Kairi/Mavinakai/kaccha aam aka raw mango

I recently found raw mangoes at the Asian store. In Bombay they call it kairi, in Hindi it’s kaccha aam and in my mother tongue, Kannada, we call it mavinakai. They immediately made me reminisce spring time in India. There would be hawkers selling raw mangoes, tamarind, starfruit, bora berries etc on carts outside school ๐Ÿ™‚ I hated fresh bora berries, never found them appealing, but I did somewhat develop a taste for the dried ones, they were tangy and that’s what I liked about them. I’ve found ripe mangoes in the US in almost every season. They are not the best tasting, but I was surprised to see them available year round.ย In India, ripe mangoes are available only during the summer. Needless to say raw mangoes are available in spring and late winter. ย I love mangoes – raw or ripe!! I sorely miss the Alphonso mangoes also known as the king of mangoes. I have begged my parents to bring some, but they never do since the mangoes won’t pass through customs ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

But anyways, back to my tryst with raw mangoes at the Asian store – my eyes lit up when I saw them and I picked up a few. I was very keen on making panha (sweet raw mango drink). I already made one batch, and the second one is underway. I’ll post the recipe of whichever one tastes better ๐Ÿ™‚ The advantage of living in a cosmopolitan city like Bombay was being able to sample food from all over India. Panha is primarily a Maharashtrian drink. I also know of Gujaratis making panha, so maybe it’s a common drink in the West in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

After using up most of the mangoes, I had one left. And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with that one mango. Chop it up, sprinkle it with salt and chili powder and savor it ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s how the hawkers on the street would offer it. Tamarind, mangoes and starfruit sprinkled with salt and chili powder and probably some other secret ingredient that made those acidic and tangy fruits taste heavenly! I finished eating the pieces just before I started writing this post. My lips are still burning, after all I used the ‘extra-hot’ chili powder that I found in the Indian store. I have a propensity and high tolerance for heat. But I should probably use regular chili powder or cayenne pepper next time. It’s going to take a while for my lips to cool down ๐Ÿ˜‰

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