Nothing is more synonymous with an Indian summer than this delicious, golden ‘King of Fruits'. With the Agni Nakshatram casting its heat spells over the southern states, we dig into the refreshing yumminess of mangoes now more than ever. Indian mango recipes range from pickles to desserts and everything in between. And every type of dish uses a different kind of mango based on its sweetness, tanginess, fibre content and juice. Raw or ripe, mangoes are one of the most anticipated fruits of the country.
The mango season in India starts as early as end of March and lasts all the way till the first showers of monsoon, in the end of June. India is rich in varieties of mangoes. However, the king of the crop is universally considered to be the Alphonso, especially out of India and specifically, the Ratnagiri variety that hails from Maharashtra.
Considering the other delicious varieties abundantly available down south, it's a pity that more people don't experience them. Just as the north has its Dusheris, Langras and Kesars, the south has its favourites, too! Here are five mango varieties from the south that you must taste!
Banganapalli – Andhra Pradesh
Significantly larger than their Alphonso counterparts, the Banganapalli mango hails from a village of the same name in Andhra Pradesh. With its pleasant aroma, thin blemish-free skin and fibre-free sweet yellow pulp, the Banganapalli is certainly the choice for those who don’t like fibrous textures in their fruit. It is also the first mango to bag the coveted Geographical Indication tag (GI tag).
A cousin to the Alphonso, these paisley counterparts are undeniably sweet but not cloyingly so. What sets the Badami apart is its unpredictability. Every fruit tastes distinct in flavour. If plucked too early, its inedible. Too late and it turns mushy. Just right, its a delightful mouthful of bursting flavour, fibre-less pulp in a pleasing golden colour.
Distinct in its appearance with pleasing reds and greens among the golden skin, the “Sindhoora” variety is popular in Tamil Nadu and is easily one of the most affordable varieties of the fruit. In fact, the “Sindhoora’ is also called ‘honey’ mango owing to its super sweet nature. This is the reason that it finds its way into confectionary uses of making jams, jellies and preservatives.
Very distinguishable in its looks, the Totapuri also goes by the names of 'Kilimooku’, ‘Collector’, and 'Bangalora’ and is native to both India and Sri Lanka. It is named for its distinct shape which is reminiscent of a parrot’s beak. It has a a piquant flavour – something that is coveted among the other sweet varieties of mangoes available. It is the most popular mango variety for making pulp and other processed mango products for shipping around the world.
Mammoth in size, the Malgova is legendary to Hyder Ali’s Mysuru orchards, where it is rumoured that each fruit weighed between 1-1.5 kg a piece! When compared to the waif-like Alphonso, the Malgova almost looks unsightly. The flavour though, is a welcoming sweetness with the slightest undercurrent of tartness. The pink blush at the tip is the only indicator of its ripeness and that’s what you want to be looking for.
No matter what mango you choose to enjoy and in whichever way, nothing beats the satisfaction of reliving childhood memories. A mango was a priced commodity – something to be enjoyed stealthily in solitude over a wash basin, the sticky juices snaking their way down your forearm, even as your mouth was bursting with the pulp you were cheating the skin from. Ah, goodness!