Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ottolenghi's Curried Chickpeas and Mango Salad / Stir fry

Generally during summer boxes of mangoes are piled high in the Indian grocery stores. For an expat Indian it is hard to move away from a pile of mangoes without buying a few (dozen?) though we all are well aware of the frustration that comes with buying them. Some are downright tasteless and without fail stringy needing a floss or tooth brush for immediate relief. Don't get me wrong there are several varieties of stringy mangoes back home and each one has a purpose meaning the stringy ones are held in the hand, skin peeled with the teeth and the pulp sucked out. Try doing that with the mangoes you get here!

Last summer a friend brought a few mangoes over, her husband in his enthusiasm had bought 2 crates of mangoes all ripening at the same time, I thanked her and took them over to the fridge (they were well ripe but absolutely no aroma, keep a ripe Indian mango in the fridge and see what happens). The next day I sliced them without expectations, but everything changed when we popped them in our mouth, maybe not so sweet but absolutely unstringy with a texture like avocado. I for one had found a mango that I liked. The new international market that opened close by has been carrying them regularly. If you are curious they are the yellow Mexican mangoes. Indira had chanced upon them recently and enjoyed them, I could understood her happiness perfectly.

Cooked onions, cauliflower and chick peas

Last week the pricey Alphonso mangoes have started appearing in the Indian grocery store, with the price tag of $34 for 11 mangoes, don't ask me why 11 and not a dozen. I was tempted but my cheap $.59 perfectly fine yellow mangoes came to mind along with Ottolenghi's recipe with mangoes and chickpeas on the Guardian newspaper online.

I had about 1 1/2 cups of soaked chickpeas sitting in the fridge, a cauliflower and mangoes all ready to go.

Back home ripe mangoes have been sliced, juiced, sorbeted, ice creamed but rarely have they been used as creatively as the Western chefs tend to use them in salads and main courses. In my parts salads are not that popular so mangoes not appearing in salads (I am not talking about fruit salads here) is not all that surprising. But the combination of spice, sour and a sweet mango all in one mouthful is hard to describe but a pleasure to experience. If you know otherwise please feel free to set me right. I for one thing am not talking about green/unripe mangoes. There are numerous recipes using those which we all know and love.

Spinach and mangoes added in

The recipe called for curry powder, which I do not have nor buy so use any masala powder you like or substitute with a combination of coriander powder, red chili powder, pepper and cumin powder and just use 2 tsp of the mixture.

Yellow mangoes

The delight in this recipe is the taste of the fresh ripe mango pieces so don't attempt it if you do not have mangoes.

Adapted from: Yotam Ottolenghi's alphonso mango and curried chickpea salad recipe

Curried Chickpeas with mangoes, cauliflower and spinach
1. 1 1/2 cups chickpeas soaked
2. 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower cut into small florets
3. 1 1/2 cups of cubed ripe mangoes (2-3 mangoes)
4. 3/4 cup of sliced red onions
5. 2 cups of loosely packed fresh spinach
6. 2 tbsp of lime juice
7. 1 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
8. 2 tsp of masala powder (I used the chicken masala powder I had on hand)
10. salt to taste
11. 1 tsp of sugar
12. Roast and powder 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp mustard seeds)
13. salt to taste
14. 2 tsp oil
15. fresh coriander leaves for garnish

1. Cook the chickpeas to tender and set aside
2. Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and set aside
3. In a pan(wok) heat oil and when hot, add the onions and saute till they are translucent.
4. Add the powdered mixture and all the powders, salt and sugar and mix it in well
5. Add in the cauliflower and let the spices coat them, now mix in the chickpeas and give a good toss and turn off the heat
6. Mix in the mangoes, lemon juice and spinach when ready to serve.
7. Sprinkle coriander leaves on top

Great as a salad or as a side for rice or chapatis

I am going to send this off to MLLA - 23 an event hosted over at The Well-Seasoned Cook by Susan who is also the founder of this even and my kind of person with her love of all things beans.


  1. LOL @ flossing after stringy Mangoes, so true! I just bought Yellow mangoes and reddish Mangoes too. Yellow ones are not stringy but pretty sour, I had to use chilli pd and salt with slices. Good but not sweet as I was expected.
    Curried looks great, I think my yellow mango is suitable for this perfectly.

  2. I just want tht platter....looks gud ..wow is the word...am drooling

  3. I've made this twice already, after seeing it on Nandita's blog. Once was yesterday, and a little bit is still left, just the channa, not the mango. I didn't add the cauliflower but this salad is quite a revelation. Once ate a curried mayo, mango and chicken salad, this is much better!

  4. I have the Ottolengji book and i love that book.
    This year hubby as not gone to London in May/june otherwise when he is there and when he sees the Alphonso mangoes stacked up he buys few boxes and bring back home. I love that plate of mango salade looks so so yumm.

  5. Very interesting salad, I am always looking for new ways to get mango into our food.

    We do have some traditional ways of using mango in our food though, which are not very well known - Mango Saasam (Konkani recipe, which I have adapted and posted on my blog), Mango Sambar, Mango Rice, Mango Dal (Andhra)...

    This one is a must try too

  6. You said it girl! The frustration of mangoes expats feel is hard for folks back home to understand. I have stopped buying mangoes here already but will give the yellow mangoes from mexico a try. The salad looks and sounds amazing. :)

    LOL on the floss, brush. :0

  7. On thats me btw, Miri - www.peppermill-miri.blogspot.com - as Rshan...

  8. Well said about the mangoes, ISG. But then we have found mangoes called Ataulfo mangoes at Costco. They are amazingly sweet and not expensive.
    This combination of curry is unique and sounds delicious. Never paired mangoes with veggies before.

  9. i know, i have bought mangoes so many times only to miss the 'real' mangoes. this salad looks great! i am a big fan of savory salads with a sweet ingredient added to it and can't wait to see how this one would taste.

  10. This is new , i have some mangoes the same way you have mentioned... will surely give it a try :)

  11. Mangoes in India are also not that great da..Dont think will ever get to have those sweetest mangoes even here. you guys atleast are able to keep them in fridge , we cant even do that as mangoes give out those divine smell absolutely with no sign of taste.

    Anyways, Perfect salad. will finish off all those mangoes stacked in here with this yummy looking salad.

  12. In one of my friend's place in Trichy, I had the pleasure of eating mangaa kulambu, it was made with half ripe mango in tamarind sauce and I was steeling my tummy for what was to come - but it was very tasty. when you cook a half ripe mango, it turns more sweeter somehow.

    slightly sour thayir saadam, sweeeet mampazham!! it works! ;)

    awwwww.... man! I'm craving for malgova here. I think I'll make a phonecall and whine about it for a few mins.

    The recent mango love for me is frozen mangoes - directly from the freezer. they replace icecream for me and taste very good. I also put them in curried quinoa salad.

    After that whiny phonecall, I'll go look for the mexican mango you mention. Is that the ataulfo one? I'll remember to put it in the fridge. Have avacados as well. so there's a nice salad coming up soon. chickpeas and mango - will defintiely give this a try.

  13. Kavitha, I can imagine the taste of that one, I used to smear chili powder and salt on half ripened mangoes and they tasted heavenly.

    Yes curd rice with mangoes was my grandfather's favorite and to this day it still evokes memories of good times.

    It is not the ataulfo one, they are stringy, this is just plain yellow mango on the label.

  14. Fabulous salad, looks awesome !

  15. I have not seen these small yellow ones yet. But we get a Mexican variety which tastes really good, no strings attached.

    I have never added or had anything curried with ripe Mangoes, sounds good

  16. I'm drooling..sounds too good..

  17. nice combo of tastes, sour and spicy..

  18. I gave up a long time back and now I don't even check actually. Maybe should start looking again. I'll check next time for yellow Mexican mangoes. Thanks for the name!

  19. Lovely recipe. Looks so good. YUM!

  20. love the salad/stir fry. It looks delicious. Our Indian store doesn't get Indian mangoes because they're so expensive. But he has some delicious mexican ones.

  21. Recipe looks great. I love fruits but usually don't like adding them in dishes. I have found very good mangoes in regular grocery stores (not Mexican variety, I found those sour and not so meaty) and I also have found good/sweet/meaty mangoes in the Indian grocery store. Granted there are not as many varieties like in India but I always wonder why people think we can't find good mangoes here in the US.

  22. rk, good for you that you are able to enjoy some great mangoes. Unlucky for those of us who find the Indian grocery store mangoes overpriced, stringy and sour.

  23. That is so weird! Just yesterday someone was telling me the Ottolenghi cookbook is to die for. Now I may have to buy it...

  24. Gorgeous dish - it glows. I have been holding back on an Ottolenghi cookbook b/c I have so darned many many kitchen tomes all over.

    I've never found a Latin American mango that I like, Mexico included. Tommy Atkins is the most common here, but I won't touch them anymore. Every summer I invest in cases of Kent, Kiett, and Hayden fr/ Florida (you can find them here on rare occasion)- not cheap, but at least not wasteful. They've got that smooth and turpentine flesh similar to some Asian varieties. Have not found fresh Alfonso in my Indian grocer (didn't care for the canned), but do purchase & am happy w/ the unripe ones.

    Thanks for your MLLA recipe, Indosungod.


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