This is a recipe from the Spring … I realized I had not blogged and found in my to be posted files….
This is a Mango – Mango Mango they chanted in unison – And after the first bite, they proclaim, “Sheer nectar from the heavens” – Yeah baby! How many of you are fans for Karadi Tales – My little one cannot get enough of them! And Ushu Utup at her best crooning the Mango ripe mangoes song Like Karadi, this post takes me back to the days of my childhood and the huge Surprise Mango Tree –Much like Meera the monkey, my little one is eager to listen to all my stories. Read along and feel free to click your tongues to three beats after each paragraph!
THE MANGOLESS MANGO TREE
Once upon a time, there lived a young officer and his wife with their children in a small but lovely home in a little town in Southern India. Their house was one among 60 or 70 others in the area which they called a “colony”. It was distinguished by a tall mango tree, which spread its branches over the street, offering shade to all passersby. Just about every hawker, be it the vegetable vendor or the balloon seller and every street dog, cat or cow parked themselves under its shady branches for their midday siesta. The officer, although kind-hearted was irritated by the crowds that always gathered under the tree because it took several honks to wake them up since it was right at the edge of his garage. The other reason was since it had been planted the tree had grown and grown but had not had a single fruit to show. Each year the mango tree would put out a few flowers and the officer and his wife would be hopeful only to be disappointed.
One afternoon, after having to honk loudly to wake up a fruit vendor and several street dogs, the officer was angry as he walked into the house.
“I am going to chop that tree down” he declared.
“It bears no fruit and its shade attracts every passerby and I have to deal with them every time I need to park my car!”
His lovely wife knew that her husband was talking in momentary anger.
“Sit down and eat your lunch, dear. We can talk about the tree later.”
Sure enough, the officer was much happier after a fabulous meal.
“You will do no such thing,” said the wife firmly as she put away the dishes.
The officer knew what she was talking about.
“Don’t count on it. One of these days, I just may”
“I have an idea if you will listen” said the wife
“Is it possible to treat the tree with some fertilizer? I cannot believe that this tree will not bear fruit”
“I could talk to the horticulture department and see if they have any solutions” conceded the officer.
By the end of the week, the officer had arranged for a person from the horticulture department to come by and check on the tree.
“This is a rather common issue,” the man said. “I will treat it with a shot in the trunk and we’ll see. If need be, we may have to do this a couple of times.”
The children, the officer and his wife watched as the man pulled out a long syringe and filled it up with a solution which he then drove right into the tree’s trunk.
Months passed by. The officer and his wife kept checking on the tree but nothing had changed. The wife was anxious that her husband would carry out his often- repeated threat of cutting the tree down, especially since it was still the stop for all passersby. But life was busy with the children’s year-end activities and the tree was forgotten for a while.
One April morning, the wife, woke up her husband screaming excitedly. “Look up at our mango tree, dear.”
The man quickly got up to see and a large grin appeared on his face. The entire tree was covered with little off-white blossoms. They were once again hopeful.
The wife said a prayer and the children who were now on summer vacation kept a close vigil on the tree.
“Ma, there are little fruits on the tree,” Their daughter came in squealing with delight.
The wait for the mango was now getting unbearable. They had to watch the tree since there were many passersby who tried to get at the fruits with stones and sticks.
The officer put up a small sign against the tree. No loitering under this tree. It was effective to keep the humans away, but the animals paid no heed. But they were not the mischief-makers.
The fruits grew bigger and bigger, but were still green on the outside. The entire neighborhood could smell the sweet, intoxicating aroma of the growing mangoes.
The officer and his wife, like two expectant parents, played a guessing game. Were these Banganapallis? Sindhuras? Killimookus? malgoas?
One day, when they could wait no more and they thought the fruit was ready to be picked, the officer brought out a long pole on the top of which was a curved hook knife. He reached up and yanked the biggest mango. The children dove down to catch it. The wife washed it rather ceremoniously and brought it out to the table to cut. Every mouth in the room salivated.
The officer ripped the flesh of the mango wedge with his teeth. What seemed like the longest silence ensued.
The first cut revealed a bright orange yellow fruit – Mouths were watering even more. The wife cut the fruit into several long wedges. The children waited for their parents to taste the mango first.
“Malgoa,” he said in a hushed voice, the juices of the mango still tickling his throat. “The most exquisite malgoa” he repeated with uncontrollable emotion.
The wife tasted it too and had a similar reaction. “Well, aren’t you glad you did not cut it down, dear?” she joked. This sweet baby of ours has produced the king of kings”
By now the children had attacked their wedges, licking off the juice that was trickling down their elbows.
One of them asked, “why do you say king of kings, ma?”
“Mango is considered the king of all fruits, dearest one. And Malgoa is the sweetest of them all and is called the king of mangos. So they are truly the king of kings amongst fruits” she finished.
That summer and many summers to follow, the wife was busy making mango chutney, pickles, pedas, ice-creams, lassi, milkshakes and several other fantastic mango preparations. She still had plenty to give away to all their neighbors and even their relatives who
lived in other towns received cartons of mangoes. Their fruitless tree was now the most fertile, fruitful tree ever.
Share with you children if you like- they may just enjoy this
There my friends is a true story of my mango tree in my home in Pondicherry.
And then I come to live my adult life in a country where mangoes are imported! But it is Spring here as well and the markets are flooded with “altoufa” or champagne mangoes from Mexico. Sam’s of course carries the same mangoes that Whole Foods does, except for half the price! So I bring a crate home and decide to make the most celebrated Indian drink in the Indian restaurants in the west – The MANGO lassi –
Take a sip with me and get in that blissful state that this magnificent fruit can transport you to.
Ripe Mangoes peeled and deseededyogurt (dannon plain) 1 tub1/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)Rose essence (optional)
Blend into smooth fluidChill and drink