Mad for Mangoes

Organic mangoes

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It’s mango season here in Bangalore. Everyone eats lots and lots of mangoes. There is discusssion about the best mangoes this year, where to buy them and prices. 

The best mangoes

Alphonso mangoes are generally regarded as the best mangoes (oh yes, there are many different types) as well as ‘chemical free’ mangoes (those not injected to ripen early). Organic mangoes are highly sought after. Our neighbour coordinated a delivery for the complex from an organic mango farm just outside Bangalore at ₽70 a kilo. They made a killing as everyone put in large orders to cover not only themselves but helpers, gardeners and driver’s too. Everyone is an aficionado.

Buying mangoes

At is time of year farmers appear on the same street outside a swimming complex in Bangalore. (It’s summer holiday time here and parents frequent these places more as they desperately try to entertain hot energetic children.) It is stall after stall after stall of nothing but mangoes. It really is potluck as to which one is the best. Stopping at one roadside seller we asked if his mangoes had been forcibly ripened (injected with chemicals to get them to ripen early). On assuring us he had not we taste tested before we bought. They were delicious. Not organic but delicious none the less. Of course, they were Alphonso mangoes.

Eating mangoes

It’s quite an art slicing a mango, which has a huge centre stone, for eating in a moderate, polite way. Helpers here have it down to an art and can do so quickly. I make a right hash of it. I do however like to just bite into the (washed!) mango and let the sweet sticky juices run down my chin and fingers as I enjoy the tasty yellow flesh inside.

Types of mangoes

Mangoes of India are well famous in the world for its sweetness, richness and flavor. India is the largest producer of mangoes and it is the most important fruit of the country. Most popular types of mangoes in India are Alphonsos, Badami, Chausa and Dasheri. There are around 283 types of mangoes found in India, out of which only 30 are well-known. Here is a list of a few types of mangoes cultivated in India.

Alphonso from Ratnagiri, Maharashtra

The Alphonso Mango is one of the best Variety Mango found in India in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. Maharashtra, Ratnagiri, Raigad, and Konkan are the only place in western part of India where the Alphonso Mango are cultivated and also one of the most expensive kinds of mango in India. 

Badami – Karnataka Alphonso

Badami mangoes are also called as Alphonso of Karnataka state, where we live. There is a certain pride about this mango and it is usually the one bought if Alphonso mangoes are unavailable. The texture and taste are quite similar to the Alphonso Mango from the region of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.

Chaunsa – North India

Chaunsa is one the sweetest mangoes grown in North India, It has medium oblong and has a golden yellow colour with a red blush. It mainly produced in Mirpur Khas Sindh in Punjab of Pakistan.

Dasheri – Malihabad, Uttar Pradesh

Dasheri is delicious variety of mango basically grown in North parts of India.  It is one of the very famous variety of mango in north India. Malihabad in Uttar Pradesh of North India is the largest producer of Dasheri mango and the most popular variety of Dasheri.

Kesar – Saurashtra, Gujarat

Kesar Mangoes are also simply called Gir Kesar because they are cultivated and grown in the foothills of Girnar in the districts of Junagadh and Amreli.

Langra – Northern India

Langra is the prominent variety of mango and one of the most superior varieties of Mango from the Northern Indian sub-continent. Langra mangoes are originally from near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Mulgoba, Tamil Nadu

Mulgoba is one of the best mango cultivated and grown in Tamil Nadu state and other parts of South Indi.  Mulgoba is also known as the “Alphonso of South India”.

Neelam

Neelam mango grows in many areas of India, usually found in abundance in June. These mangoes are a favourite in Hyderabad.

Raspuri -Karnataka

Raspuri are an oval shaped mango with excellent flavour and juicy in texture and considered as the Queen of Mangoes in India. Also known as Peddarasalu but known as Rasapuri in Karnataka.

Himsagar- West Bengal and Orissa

Himsagar Mangoes are the specialty of West Bengal and Orissa. Himsagar area considered to be one of the top five mangoes in India. 

Totapuri -South India

Totapuri Mango is the famous mango found primarily in south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Totapuri is one of the main types cultivated and  grown in India.

Banganapalli -Banganapalle, Andhra Pradesh

Began Phali also known as Banganapalli is one of the most common cultivated mango in the town of Banganapalle in Andhra Pradesh. These mangoes are large and are known as known as The King of Mangoes in South India.

Shopping for mangoes

Not all shops carry all the varieties of mangoes, aside from the mango market I have already mentioned. Certain shops carry certain types. BigBasket, the online shopping app, carries six different types of mango being Alphonso, Badami, Raspuri, Totapuri, Banganapalli and Mallika

Whatever your choice of Mango, enjoy Mango season.

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Yugadi –  a New Year celebration

Mysore Palace lit up for Ugadi

What is Yugadi?

The term Yugadi is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘beginning of a new yuga or a new era’ or the beginning of a new age. The festival of Ugadi is a change in the lunar orbit and the beginning of the Hindu lunar calendar i.e New Years Day.  

In 2017 it falls on Wednesday 29th March and is a public holiday. It falls on a different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar.

It is the beginning of spring, a season associated with joy and prosperity in India.

How is it celebrated?



It is celebrated with gatherings of the extended family with lots of food and feasting. Preparations begin a week before the festival with houses given a thorough wash, shopping for new clothes and buying other festival items. 

On the morning of Ugadi people wake up before dawn and take a ceremonial bath with oil and Bengal gram flour which is believed to purify the body and soul to perform the rituals. New clothes and jewellery are then worn.

The house door / entrance is decorated with fresh mango leaves to signify good crops and general well being. As they also give out oxygen it will bring freshness into the home (and good health).  Neem leaves are also used (which act as a disinfectant). People draw colourful floral designs (rangoli) at the entrance to their homes to signify they are ready to welcome guests.

People perform the ritual worship to god invoking his blessings before they start off the new year. They pray for health, wealth and prosperity and success in business -it’s a good time to start new businesses. Mantras are chanted and puja performed. The most important ritual of the day is the panchanga sravana which is an informal function where elderly and respected person reads out the almanac and predictions are made for the new year. This ritual used to be performed by priests in temple and focussed on the rain forecast for the year.

There is a symbolic eating of a dish (a paste) with six tastes called ‘Bevu-Bella’ which is only served during this festival. It symbolises that life is a different mix of different experiences and human emotions: sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise. These experiences should all be accepted equally throughout the new year. The six tastes are: sour (tamarind juice), sweet (jaggery), salt, bitter (Neem buds), astringent (unripened mango) and spicy hot (green chilli) or pungent and are called Ugadi Pachhadi. Eating this dish is believed to subdue the Arishadvargas, the six passions of the mind, desire or emotions attributed to living beings. These are: kama (desire or lust), krodha (anger), lobh or lobha (greed), moha (attachment), mada or ahankar (ego, pride) and matsarya (jealousy). These negative charactersistics are believed to prevent man achieving moksha or salvation. A harmonious blend of ingredients in the pachadi is considered to eventually help to win over self and gain eternal bliss. As a consequence great care and skill is displayed in the preparation of these dishes.

The fragrance of intense sticks waft through the warm air and in homes the aroma of puliogure (tamarind rice) and holige (a sweet dish) fill the air. These dishes are believed to bring peace and prosperity when offered to the goddess Parvathi.
   
In Karnataka there is a special dish called Obbattu (or Holige) which is a filling of jaggery and boiled sugar to make a paste which is stuffed inside a roti. It is eaten with ghee, milk or coconut milk and can be eaten hot or cold.

Celebrations by our friends

We bought sarees for three of our friends celebrating Ugadi. They were delighted. They are all going to t heir villages to celebrate with their families for a few days. 

Yugadi Habbada Shubhashayagalu! (Kannada for “Greetings for the festival of Ugadi”)