Being in India does have its advantages: Mangoes.
Every summer, along with the unbearable heat, comes the myriad of fruits that attempt to quench the discomforts that the season brings.
And of these, the mango holds the highest place. In the Tamil literature, three fruits are celebrated to be the king of fruits, worthy of the monarchs and the Gods alike: ‘Maa, Pala, Vazhai’ – translated: mango, jack-fruit and banana.
From the time this yellow, succulent, sweet, fragrant fruit hits the market, the frenzy begins. No meal is complete without a mango till the end of the season. Some of us even hold on to the mangoes by making purees and preserving them in air-tight containers!
My favourite is the ‘Rumani’. It is sweet but has a tangy overtone, and the skin peels off like wrapping paper, so this is the easiest of all mangoes to eat whole. No knives needed. Just take one, unwrap and enjoy. Sadly the Rumani is the last to arrive and quickest to leave. So from the time the mangoes first hit the stalls, I wait patiently for the Rumani to come.
And when it comes, I make my Vanilla custard. I have never been a fan of home-made custards using whole eggs. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for eggs. When I was young, I ate up to 3 eggs for a considerable number of years. But the dominant smell of eggs in a dessert upsets me. So I prefer instant custard, particularly Brown and Polson’s Vanilla Custard.
I don’t really need to give out the recipe here. Just follow the instructions on the back of the packet to make the custard. Refrigerate.
Serve with chopped mangoes, chilled (any variety will do, but I am partial to the Rumani).
The velvety creaminess of the custard, and the sweet and sharp tang of the mango is like a symphony in your mouth.
It is one of those things that words just cannot explain. You must savor it, to experience the joy I am trying desperately to convey.
And so, I wait till next summer 🙂