It seems I have reached pumpkin saturation point, just for the moment anyway. And with no pumpkin limits to constrain me I could flip open a cookbook at any page, and make what was on the page. Given I had the right ingredients of course. It thus took me at least three flips to get to this mango curry recipe. I first discarded a recipe that involved a three-hour marinade, since by then I would have expired from hunger; interesting, but strictly for weekends only. I next had to ignore the gulab jamun recipe, since delicious though they may be, desserts made almost entirely of sugar don’t, to my mind, constitute a main meal. However, with some work I eventually landed on the page for mango gosht, or lamb mango curry. Apart from the sorry lack of lamb in my fridge I had all the ingredients and, what’s more, I would be able to crack into my amchoor for the recipe.
I first came across this intriguing ingredient in a recipe for chana masala, a sour chickpea curry. Amchoor is green (unripe) mango powder, so is very sour, but with a hint of sweetness at the same time, and a nice fruity taste. The closest substitute I used in chana masala was lime juice, but it’s nothing compared with the real thing. Consequently I spent a fair portion of my time in India worrying about obtaining some, and of course once I had, and carefully brought it home, I didn’t use it for months on end. But finally, here was a recipe where it was needed, absolutely, unavoidably required, and my trip of however many miles was worth it. Because of its strong, sour flavour you don’t need much amchoor when it is called for and kept dry it should keep for a long time, like most spices. If you happen to have a good Indian supermarket go and buy some; I’m sure there are lots of potential uses for it which haven’t been considered yet (I’m thinking mango margaritas with amchoor instead of lime).
Adapted from Khazana of Indian Recipes
The original recipe may well have been meant to be slightly sweeter than this was; ripe Indian mangoes are so sweet they hurt your teeth, nothing compared to the semi-ripe one I used, shipped in from who-knows-where. That said I found this more than sweet and fruity enough, almost slightly refreshing. I also urge you to follow the instructions and grate the onion. I got bored halfway through grating it and diced the remainder and the difference was startling. The grated shreds melted into translucent nothingness in the pan while the diced pieces made the texture a little too chunky.
300g chicken breast, chopped into 2″ pieces
100ml sour cream
1/2 teaspoon amchoor
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 small cinnamon stick (1″ in length, I broke one in half)
1 small onion, grated
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cayenne
Half a mango, peeled and sliced into 2″ chunks
1. Mix the sour cream, amchoor and turmeric together in a small bowl. Put the chicken in the mixture and ensure all pieces are coated thoroughly on all sides. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes (if it’s more than an hour put the meat in the fridge; if not leave it out to come up to room temperature).
2. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a large pan and add the mustard seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick and cook until the seeds crackle. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent.
3. Add the chicken to the pan, as well as all the marinade left in the bowl and stir quickly over a high heat until the chicken is cooked on all sides. Add the ginger and stir some more
4. Add the coriander, cayenne and mango and stir. Add about 250ml water to the pan and bring it up to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the sauce thickens up. Add salt to taste, leave to bubble for a little longer, then serve over rice.