When it is time for mango season, the sweet smell of the fruit adorns the kitchen and tantalises the taste buds pretty quickly. The wide variety of mangoes available in our country are proof of the love that this fruit enjoys. While mango-based desserts are common, like mango barfi, mango phirni and more, it is the addition of this sweet fruit to savoury dishes that amazes us. Chef Naresh Kotwal - Executive Chef of GT Road, New Delhi - has managed to translate his creative vision to the ongoing mango festival at the restaurant.

Also Read: All About Ratnagiri's Alphonso Mangoes

Titled as Daawat-e-Aam, the food festival is entirely dedicated to the love that people share for mangoes. Located in the Capital’s bustling Connaught Place area, the restaurant is hosting a mango festival throughout the season of this fruit. Right from the beverages to the starters, main course and dessert, one would find an overload of mangoes on the platter. The wide-range of variety offered at this buffet is a treat to the mango lovers.

On being asked about his experience of working with mangoes, the chef exclaimed that he enjoys such diverse experiments in food and understanding the texture and taste of this sweet fruit to a plethora of dishes was more of a fun experiment than a challenge. The drinks menu featured a refreshing summer drink called Ambarsariya, which was a delectable combination of mango juice, lime juice, mango pulp and mint leaves. The drink fared well with khatti-meethi chaats like the Aam palak patta chaat and mango-flavoured dahi poori. 

Talking about his vision behind the food festival, Chef Naresh said, “We brought different varieties of mango from different regions of India through our vegetable vendor. The vision behind this festival menu was to give the best food experience with the touch of mango in our regular food dishes to our customers.” The Aam Kasundi Paneer Tikka that we tried for starters is proof. Mixed with raw mango paste, the marination for this paneer tikka was slightly sweet. Balanced by the variety of spices, the grilled paneer tikka was a delightful treat.

Aam Kasundi Paneer Tikka 

In the main course, there were several mango-curries like Aam chicken curry, Grilled Mango Chilli Fish and more, which added even more flavour to the palate. The succulent pieces of chicken dunked in a pool of mango curry paired well with steamed rice. There were several vegetarian delicacies too, including the Kacche Aam Ki Dal. The lentil preparation had a tangy twist with the addition of mangoes.

Kacche Aam Ki Dal

Moving on to the desserts, the chef highlighted the kinds of mangoes used in the preparation of these sweets. “Usually, we require juicy and pulpy mangoes for our sweet preparations. So, we always take the best mangoes like alphonso, carabao, sindhuri and haden.” No wonder the dessert counter was such a hit among the festival attendees, especially the mango barfi and mango phirni.

Since the desserts oozed the freshness of this sweet fruit, we fetched the recipe for delicious Mango Barfi from the chef that you can try at home.  

Ingredients: 

    2-3 ripened mangoes/2 cup mango pulp 

    ¾ cup sugar 

    1 ½ cup (250 grams) mawa/khoya/milk solid 

    ½ cup milk 

    ½ tsp cardamom powder 

    ½ cup milk powder 

    ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios/almonds for garnishing 

Mango Barfi

Method: 

1.    Peel and chop the mangoes. Blend it with sugar and make a purée and keep aside.  

2.    Take a kadhi, crumble the mawa in it and roast it on low flame for 10 minutes.  

3.    Add milk and stir it till mixture starts leaving the pan and forms soft dough.  

4.    Remove it in a bowl and keep aside. 

5.    In the same kadhai, pour the prepared mango pulp, stir it continuously for 10-15 minutes or till it becomes thick on the medium flame, then add cardamom powder and mix well. 

6.    Turn on the low flame. Add mawa and mix it well completely and stir it. 

7.    Switch off the flame and let it cool. Add milk powder and mix well, your mixture is ready. 

8.    Set it on a tray and freeze it for a few hours and then cut into small cubes.