Aam Ras To Barfi: Check These Mango Delights In Indian Cuisine
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Make hay while the sun shines! All mango lovers truly abide by this expression, and every summer, when the mango season is at its peak, the quest to enjoy delicious mangoes in various forms and recipes is at its peak too. India is blessed to have thousands of different varieties of mangoes grown in its different regions. People of all ages love to eat mangoes, mostly chilling them and eating them diced, or in slices, or simply sucking out the pulp, devouring it with bare hands.

However, our culinary wisdom doesn't restrict us to eating mangoes simply as a fruit. We enjoy it in different desserts, beverages, condiments, and even savoury dishes like curries, dals, rice, snacks, and much more. The mango's versatility and distinct flavour profile make it an ideal ingredient to elevate any dish's taste and aroma.


Mango's natural sweetness enhances the flavours of sweet beverages such as lassi and milkshakes. In Varanasi, the holy city, locals and visitors alike savour the creamy delight of mango lassi, particularly during the summer season. Across North India, mango shake stalls pop up in various corners, while households indulge in mango shakes for breakfast or as a post-meal treat. Maharashtra and Gujarat offer a culinary delight known as "Aamras and Poori", a much-anticipated summer delicacy. Maharashtra, renowned for its superior Alphonso mangoes, prepares delightful sweet dishes like Mango Barfi, also known as Amba Barfi. Mango Mastani, a popular sweet beverage enriched with mangoes, ice cream, and nuts, is a perfect way to satisfy your sweet cravings and beat the summer heat. Aamrakhand, a mango-flavoured churned yoghurt, is a classic dessert enjoyed in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Furthermore, traditional sweets like Modak, Basundi, Pedas, Kheer, and Sheera receive a delightful makeover with fresh, in-season mangoes.

Who better than Bengalis to make the best use of sweet ingredients? Bengali sweets have gained global recognition, and the incorporation of indigenous mangoes into traditional sweet recipes such as Sondesh, Mishti Doi, Rassagulla, Payesh, and more, adds a delightful touch of summer to these already iconic treats. The result is a mouthwatering fusion of flavours that is truly irresistible. From frozen desserts like kulfis and ice creams to regional sweets like Payasam, Kheer, Phirni, Kalakand, and Halwa, add sweet mango pulp to enhance their flavour and make the most of this heavenly fruit while it's in season.


A standout dish from coastal Kerala is ‘Meen Manga Curry’. This fish curry combines the sourness of raw mangoes with coconut milk and spices, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavours Kerala is renowned for. Additionally, mango curry is prepared using sweet, ripe mangoes, which, when paired with spiced tempering, create a unique balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavours - a perfect culinary harmony.

In Kerala cuisine, mangoes are incorporated into several traditional preparations such as ‘Kozhi Curry’ (Chicken Curry), ‘Pachadi’, ‘Puliserry’, ‘Thoran’, ‘Avial’, and ‘Sambar’. This extensive usage of mangoes reflects Kerala's bold and dynamic culinary expertise, highlighting the versatility of this tropical fruit in its diverse range of dishes.

Western India, known for its superior mango production, incorporates mangoes into various savoury dishes. In Maharashtra, the mouth-watering ‘Aamti’ stands out - a lentil preparation that uses raw mangoes for their souring effect. ‘Kairi Chi Bhaji’ is another popular dish in Maharashtra, where raw mangoes, locally known as Kairi, are used to create a spicy and tangy preparation. ‘Kadhi’, a yoghurt and gram flour-based curry enjoyed throughout India, has its own regional variations. In Gujarat, ‘Fajeto’ is a well-spiced, sweet, and sour kadhi made with ripe mangoes and churned yoghurt, tempered in the traditional Gujarati style. Both ripe mangoes and raw mangoes are utilised in various curries and lentil dishes, with the pulp and mango pits often extracted to maximise the fruit's flavours and ensure sustainable usage without wastage.

In Karnataka, raw mango is ideal for rice preparations like ‘Mavinakayi Chitranna’ (Mango Rice), adding taste and texture to the tempered rice dish. Spicy ‘Churumuri’, a popular puffed rice snack across the state, incorporates sliced raw mangoes for a tangy twist that enhances its irresistible flavour. In Odisha, ‘Ambula Besara’ showcases the quintessential eastern Indian taste of mustard in a sour yoghurt sauce sweetened with dried mangoes and tempered with Panch Phoran spices. Whether it's Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, or Odisha, raw or ripe mangoes are used in curries, rice dishes, snacks, dry vegetable preparations, and salads across most Indian states. With abundant health benefits and seasonal availability, mangoes are prudently utilised in household preparations. The culinary wisdom of mothers has contributed to the creation of numerous recipes featuring mangoes, and the widespread love for mangoes in India ensures that our regional mango-based dishes are well appreciated and enjoyed.

Sweet, Sour and Spicy

Mangoes are incredibly versatile fruits used to prepare a variety of sweet and spiced chutneys, such as ‘Aam ki Launji’ and ‘Chunda’. ‘Aam Ki Launji’ is a delightful chutney made with raw or semi-ripe mangoes, sweetened with sugar or jaggery, and flavoured with spices like red chillies, fennel, fenugreek seeds, and turmeric. It pairs perfectly with North Indian dishes and is a staple in traditional Rajasthani thalis. Similarly, ‘Chunda’ is a popular condiment in Gujarat and Maharashtra, known for its sweet and spicy flavours and relish-like texture.

Mango pickle, known as ‘Aam ka Achaar’, is another everyday use for raw mangoes. It is prepared by marinating mangoes in mustard oil and spices, resulting in a tangy and spicy pickle that many love. On the other hand, ‘Aam Papad’ is a sweet and tangy dried mango fruit leather that is a speciality of Punjab, particularly Amritsar. It is a popular treat enjoyed by food enthusiasts.

Among the sweet, sour, and spicy mango preparations, ‘Aam Panna’ is a standout. This refreshing beverage is an excellent source of energy and hydration during summer and provides a cooling effect for the body and soul.

Mangoes offer endless possibilities in the culinary world. Their natural sweetness, pulpiness, and health benefits make them a boon for chefs and food lovers. It's exciting to experiment with mangoes in innovative dishes, desserts, and beverages during summer. While frozen mango pulps and purees are available year-round, nothing beats the joy of enjoying fresh and juicy mangoes in season.

As the summer sets in and the quality of mangoes improve, mango lovers eagerly await this time of the year. We make the most of the mango season by indulging in its deliciousness and preserving its flavours through chutneys, pickles, and jams. Indeed, there's nothing quite like relishing fresh and plump mangoes when the sun shines.

Sidharth Bhan Gupta, Founder of 361 Degrees Hospitality, is a Hospitality / Food and Beverage / Restaurant Consultant, Travelling across India on a Cultural and Culinary Exploration.