There are very few people who can deny the pleasure of enjoying a sweet and luscious mango at its perfect state of ripeness. Mangoes are the most popular fruit in the world, which may be news to some of you, as it was to me when I first learned this. But it’s really no surprise since they offer us the feeling of indulging in the most delicious dessert, while simultaneously enlivening the senses and refreshing our energy.
While all mangoes are wonderful there’s no doubt that some are better than others. Enjoying a mango at its peak can be a truly sublime experience. Sometimes the flavor and texture of a mango is related to whether you have chosen a perfectly ripe one (or are patient enough to wait for it to be ready) but there are other factors involved.
I’ve eaten mangoes in Australia, Bali, Thailand, South Africa, Hawaii, Jamaica and Costa Rica and in every location the varieties available have their own unique characteristics. The organic Australian mangoes were so amazing and intense in flavor and opened my eyes to just how profound the difference can be between conventional and organic produce.
The mangoes in Bali have an especially unique and subtle floral fragrance. Bali also produces a very special white mango, which appears for a very short season during the year. This mango is unlike any other with a rich and slightly pungent flavor that at times reminded me just slightly of durian but without the strong onion overtones.
When I went to South Africa I only had mangoes one time during the whole trip because we got there right at the end of the season. These mangoes were tiny, about half the size as usual, but of all the mangoes I have ever tasted they were some of my favorites, having an intensely rich, vibrant bright orange color and full flavor with a somewhat silky texture.
When my husband and I moved to Costa Rica one of the things I quickly appreciated is our year-around supply of mangoes! Even though there is theoretically a season for mangoes it is still possible to find them in the markets pretty much all the time.
When we take our weekly trip to the local farmer’s market every Saturday morning we generally buy about twenty pounds of mangoes! It may seem like a lot but it is no problem for us to devour these little beauties and we often run out well before the end of the week.
At the moment it is the rainy season, which means that mangoes are less abundant than usual, so consequently their price is about triple during this time of year but that doesn’t stop us from satisfying our cravings for mangoes! Our mango addiction means that about a quarter of our shopping budget is devoted to mangoes but luckily fruit is cheap in Costa Rica so we can indulge to our heart’s content.
Of course when the mangoes are at their peak they are fantastic by themselves and sometimes we make a meal of mangoes. The picture below provides instruction on the best way to cut a mango to enjoy it as a simple fresh fruit.
I also love adding mangoes to salads and smoothies and I have previously shared recipes for green smoothies containing mango including my Basic Green Smoothie, Love Your Liver Green Smoothie and Genki Sudo’s Green Superfood Smoothie. It is rare for a day to go by where mangoes are not featured on our menu in some form or another.
Here is a sweet and spicy mango sauce that was inspired by a recipe by Cherie Soria. I actually was blessed with the opportunity to watch Cherie demonstrate her version of the recipe when I recently attended the Living Light Culinary Institute and achieved my certification as a gourmet raw food chef.
This sauce is fat-free and can brighten up any dish, especially those with Asian flavors. We have enjoyed it as a dipping sauce for Vietnamese summer rolls.
If you don’t have habanero pepper or red curry paste you could replace them with any variety of chili pepper to achieve your preferred level of heat.
I used maple syrup because I ran out of agave but you could use either one of these sweeteners and it would work just fine. If you don’t have coconut sugar you could substitute with rapadura or Sucanat.
Sweet and Spicy Mango Sauce
1 1/2 cups chopped mango (about one large mango)
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons raw coconut sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon agave
2 tablespoons green onion, whites only, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, diced
1/3 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon habanero pepper (more or less according to your preference)
1/4 teaspoon red curry paste ( I used Thai Kitchen brand)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt, spice and lemon juice to suit your preference. Keeps for about three days in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.
I hope you try this recipe soon. This sauce would also be fantastic on kelp noodles or as a salad dressing on lettuce with cucumbers, mangoes, avocado cilantro and mint. Let me know what you think!