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Alphonso is the king of all mangoes, and mangoes are the king of all fruits, which makes Alphonso the emperor of fruits! Ask any immigrant Indian here in the United States, and when it comes to food, we all miss our Indian mangoes. And no, the Latin American mangoes are no comparison. India produces at least a couple hundred varieties of mangoes and is the largest producer of mangoes globally.
Good news is that we can get the same mangoes in a canned pulp form, and they taste wonderful! Mango pulp can be used in many Indian desserts, and you can always puree a mango as a substitute for mango pulp. But not all mangoes are created equal, and their use in a dish/dessert will depend on their flavor and their texture.
To begin with, know that mangoes can be consumed raw or ripe. Green mangoes are usually raw mangoes, but for the mangoes to be raw, they have to be green on the outside and white on the inside. These mangoes are extremely sour, and unless you are used to them, you will find these mangoes not edible.
Green mangoes are used as a marinade (by grating them), pickles (raw mango pickle), cooked relish, or as a souring agent in curries/sauces. You will find green mangoes at Indian stores, as most other cuisines do not cook with green mangoes.
Some mangoes may be ripe and still be green on the outside. So how do we know if the mango is ripe? The best way to tell is to pick up the fruit, smell it for its mango smell, and feel it. If it is hard, then the fruit is not ripe. If it is semi-soft and you can press it and create a dent, it is ready for consumption. A super-soft fruit may have over-ripened, and that is not of good use.
Yellow mangoes are ripe mangoes, and these differ in flavor and texture. Depending on the mango, its use is determined. A Mexican mango that is yellow on the outside and golden orange on the inside (just like Alphonso) is used to make mango lassi, mango milkshake, mango ice cream, and mango sorbet. The skin is removed, and the flesh is pureed in all of these preparations.
Certain ripe mangoes have higher fiber content, and they cannot be used as a puree, so they are eaten raw, in a salad, or a fruit salad. The fibrous texture makes it easier to chop and handle these mangoes when cut into cubes and/or sliced.
Mango pulp from Alphonso mangoes is a treasure, and you can easily find these canned pulp mangoes at the Indian store or on Amazon. Desai mango pulp is my preferred mango pulp. However, it isn't easy to find, so I use the Ratna mango pulp brand, and if I cannot find Ratna, then I go for Deep or Swad brands. Kesar is another variety of mangoes from India that are sold as pulp and can be used as a substitute if you cannot find alphonso mango pulp.
Our recipes using mango pulp:
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