Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mango & Sticky Rice

Sweet Mangoes are readily available in Asheville this time of year. The best ones can be found at Smiley's in Fletcher. You can get a case of a dozen or so large mangoes for just $12. Just keep in mind that Smiley's is open only on weekends.  Like the Smiley ones, they are Mexican, and are very sweet -  as sweet as any you can get in Thailand.  You can also find Marathon brand mangoes at Greenlife/Whole Foods.  My husband and I love to eat mangoes - freshly cut and sometimes chilled. We also love to make mango shakes and lassis. If we have leftover mango and/or they're ripening too quickly, we like to cut them into small chunks and freeze for later use.  Dehydrating mango strips is something else we love to do.  By far, though, our greatest love is Mango and Sticky Rice, a sweet dish found all over Thailand. I made some the other night (photo below) for a dinner party at a friend's house. It topped off a wonderful meal.  For the really curious, you ought to google Durian and Sticky Rice. 

Asheville has about a 3-4 month mango window, where the best of very sweet Mexican mangoes make it into most supermarkets and farmers markets at reasonable prices.

I will let my husband Allen share his perspective on mangoes:

This is my favorite way to eat very sweet mangoes.  Kade's a machine when she cuts them.  And Thais know how to cut their mangoes, a fruit that's available year round in the "Land of Smiles."  When hungry, I can eat four whole mangoes a day.  The first really sweet mango I ever tried was in New Delhi.  I had a lassi, in fact, and it was incredible.  I remember returning to Headland after my stint in Central Asia and that travel experience in India, and I discovered from Uncle Watty that he loved mangoes.  The ones he would buy, because really good fresh ones weren't available, were actually chilled mangoes in a jar.  He loved them!  Years later, I remember visiting him on my returns home from Thailand, and feeling kind of sorry for him because he would not ever be able to eat a super fresh, super sweet mango that you might just take for granted if you were Thai.  Nowadays, golden Mexican mangoes are making it into our markets, and they are just as sweet as Thai ones.  All I can say is stay away from the reddish-green variety of mangoes in the supermarket, and only buy the golden or champagne mangoes - that is, if you want sweet ones!  When not eating mangoes freshly cut, we sometimes dehydrate them using an Excalibur.  Other times, we make shakes using the Vitamix 5200.  


And when the mango gets really nice and dry, box it in plastic.  Stores forever.

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