Sticky, juicy mangoes are a summer fruit favourite and, as early as May, the much-coveted alphonso variety comes into season. Once ripe, sliced mango can be served simply by itself or with just a squeeze of lime – and, as the writer Nikesh Shukla puts it, “a delicious mango can make you forget, for the time it takes to eat it, that the world is a depressing place right now”. But the mango’s smooth flesh and honeyed flavour lend themselves to a variety of sweet and savoury dishes and drinks. With this in mind, 10 top chefs and drinks experts tell us how they like to use this delectable fruit.
Mango sticky rice cocktail
Juliette Larrouy, head of bars at Two Schmucks, Barcelona
Pick fresh, ripe mangoes, put the flesh in the blender then strain the pulp. Mix with a simple sugar syrup, one part mango to one part syrup. Heat coconut milk with basmati rice – you don’t want to cook the rice, just infuse the milk with a rice flavour. It’s best to do this in bulk: for 1 litre of coconut milk, use 100g of rice. Add 50ml infused coconut milk to 40ml of the mango syrup and shake with a pinch of salt, 10ml lemon juice, 45ml your choice of spirit – I like cognac but you can also use rum – and plenty of ice. Then strain and serve.
Mango hot sauce
Gina Hopkins, head chef at The Spread Eagle, London
When mangos have gone soft and they’re just dripping juice, I like to make them into a hot sauce. Blitz the flesh of one big mango with 2tbsp white vinegar, ½tsp salt, and chillies – the chilli you use, and how much, will affect the kind of sauce you have. You can go for habaneros, which have a fruity heat that’s great with mango, or jalapeños, which are less spicy but bring a nice herbaceousness. If you want a smoky sauce, go for the chipotle chilli. It’s really customisable and good on eggs at breakfast, or tacos or rice dishes – it’s a great all-rounder!
The best mango I’ve ever had was an alphonso mango. It was a deep orange colour and tasted phenomenal. When you’ve got produce like that, you can just serve it as is, with some vanilla madeleines and whipped cream. When mangoes are in season, I also make a lovely mango pavlova. I make individual meringues – not too sweet and packed full of vanilla – with alphonso mango and clotted cream. The cream brings a comforting dairy taste without sugar. I serve it with a passionfruit sauce, almost like a vinaigrette dressing, and some chopped fresh mint.
Tofu poke bowl with mango salsa
Romuald Pokrywka, executive chef at Planet Organic, London
This is a sweet, tangy, refreshing dish for a hot day – a mix of savoury and sweet. Make a dressing of 1 crushed garlic clove, 2tbsp grated ginger, 3tbsp tamari sauce, 1tbsp brown rice syrup, 1tbsp sesame oil and 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar. To make the salsa, dice the flesh of 1 mango and mix with a quarter of a chopped red onion, a handful of chopped coriander, 1 sliced red chilli, and mix with the juice of half a lime. Then build the bowls: 2 cups cooked quinoa for the base, topped with 200g marinated tofu, ½ cup edamame beans, 1 cup shredded red cabbage, four radishes and half an avocado. Add the salsa, then drizzle with the dressing. Serves two.
Japanese salmon tacos
Ronnie Bonetti, culinary director at Yoku, Cheltenham
To make these “tacos”, cut a nori (dried edible seaweed) sheet into large rectangles and coat one side with a light, tempura-style batter (you can make this with cornflour and sparkling water). Shallow fry so it goes nice and crispy to form the taco base. Once cooled, dice up a quarter of a mango, 100g of fresh raw salmon, and divide both across three of the nori tacos. Brush with ponzu sauce (shop-bought, or make your own using orange juice, lemon juice, ginger, gluten-free soy sauce and a splash of mirin). Top with sliced spring onions and fresh coriander. Absolutely delicious.
Liam Davy, head of bars at Hawksmoor, London, Manchester and Edinburgh
Mango and tequila are a great combination. To make this version of a paloma, take 50ml good quality white tequila, 100ml mango kombucha (found in health food stores) and 100ml mango soda (like Rubicon). Mix in a tall glass with a squeeze of lime (about 10ml) and a good pinch of sea salt. Garnish with a slice of dried mango and a lime wedge on a cocktail stick. Mango can be a super-sweet flavour, but using kombucha in this drink makes it taste a little bit drier and a little bit more grown up.
Amberjack and mango carpaccio
Mirella Pau, head chef at Tutto, Brighton (opens June)
I first had this dish on holiday in Sicily – it’s so nice and fresh in the hot weather. Fruit with fish can seem odd, but this tastes fantastic. Take a 200g fillet of great amberjack fish and freeze for at least nine hours (to kill any bacteria). Before serving, defrost and slice very thinly, along with the flesh of half a mango. Combine one part aged balsamic vinegar with four parts extra virgin olive oil to make a dressing. On the plate, drizzle the fish and fruit slices with the dressing, then season with powdered coriander seeds, pink pepper and Maldon salt flakes. Top with two grated almonds and a little chopped dill.
Alphonso mango lassi
Surender Mohan, executive chef at Jamavar, London
This lassi recipe makes the most of alphonso mangoes during their fleeting season and allows the fruit to really sing. Blend 300g alphonso mango pulp with 700g natural yoghurt and 30g sugar. Pour into two glasses and garnish with chopped alphonso mango and a sprig of mint. I enjoy drinking these on warm, spring days – they make the perfect sweet and cooling accompaniment to spicy dishes, such as laal maas (slow-cooked lamb shank with Rajasthani chilli).
Mango salsa salad
This is a refreshing, colourful, vegan dish which is easy to prepare, too. The recipe is perfect for a party because it serves 10 people – and actually, making it in bulk like this is the best way to lock in the aromas. Simply mix together 170g chopped fresh coriander, 400g fresh lemon juice, 70g chopped green peppers, 70g cumin seeds, 90g yuzu, 250g fresh grated ginger, 2kg diced alphonso mango (with skins removed), 80g chopped jalapeños and 700g coconut yoghurt. Leave to marinade for 12 hours, then stir through 50g chopped fresh mint before serving with corn tortillas.
Alphonso mango cheesecake
Avinash Shashidhara, head chef at Pahli Hill, London
For me, summer is all about mango. In India, where I grew up, there are more than 250 varieties – I remember going to the market with my grandfather and buying big bags of them. For this easy mango cheesecake, mix 175-200g crushed digestive biscuits with 100g melted butter, and press on to the base of a cake tin. Then, whisk together 450g cream cheese, 180g double cream and 175g caster sugar, before folding in 300g chopped alphonso mango. Soak two gelatine leaves in water until jelly-like, then place in a pan and gently melt. Once cooled, fold into the cheesecake mix before pouring on to the biscuit base. Set in the fridge for two to three hours, then decorate with sliced alphonso mangoes.