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Mango Relish – Companion for Mushroom and Okra Curry

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Yesterday I decided to “blitz” the inside of my 2 refrigerators – clearing out an array of containers with bits and pieces which by now most definitely were beyond their ‘best- sell- by- date’.

And when I came to my bottom vegetable drawers I knew that this was the end of a lazy Saturday afternoon for me. I know, I know – I should have attended to this matter in hand a week earlier, but….for one reason or another I never got around to it. Please do tell me, how often do you actually clear your own vegetable drawers?

Once I had started I decided to fill a number of boxes with cleaned and cut up vegetables. Beans – top and tailed, cauliflower and broccoli – cut into florets, the usable stalks of those cut into small pieces and kept for my soups, Carrots peeled and cut into nice little ‘matchsticks’ – ready to be nibbled on whilst writing on my computer or/and late night snack when watching a movie; I am sure by now you get the picture. By the time all this was done, labelled and put back into the fridges after having thoroughly cleaned them I was in no mood to start cooking much.

But since we do like Mushrooms, Okra and Mango – we decided that I would make this little light Lunch for us – its quick, nutritious and most of all delicious. I peeled the Mango and onion and put some nice music on whilst I quickly did the rest.

Mango Relish – Companion for Mushroom and Okra Curry

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I did not weigh anything, so just go as well by how hungry you are.

I used for the 2 of us the following:

2 handfuls of nice firm Okra (Ladyfingers), topped and tailed and cut lengthwise in half (or rounds, if you prefer)

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1 pre-packed button mushrooms, wiped clean with dry cloth, (never ever use water!)
1 biggish onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 small garlic pods, sliced
2-3 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
3 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander seeds (or ½ Tbsp coriander powder)
1 handful of coriander leafs (cilantro), washed and chopped
1 Tbsp of Vegetable oil
½ cup of water
Salt to taste

How to cook:

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Take a Wok and over medium heat add oil and when hot add fenell- and coriander seeds and allow them to sizzle for only a second (or they will burn).
When this is done, add turmeric- and ground cumin powder and stir quickly.

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After only 1 minute add onions and cook for another 5-6 minutes and then add garlic, ginger, tomatoes and little bit of water (so that Masala will not stick), stir and now add all your mushrooms and okra.

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Stir carefully again, cover and let it simmer for maximum 10 minutes.
Check for salt and maybe add just another Tablespoon or two of water to this and uncovered let it cook for just another 5 minutes or so. Keep checking the ‘bite’ on the okra – you want them just a little bit crunchy but not soft or mushy.

When ready, take off the flame, stir in some of your chopped coriander leafs and serve.

It is delicious with just plain (long grain) Basmati rice and some of the mango relish on the side.

For the mango relish you will need:

1 or 2 large ripe Mangos, washed, peeled and cut away from the big stone inside
1 medium sized onion, chopped into small pieces
1 small piece of ginger
2 red chillies (or more!) – deseeded
Pinch of each salt and sugar

How to make:

Add the chopped mango(s), garlic, chilli, ginger and onion into your Blender and ‘blitz’ this for a couple of seconds until the relish is quite smooth.
Check your seasoning: you may want to add more salt since the mangos are quite sweet.

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Note:
I used the famous Alphonso Mango, which Jo brought back from the market. The Mango season has just started and so the kitchen is never without this delicious fruit right now.

According to Wikipedia, Alphonso mango is a seasonal fruit, considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour.

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The variety is named after Alphonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese general and military expert who helped establish Portuguese colonies in India. The Portuguese introduced grafting on mango trees to produce extraordinary varieties like Alphonso.

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The fruit was then introduced to the Konkan region in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and some parts of southern state of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

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Sardinhas grelhadas

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– Memories of Alfama/ Lisbon –

A few years ago JS and I flew all the way out to Portugal – a country neither of us had visited before but always wanted to experience.

So we spent a wonderful, but mainly rainy week (but who cared really? We did not!) in Lisbon in time to take part in this city’s “Saint Antony’s Day” on 13th June.

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On the eve of the Saint’s Day (even thou he is generally known as St. Antony of Padua, he was actually born in Lisbon) the whole city turns crazy – into their annual sardinhas- and -beer –bacchanal; the streets are lined with make-shift grill stations and the smell of grilled sardinhas ……. Oh! My goodness, you just have to fly over and experience this for yourself. Everybody is celebrating and having generally a great time and the occasional drizzle from the sky above does not spoil the fun.

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We spent our evening/night in the Alfama district – which is the oldest district of Lisbon. Like the previous day, we had spent our afternoon here at the famous and so beautiful São Jorge Castle.

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Alfama is regarded as the most genuine and authentic neighbourhood in the city. We walked the ancient cobble stones and soon found ourselves a table, where we sat and let the beguiling wail of Fado drift over us which came at us literally from all 4 corners (and more!). And, like most girls/women I too was given a small pot of fresh basil -following the tradition – (known as: manjerico) by JS as a symbol of affection – but on my brightly coloured paper carnations with a poem written on them, I missed out – that time!

For you, who like to read more about our visit to Portugal please go to JS very own Blog:

https://manningtreearchive.com/category/viva-portugal

Obrigado …..Amalia, obrigado fado, obrigado Lisboa! But most of all, thank you Santo Antonio.

I could fill pages of telling you about that night ….. but, I am sure by now you like to read my version of ‘grilled sardines’ – sardinhas grelhadas! A recipe I jotted down on a paper napkin that night.

This is a very easy dish to prepare – appr. 30 minutes is all it takes. The numbers of sardinhas per person depends very much on your appetite, have a bowl of boiled potatoes and an even bigger bowl of beautiful salad – and sit out in the sunshine and enjoy!

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Sardinhas grelhadas Alfama style

INGREDIENTS

3-4 large potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
1 Tbsp of hot smoked paprika
1/4 cup or so (60ml) olive oil
1 red capsicum
1 yellow capsicum
½ green capsicum
1 Avocado, stone removed, peeled and cubed
1 apple, peeled and cut into cubes
4 tomatoes, de-seeded and cubed
2 large red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp of minced garlic (or less)
A generous portion of pitted and sliced black/purple olives
A generous portion of fresh basil
A generous handful of coriander
1-2 tsp lemon juice
12 fresh sardines (or more) cleaned
1 lemon, quartered

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METHOD
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook the potatoes until almost tender, drain and allow drying out for a few minutes.
2 Toss potatoes with paprika and 1 tablespoon oil. Season and spread on a large lined baking tray, then roast for 20 minutes or until golden.
3 Meanwhile, heat a grill pan on medium-high heat. Brush the capsicums with a little extra olive oil and grill for 4-5 minutes, turning, until the skin blisters. Set aside in a bowl and cover in plastic wrap. Once cool enough to handle, peel and cut into thin strips.
4 Place in a bowl with a couple of the cooked potatoes, then toss with tomatoes, onion, avocado, apple, garlic, basil, coriander, lemon juice and remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper.

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5 Increase the chargrill pan or barbeque heat to high. Brush the sardines and the grill with a little more oil to help prevent sticking. Sprinkle the sardines with 1 teaspoon sea salt – the soft-flaked varieties is best – then cook the sardines for 2-3 minutes each side until the skin is scorched and bubbling.
6 Divide the sardines among plates, then top with some of the salad and serve with lemon.

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7. Place a separate bowl of boiled potatoes and a bowl of salad.

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8. Chunky country bread or baguette will also be good.

Notes:
Our Alfama cook suggested that I dry the washed sardinhas thoroughly with a tea-towel before frying – and I followed his advice back home.
I did not use a barbeque since I did not want my sardinhas to stick to the grill – so I dry-fried them in the pan – and they turned out good.

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Desfrute de sua refeição – Enjoy your meal!
Carina

I leave you with the most beautiful voice of Amália Rodrigues
Ha festa na Mouraria” by Amália Rodrigues