Tag Archives: Gujarat

It’s mango season!

It’s mango season and quite possibly one of the best times of the year!  Crates full of mangoes arrive into the UK from all over India which produces 51% of the world’s mangoes.  Here’s a great little map pinpointing exactly where they come from.

mango map of india

The state of Andhra Pradesh produces the most but my favourite are the varieties grown in Gujarat – alphonso and the sweet, sweet kesar mangoes.

Mangoes

Wonderful Kesar mangoes from Junagadh in Gujarat

I am so impatient that I buy a box as soon as it hits the streets. £10 for 6 is the usual going rate at the start of the season – ridiculous because they are flavourless like supermarket mangoes and all that excitement  is dissipated as soon as I bite into them.

When you get to the middle of the season, there are so many different suppliers to choose from.  One box of twelve should be around £6 or £7 from a good Asian grocer.  These are just perfectly ripe and juicy with so much pleasure to be derived from the simplicity of sucking every last bit of mango flesh from the stone.

The end of the season is my favourite.  I love bargaining the box price down with the traders who by this stage are desperate to get rid of their stocks before they turn rotten. Last year I got one down to £2.99 for a box of twelve. I was so happy and I am certain they all tasted sweeter!

My girls eat them as they are.  I like them with a squeeze of lime juice, a few chilli flakes and a sprinkling of sea salt.

You have a good few weeks left to enjoy mango season.  Asian or Chinese grocers are your best bet or simply drive down any of the Indian neighbourhoods and you’ll see a man with a van.  A few rules apply

  1. Bargain hard. It’s not a British supermarket!
  2. Turn all the mangoes in the box over and check for damage or decay.
  3. Have a sniff – there should be a wonderful aroma if they are ripe and ready to eat.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask the trader to cut one open for you to taste test.   If he’s confident in his stock, he won’t mind at all.
  5. You MUST suck the stone.  This is the best part and if you haven’t done this before, get that apron on, roll those sleeves up and just pretend you’re 5 years old sitting somewhere no adults can find you having stolen one out of the fruit basket.  You can worry about getting clean and not getting caught later!

Enjoy!

Namaste!

This is my first blog post!

I’ve been blogging at The Botanical Kitchen for a few months now and while I’ve been out and about lots of people have asked me about my background which is Gujarati.

To be specific, my father is from Rajkot and from a ‘community’ of ‘Suthar’ which literally translated means ‘carpenter’.  This is rather bizarre as I don’t know any carpenters in the family!  I was born in Tanzania though, as was my mother, so a lot of the food you will find on this site also has influences from there.

Gujarati food is 100% vegetarian, despite having an extensive coastline for seafood, and this is mainly due to the influence of Hinduism.  It varies widely in flavour and heat, depending on a given family’s tastes as well as the region of Gujarat they are from. The four major regions bring their own style to the food but meals often have sweet, salty, and spicy elements at the same time.

My family’s food is traditionally mild in the curry scale and uses little garlic or onions.  This is partly because my Dad isn’t particularly partial to garlic or onions in food and partly because some of the family follow the Swaminarayan faith which forbids it.  I love garlic and onions so I’ve adapted some of my family’s recipes to include them where I think they work well.

I hope you enjoy the recipes I’ll be posting on here and will have a go at making them.