This is a very simple elegant curry from the heart of Kerala. It’s hot, tangy, sweet and creamy all at once. It reminds me of Aditya, a chef I worked with at Gymkhana in London, who cooked it for me one night. He talked about this curry as if it were a rare creature, and said he’d had an exceptional version of it only once outside Kerala, cooked by Chef Eldo at Quilon in London. I’m yet to meet Chef Eldo, or taste his mango curry, but I’d hope that he and Aditya would approve of mine.
In Kerala, this would be served with rice and a few vegetable side dishes. At home for lunch, I eat it with rice, but for an evening meal I have it with spiced greens, such as asparagus thoran. Buy the best mangoes you can find for this – firm, but a touch tender when gently pressed are perfect, because that indicates ripeness. It’s worth tracking down fresh curry leaves, because they give the dish an essential smoky, citrus flavour (freeze any excess for another dish), but either way do not use dried ones.
Prep 5 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4 as a side
2 large or 3 smallish mangoes – you’ll need 650g flesh in total, once peeled and chopped
4 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
10 fresh curry leaves
1-2 green finger chillies, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
½ tbsp ground coriander
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
250ml coconut yoghurt – I like The Coconut Collaborative’s
1 x 160ml tin coconut cream
Peel the mangoes, then slice off a fat “cheek” from one side of each fruit, keeping the knife as close to the pit as possible. Repeat on the other side, then cut off the two ends, salvaging as much flesh as possible. Cut the flesh into 2cm square pieces. (Keep the pits to nibble on as a cook’s perk.)
Put the oil in a medium saucepan over a low to medium heat and, once hot, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and chilli. When the mixture crackles (after about 30 seconds), add the turmeric and coriander, stir to mix, then add the mango, salt and sugar. Stir to coat the fruit in the spices, then pour in 150ml water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, leave to simmer for 10 minutes, then add the coconut yoghurt and cream, and simmer for another couple of minutes, until hot. Take off the heat and serve with rice.