Apple and cinnamon. Tomato and basil. Caramel and sea salt. There are some flavour combinations in the world that just work for everyone. One of the more unlikely but just as widely accepted is that of mango and chilli. Something about the slightly tangy fruit plus the searing power of chilli peppers makes for a perfect pairing.

The versatility of the mango really helps this along since it's equally delicious throughout the ripening cycle, just with a variation in the sourness. We all remember the magic of green mango (kachi kairi) dusted with salt and chilli on a hot day. But even if you prefer something a little sweeter, ripened mangoes work just as well with the chilli contrasting with the sugars for a perfect union.

Also Read: Mango Chilli Wings: Chicken Wings Served With Mango Sauce

Simple and packed with flavour, this combination has been loved the world over. India favours raw mango as a roadside snack while in Mexico they lean towards the riper fruit with a squeeze of lime to create a sharp contrasting explosion of flavours. In Southeast Asia, places like Thailand combine heat and flavour in the form of a salad or sauce with a touch of their staple ingredient, fish sauce. 

If you need a hit of inspiration, here are 3 recipes from across the world that pair up mangoes and chillies.

Indian Mango Chilli Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • 1 tbsp red chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup sugar or any natural sweetener
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or any vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp black salt or salt of your choice
  • ½-inch ginger piece

Method:

  • Peel and roughly chop the mangoes.
  • Add it to the blender along with half of the ginger.
  • Blend it until smooth.
  • Finely chop the garlic and remaining ginger.
  • Now in a pot or a pan, add oil.
  • Once hot, add in the chopped garlic and ginger.
  • Saute it on slow to medium for a minute until translucent or the raw smell of ginger goes.
  • Now add the pureed mangoes, and chilli flakes and mix. Cook for a minute.
  • Now add in the sweetener, vinegar, salt and half of the water.
  • Cook it further for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now mix the cornstarch with the remaining water and add it to the above mix.
  • Cook it further for 2-3 minutes until you get the desired consistency.

Mexican Grilled Mango

Ingredients

  • 1 mango
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp chilli powder or more to taste
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt or more to taste

Method:

  • Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  • Cut the sides of the mango and score in a checkered pattern.
  • Brush the sliced mango halves with oil on the flesh side.
  • Grill cut-side down for 2 minutes until charred.
  • Cool until safe to handle, then invert each piece by pushing on the centre of the peel from the back.
  • Drizzle with lime juice, then sprinkle with chilli powder and sea salt and enjoy!

Thai Mango Chilli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large unripe mango
  • 1 large red pepper
  • A handful of lettuce leaves
  • 2 spring onions, white parts sliced finely
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red chilli, diced finely
  • A handful of roasted cashews (or peanuts), chopped
  • Fresh coriander and/or mint, chopped

Dressing:

  • 2-3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 tbsp tamari (for gluten-free version) or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or sugar
  • Ground pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Using a sharp knife or a special peeler, julienne mango, pepper and courgette. Tear Cos lettuce leaves roughly.
  • Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside for the flavours to marry.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together all salad ingredients apart from nuts.
  • Mix the dressing in, and adjust the seasoning. Serve sprinkled with nuts and a few leaves of mint and/or coriander.