In India, there are two seasons: monsoon season and mango season. "Almost every state has its own mango jingoism; if love of mangoes is nearly universal in India, so is disagreement over which variety is best," according to this New York Times piece all about the anticipated 100-day season, traditionally lasting from late March through June.
A mango is a mango is a mango? Not in Mumbai, where people might be offended if you suggested eating anything but an Alphonso. We'll be a little less picky for this mango meal, especially since it can be tough to find the prized Alphonsos in some markets, particularly this year with hotter weather arriving earlier in India, cutting the mango season short. It wasn't until 2006 that you could even legally buy Alphonsos in the United States, when a ban on imported Indian mangoes was lifted.
When shopping for mangoes—many stores carry the Mexican varieties, like Ataulfo and Haden—pick one that's plump and heavy for its size. Give it a whiff; it should be fragrant.
If you'll be eating the mango that day or the next, feel around for a ripe one. The ripe test = you should be able to slightly indent its skin with your thumb. But avoid the mushy ones, or any with brown spots.
As you'll notice, none of these featured recipes are indigenous to India, but they celebrate the mango, and we can all agree on that, right? Combine jicama, mango, and avocados for this doctored-up guacamole.
Soba Noodles with Mango and Eggplant
Anyone else a little obsessed with the Plenty cookbook? Yotam Ottolenghi's vibrant vegetarian cookbook combines flavors in stunning, satisfying, and fresh ways. Slices of cool, creamy mango combine with nutty soba noodles and smoky, charred eggplant in this cold noodle dish. The mangoes add sweet bursts of fruitiness and the salty, sour qualities of the tangy dressing brings it all together.
The mango puree in this light, refreshing mousse pie can be made with fresh or frozen mangoes pureed in a blender.
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