Mango is my favorite fruit. Mangoes were a staple of my childhood. During mango season, we would have baskets upon baskets of still green mangoes which we would let ripen in the dark corners of our house. We would know they were ripe by the fragrant smell wafting in the air. We would eat green mangoes with our rice (when meat or fish was not available). We would eat mangoes at snack time. Children that we were, we would eat the mangoes by simply peeling off the skin, biting into the soft flesh, and letting the juices run down our chin and arms.

But that was not the only way we ate mangoes. We loved our mangoes green with a tinge of yellow. We would peel the, slice them, and dip them into bagoong (fish or shrimp paste). The tangy sweetness of the mango and the saltiness and flavor of the dip combine in one explosive flavorful crunch in the mouth.

When I moved to the States, I lost the luxury of mangoes. It was hard to find properly ripened mangoes. I have been quite disappointed several times when the mangoes I bought in the grocery turned out to be rotten inside. If they were not rotten, the mangoes were usually picked too early and therefore did not ripen properly. Also, it was hard to find the kind of mangoes I grew up with – plump, golden, fragrant, carabao mangoes as we called them in the Philippines. The reddish mangoes are more common and while they may be sweet, they are not what my nostalgic heart long for.

However, the other day, my husband came home with several mangoes, yellow and red ones alike. “They were on sale,” he said. Surprisingly, they tasted good. So, when it was my turn to go to the grocery, I bought some more. Since there are so many of us in our household and can not have the luxury of eating as many mangoes as we like (not to mention, mangoes vary in quality and because of that, one person will have better tasting mangoes than the others – which will not be fair!), I looked for recipes that will have mango as their star flavor and attraction.

I have tried making mango panacotta and mango pudding. They were well received. Next, I made a no bake mango cheesecake and I liked it best. I think that it is perfect as summer dessert especially because I can have something tasty without adding extra heat to our house by baking. It is really tasty (though my husband still prefers baked cheesecake more). Go ahead, try this recipe that I found online and used. This morning, I made crepes to go with the mango. To enhance the flavor, I made mango syrup from the more sour mangoes. I think the crepe with the syrup came out well. My sons were begging for some more.

I am glad that I have made my family appreciate flavors from my own heritage.  I wish they can appreciate more of the food and traditions of half of their heritage.  I guess, I will be sharing with them one flavor at a time.




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