The Goan style ripe mango curry ( Ghotan Sansav in Konkani) is a light summery vegetarian curry that has all the simple sweet sour and spicy flavors we love.
As a kid the onset of summer always brought smiles to our faces – the joy of being done with exams, the promise of all the fun & games and extended free time with cousins and friends. Us city kids were especially excited at the prospects of being away from parents watchful eyes and getting up to mischief at our ancestral hometowns. A big part of the days activity revolved around foraging for summer berries and fruits, climbing trees or shaking down branches for all the loot we could gather. And then fighting over who ate what! So many memories of messy hands, berry-tinted tongues and sore throats from one too many street-side popsicles.
One of the other delicious highlights of the season are without a doubt – MANGOES! And not any odd mango will cut it, it’s got to be the Haapus aka Alphonso Mango. Even though living in Dubai means you have some variety of mango from some part of the world made available to you all year round, I still enjoy mangoes largely as a seasonal specialty this time of the year.
As soon as the first of the Alphonso mangoes hit the markets in April/May in Goa, Dad would carefully scrutinize to see if the good batches had arrived or not. You see, my Dad was particular – he would only buy the first batch when the product would be at its optimum taste ( ripe and ready at the market) and the prices had calmed down from all the early-to-market price hikes. But the day we’d get the seasons first home, oh the thrill of that is hard to pen down! We’d cool them in the fridge, and then after lunch, we would peel the mango skin and eat with our hands. That taste of the first perfectly ripe Alphonso mango, its sunshine yellow sweet pulp is a joy to behold.
With the mango season, there’s also the dishes that would get made in the kitchen to incorporate them into our every day food – raw mangoes would be pickled, mango shakes for those mid day coolers, mango jams etc. Still most of the fruit would be eaten as is.
Ghotan Sansav – the Goan-style ripe mango curry is typically made with a smaller local variety of mango and the seed is retained in the curry so after a meal, you can eat the flesh off it directly. But when I make it at home now, I typically use Alphonso mangoes because in my books, they are truly the best variety. I also remove the seed so it’s easier to serve and eat.
The curry itself is very simple to put together. It is cooked ever so slightly with just enough tadka (tempering of spices) added to elevate the flavor of the sweet mango with the red chilli. The jaggery is added only for balance so make sure to taste the mangoes before you cook with them – a hint of sour is good and the mango shouldn’t be overpowered by the sweetness. While you could serve it with rotis/puris, in Goa we usually serve it as a side dish with rice. One of my personal favorites way to eat it is with the semolina-fried potatoes and a simple green vegetable. The pleasure really is in sweet & tangy flavors with a mild chili kick for good measure.