Recipe – Mahni – A Tangy Himachali Dish Made From Raw Mangoes


I discovered the authentic mouth-watering dishes from the north-western areas of Himachal Pradesh ( Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur, Kangra and Chamba districts) during my visit to the ancestral village of my in-laws.  The food, mainly vegetarian, is prepared keeping in mind the geographical and climatic conditions. Simple and nutritious, the food includes dishes made from locally available pulses, cereals, tubers, vegetables and fruits. Milk is also used in the form of curds and buttermilk in many of the dishes.

Some of the indigenous dishes include, babroo, bhaturu, lasaure ki sabzi, ratalu ki sabzi,  sarson ka saag and other leafy greens of the season, kadhi, mah ki daal, khatta, mahni, kehru or rehru, pahari madra, rotis made from maize or wheat flour, rice, chick peas, black gram, red kidney beans (Rajmah), rot ( a sweet deep fried wheat bread), gulgule, bated (steamed or fried pedrode) to name a few. I will post the recipes as and when I make them.

Mahni is a delightful semi liquid dish made from raw or half-ripe green mangoes and is usually eaten with plain boiled rice as a side dish.

To make Mahni you will need :

Raw or half-ripe mangoes – 2 large

Onion – One large

Roasted Cumin seed Powder – 1 Teaspoon

Salt – To taste

Sugar – If required (depends on how sweet or sour you like the dish)

Red chili Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

Fresh Crushed Mint Leaves –  1 tbsp

Fresh chopped coriander leaves –  1 tbsp

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To prepare :

Wash and boil the raw mangoes.  ( you can steam them too)

Let them cool a little and take out the pulp in a bowl.

Mash the pulp to make it smooth.

Finely chop the onions.

Wash the fresh mint leaves and crush them a little. Save a few for garnish.

Add cold water to the pulp stirring it gently till it makes a nice semi liquid preparation.

Add the chopped onions and spices.

Add a little jaggery or sugar if the preparation is too sour. I like it tangy sweet.

Taste to adjust the amount of sweetness or spices.

Garnish with mint leaves and keep it in the fridge.

Serve cool.

Tip – you can add a few  Moong pakodi, boondi or handful  of boiled black gram to it. I like it just simple. Never use metal to stir, serve or store sour preparations.

The first version is with slightly ripened ambi (those which start turning light yellow) with sugar.

This is with absolutely raw ambi and organic jaggery. Don’t go by color. The gud is dark but I’ve used very little in it. The taste is perfect spicy sour n sweet in that order. The one in small bowl us without jaggery. No meetha for mom coz of slightly high blood sugar.
I prefer this version to the sugar one. We add boiled kala chana too to Manhi. Tastes divine.

I first had Manhi at Mandi bus station. There was a waterfall after the bridge and a small dhaba opposite it. They served Mahni with boiled bengal gram or kala chana, simple Kali daal and rice. Tea was made in one corner. Mostly the driver’s stopped there. One of the best meals I ever had. I was thirteen at that time.

To make with boiled Bengal gram or kala chana – Soak bengal gram or kala chana overnight in water. Throw the water in the morning and wash the chana. Pressure cook or boil in minimal water and then let it boil so all the water gets absorbed and dried up. Cool the chana is a bowl and once it is at room temperature add it to the basic manhi recipe.

 

Enjoy this tangy sweet dish with hot steamed rice or hot fresh phulka.

Recipes: Cooking with Mangoes


Mangoes are one of the most loved fruits all over India and are full of nutrition. Raw mangoes are used in many recipes and dried slices of raw mango are powdered to make aamchur (dry mango powder) which is used in some of the dishes to add tanginess.

Green unripe mango has a large amount of starch which gradually changes into glucose, sucrose and maltose as the fruit begins to ripe. It is a rich source of pectin which diminishes after the stone is formed. Unripe mango is sour in taste because of  presence of oxalic, citric and malice acids.

The raw mango is a valuable source of vitamin C. It also has more vitamin C fully ripe mangoes; it is also a good source of vitamin B1 and B2 and has good quantity of niacin. Raw mango fruit is acidic, astringent and anti scorbutic.

Health benefits:

The unripe mango protects men from the adverse effects of scorching winds.

It is highly beneficial in  treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Eating one small tender mango with salt and honey is said to be effective medicine for summer diarrhea, dysentery, piles, morning sickness, indigestion and constipation.

Eating green mango daily with honey and pepper cures biliousness. It also tones up the liver.

Here are some interesting recipes from my kitchen made with raw mangoes.

1 Aam panna (A cooling drink)

A must have during the hot days of summer. A natural coolant which is heat-resistant and full of nutrients.

Ingredients:

500 gm raw mangoes medium size

4cups water to dilute the pulp

1 tea-spoon dry roasted cummin powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

Mint leaves

Ice cubes

Method:

Boil or steam the mangoes till soft and done.

Peel, stone and pulp them with fingers. Let it cool.

raw boiled mangoes with spices

 

In a deep glass bowl place the pulp and add water, sugar, and salt and cummin powder

Dissolve and pour in a glass jug

Add ice and mint leaves

Drink for a soothing cool effect.

(The adventurous can add Bacardi rum 30ml or vodka to a glass .It tastes like heaven)

2. Spicy tangy mango delight


Ingredients:

Raw mangoes -1kg

Jaggery or sugar-according to the taste and required sweetness)

Onions-4 big

Black pepper corns 8-10

Red chili powder -1teaspoon

Salt (to taste)

asafoetida – a pinch

Cummin seeds -1teaspoon

oil 3 tablespoon

Method:

Wash, peel and cut raw mangoes in thin slices.

Cut onions in thin slices

Grate the jaggery

In a heavy bottom pan put oil and heat.

Add asafoetida and cummin seeds .Let it crackle.

Add black pepper corns and onion slices.

Stir on slow fire till golden brown then add sliced raw mango .Stir it to mix all the ingredients.

Add salt, chili powder.

Once the mango slices soften add Jaggery or sugar.

The taste can vary according to the liking .One can keep it sweet or sweet and sour.

Cook it on slow heat and stir to avoid sticking. Once all the ingredients blend properly, let it cool and fill in a bottle.

It can be kept for a week in the fridge and eaten with parathas( Indian flat bread).

3. Mango Fizz


Ingredients

Dash of light rum, sparkling water, and around half cup of mango purée

Method:

In a jug, combine mango and rum.

Stir together thoroughly.

After stirring add sparkling water.

Pour them in glasses.

Serve with an iced-tea spoon.

I will be posting the photographs of the other two recipes in a day or two.