Tag Archive | Mango

SEMI TROPICAL , SLIGHTLY BOOZY FRUIT MEDLEY …….

or, Fond Memories of Summer’s Past …….

Even living here in the Tropics I am fully aware that the “…hazy days of summer…” are over for most of you. And during my now 2 weeks absence from the Computer desk I had intended to cook and photograph some delicious body-and-soul warming soups from my home country in general and from my late Mutti’s kitchen in particular. But, as it so often happens in life, I got a bit side tracked with visitors and our girls coming home as well, and somehow I ended up trying – with some modest success I like to say so myself – to bake some cakes for future postings!!!!

Even though I thought not to post any of them since they are not 100% perfect, but …..why not, I asked myself. After all I am so proud that I even managed those (since I really really cannot bake) – what do you think? I leave you for now with a famous quote by W.C. Fields “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it”. Please do let me know.

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So now for today I like to show you one of my long-time favourite (warm) fruit puddings – inspired of course by living for 3 years in “Rum-and-Steelband Country” – beautiful Trinidad & Tobago/W.I. There is only one little snag concerning my recipe – I was not able to find a single mango anywhere – season is over now, but I lived under the illusion of at least finding one in the big Hypermarket, but ……….no such luck, I used an apple instead!

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For 2 happy people:
½ x pineapple, peeled and sliced and cut into cubes
1 x ripe juicy mango, peeled, stoned and cut into cubes
(or use an apple instead, which makes it ‘semi tropical’)
½ x papaya, peeled, sliced, seeded and cut into cubes
1 x large banana, peeled and thickly sliced
1 x generous Tbsp of clear honey
1 x tsp of ground cinnamon
3 x Tbsp dark rum
1 x plus Tbsp of unsalted butter, room temperature

Serve with either vanilla-, yoghurt- or lemon-ice cream or a generous dollop of thick yoghurt.

This should be served if possible right at the end of the meal. So, assemble all your prepared fruit since it will only take a few minutes from start to finish.

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Use a heavy based frying pan, melt butter, add pineapple and cook on medium to low heat for a couple of minutes. Keep turning the fruit and when it starts to change colour slightly add all of the remaining previously prepared fruit to the pan and cook for a further 1-2 minutes (not more!!), turning occasionally.

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Now stir in honey, cinnamon and rum, cook for a further 2 minutes until sauce thickens. Serve immediately if possible.

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PS: I often play around adding this and that – including some golden raisins and other sweet dried berries. But on the whole the above recipe works just fine – my guests always asked me for the recipe, since it is so delicious, fruity and quick to make.

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That’s it – Guten Appetit

Namaskaram, Carina

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Caribbean Sweet and Sour Mango Chicken

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As I have mentioned somewhere before, when I lived for 3 years in the Caribbean (in Port-of-Spain/Trinidad), I too, like many of the other ‘diplomatic wives’ on this Island, went for a couple of weeks to a charming old Chinese Lady to learn the basics of ‘Chinese-cooking-with-a-wok’. Her name was Suzie Wong! Yes, film buffs of course will immediately connect this name with the very beautiful young actress Nancy Kwan, starring in her first film “The world of Suzie Wong”.

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Wok cooking is so quick and easy to do – then why did I put this onto my kitchen back shelf for quite some years once we had left Trinidad, I kept asking myself. Maybe because I had nearly worn out my own Wok in those wonderful three years – and of course, living on the Island with its multi-racial population, who did not like Chinese food???

So now that I started writing easy to follow (I hope) recipes for elder daughter, living away from home, and her friends, my Wok has come into his own again – certain weeks with a vengeance!.

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So here now a recipe which includes two of our favourite main ingredients – Chicken and Mango. I found this scribbled down note in my box of loose “Recipes from around the world” and immediately I decided late at night to make this for today’s Lunch.

Caribbean Sweet and Sour Mango Chicken

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I used for 2-3 portions:

3 x Chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 x very large ripe mango peeled and cut free from its large seed and then cut into nice longish strips. Keep aside.
2 Tbsp good sunflower oil
12 x biggish shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1.5 x tsp of fresh ginger, cut into long thin slivers
Some leeks, washed thoroughly and cut into thin rings
3 x garlic cloves, crushed well
1 x cups of green gram beansprouts

To make Sweet and Sour Sauce
2 x Tbsp white wine vinegar
4 x Tbsp of water
2 x Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 x Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 x Tbsp clear honey
2 x Tbsp very good tomato ketchup
1 x tsp cornflour
2 x chicken stock cubes (I used KNORR), crumbled

First start making your sauce.

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Combine all the above mentioned ingredients in a jug incl. the cornflour, which will slightly thicken the sauce. Set aside.

Heat up your Wok (or large frying pan) on medium flame, add oil and after 1 minute also the prepared chicken. Quickly brown the meat for maximum 3 minutes (keep stirring). Transfer with a slotted spoon into a small bowl and keep aside.
Into the same oil add the shallots and the ginger, stir for a couple of minutes only, after which you add your sauce and the mango.
Bring gently to the boil and continue simmering for another 2 minutes.

With this particular dish we like to alternate between long-grain basmati rice and Chinese noodles.

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请享用
Qǐng xiǎngyòng = Enjoy your meal
Carina

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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VIVANTA BY TAJ – KOVALAM

…… and Prawn Mango Curry

(Part 2 of 3)

We arrived in Kovalam early afternoon, having stopped for lunch en route down south.

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Turning right into the approach road to our hotel for the next few days was like driving through a colourful picture postcard. Just in front of the hotel entrance are a few large trees showing off their seasonal blossoms in all their glory. The road was thickly littered with fallen petals (just like at one of our many wedding functions here) in bright red and orangey yellow. In order not to spoil the magic I just concentrated to photograph the crowns of the trees, because for once I did not want evidence of everyday life turning up in my shots.

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Slowly we went through the strict security control into the property and uphill towards the actual hotel entrance where we were greeted with huge smiles, a cheerful “Namaskaram” (Welcome) and a pretty necklace made entirely out of tiny local seashells. As much as I like fresh flowers, they sadly do not last long in this tropical heat – but those sweet necklaces do!!!!

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A fluffy hot towel to refresh our faces and a cooling tender coconut drink arrived. Check-in was completed in no time

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and soon we were driven in a golf-buggy uphill to our room, where our luggage was already waiting for us.

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A short refreshing nap, shower and a change of clothes put us in the right mood to enjoy the view of the Ocean from our little terrace – and savour a decent cup of coffee.

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A short time later we were joined by Mathew Thomas, GM of our hotel and also a close friend of Jo’s from Cochin.

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We all travel quite a lot and so there was much catching-up to do.

We of course had been over the past years many times to this hotel but then had stayed away  for some time, since we felt something was very much missing from this particular TAJ property.

But now it became very quickly clear to us that many things had changed for the better since Mathew had taken charge at the helm – once again, like previously before in the TAJ properties he had managed, he in only a short time had put his very own personal stamp onto this Kovalam property. For one the staff looked so much happier than before which proved to us, that his motto “…COME on, and not GET on” worked wonders here.

–         For more details on this property and bookings please refer to the following link: http://www.vivantabytaj.com/Kovalam-Kerala/Overview.html

This wonderful secluded property is build on a 10 acre hillside, but comfortable

Golf buggies take you more or less straight to your own front door.

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The swimming pool is so inviting and offers a much needed respite from the tropical heat and the staff is always there to attend to your slightest whim.

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And for you, who would not want to miss out on their daily exercise find a more than adequate gym within the complex.

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After a quiet dinner “a deux” and watching a beautiful floorshow by local dancers,

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we were ready once again to be driven back to our suite, where we sat on our little terrace

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enjoying our drink and watch the many fishing boats far out at sea, their lights blinking – like giant fireflies so far out there. It truly was a most romantic sight, the flickering lights out at sea in competition with the flickering stars up in the sky. Not a sound to be heard apart from the occasional bird in some tree nearby. This poses the question; do birds talk in their sleep? (Joke!)

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The breakfast buffet laid out in the semi open poolside restaurant “Jasmine Bay” is quite extensive and offers a wide choice of delicious Kerala and European fare.

We spent the morning down at Kovalam Beach (see my previous Blog entry) and taken lots of pictures to share with you.

For Lunch we were back at our Hotel, in our “Deluxe Allure Suite” for a brief rest and a cold drink before meeting Executive Chef Elangovan who, knowing how much we like prawns  “in all shape and sizes” and taking into account that it is the mango season here right now, he had prepared a truly wonderful Prawn dish for our Lunch and of course for you, my friends out there.

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(from left to right: Ankit Tandon, F & B Manager, Executive Chef Elangovan, Chef Vishnu and Basil)

Chef Elango (as he is popularly known) is a truly welcomed addition to VIVANTA  by TAJ Kovalam. He hails originally from the culinary city of Trichy in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.  He finished his further education in Malaysia before he returned to India and joined the TAJ Group of Hotels in Chennai before taking up his present position here in Kovalam.  He specializes mainly in his home cuisine – typical dishes from the South, from Kerala.

I briefly joined him and Chef Josephkutty in their kitchen to catch them “stirring the pot”,

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before we sat down and enjoyed his truly delicious Prawn Mango Curry

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PRAWN  MANGO  CURRY

200 g Prawns, peeled and deveined

100 g Mango , raw (green), sliced into medium size pieces

20   g Coconut Oil

10   g Shallots, sliced

2      sprigs of Curry leaves

5      red dried chillies, whole

3      green chillies, each cut into 3 pieces

5      cloves of garlic, sliced

Small piece of fresh ginger, sliced

A pinch or two of salt

1 tsp of red chilly powder (or more, if you like!! J

½ tsp of turmeric powder

5 Tbsp thick coconut milk (can be made from powder)

½ tsp of black Mustard seeds

Heat coconut oil in a wok, crackle mustard seeds, red chilly powder, curry leaves, green sliced chilly, ginger, garlic and sauté well.

Add sliced shallots and cook nicely, then add a pinch of turmeric, salt and the prawns. Add sufficient water and cook gently for a couple of minutes.

Add raw sliced mango pieces and cook this for 2 more minutes until prawns have turned pink and are done. Add thick coconut milk and add the tempering made out of sliced shallots, curry leaves, red whole chillies and a little curry powder.

Check the seasoning and serve hot with garnish of fried curry leaves.

Serve hot with the garnish of tempering, kerala paratha and/or plain rice.

That’s for today my friends – more from me and Chef Elangovan in a couple of days. Hope to see you then.

Carina

(Photos: Carina/JS-Manningtree Archive)