickle beautifully and can then be julienned. Spicy mango pickle.
Recipe will be up shortly for those of you who want to make a gallon of it, too. I halved the recipe for my mother once since she didn’t want to make a whole gallon, but, with the exception of peeling and slicing a few more mangos and sterilizing a couple more jars, it still takes a good part of the day to produce the finished chutney.
My family became fond of Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian and other cuisines while living abroad and appreciate the goodness of a jar of this great chutney as a condiment for curries, biriyanis and so forth, and even for Scottish kedgeree or scrambled eggs with lots of fresh coriander stirred in just until it wilts. A cousin heaped it on a bun with his barbequed burger and declared it the best ever. It also pairs well with some Mexican dishes as well as with sliced chicken and a teeny bit of mayo on some artisan bread, a sandwich my sister favors.
Oh yes. I have a mango any day I want one and they’re in season somewhere and imported to this area of the world.
juliyya’s Mango – Ginger Chutney
10 c. mangos, peeled, sliced
1/2 c. fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or, in emergency, use it from a jar, ready to go)
1 big onion, chopped
4-6 big cloves fresh garlic, chopped (don’t use the kind in a jar)
6-8 serrano peppers, mostly seeded, chopped (More, less. Up to you. This is 3 star hot.)
1 apple, peeled and grated (but not the middle tough bits, and not the seeds)
1 lemon, the zest and juice
1/2 c. lemonade concentrate (Yes, you read that right.)
1 quart cider vinegar
3 c. brown sugar
Spice mix: 1 1/2 t. ground cloves, 2 t. cinnamon, 2 t. nutmeg
SALT approx. 1-2 teaspoons, depending on taste, AFTER IT IS DONE SIMMERING
- Do all the peeling, chopping and grating.
- Measure the spices into a small dish so they’re ready to go.
- Pour the bottle of vinegar and brown sugar into an 8 quart pot and heat it until the sugar melts.
- Add spices, lemon mix, chopped onions, garlic, ginger and peppers. Bring to boil
- Add sliced mangos and grated apple.
- Bring to boil, then simmer for approximately 2 1/2 hours until it’s jam consistency, stirring very often. I set the timer for 5 minute intervals and get plenty of exercise over the course of this process. It will thicken more upon standing. ADD SALT AT THE END OF COOKING.
- During the last half hour of simmer time, boil water in another big pot and sterilize the jars and lids. Ladle the very hot chutney into the very hot jars. Wipe the rims of the jars and put on the lids. If using canning lids, screw the ring on loosely until the lid seals and the chutney has cooled.
THIS BATCH MADE MORE THAN A GALLON, maybe three cups more. See the jar in the back? That’s a quart, as are the two pickle jars. Then there’s a pint jar, two half-pint jars, a former spice jar and the baby jar which previously held the emergency ginger. Lots of chutney. Must have enough to last a year.