I fell in love with this amazing Caribbean dish at the age of 8. My Aunt Karen shared her Guyanese version of curry mango with me after picking some green mangoes from our backyard. In an effort to save good fruit for a later date islanders tend to pick fruit while it’s still green to avoid hungry birds and bats. We set aside a stash for ripening and used the remainder for a delicious pot of curry mango. Curry mango may be eaten by itself, although its mostly served alongside chicken, fish, or beef with rice.
- 5 mangoes (half-ripe)
- 5 leaves of cilantro (chadon beni)
- 1 hot pepper (habanero, chili, etc.)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 3 tbsp curry
- 2 tbsp water (for curry)
- 1 tsp saffron powder
- 1 tsp cumin (geera powder)
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil
- sugar (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
1.Cut up the mango and remove the inner lining that holds the seed and the seed itself.
2. Add salt and boil the mangoes.
3. Drain and set aside.
4. Mix the curry, saffron, cumin, black pepper, and water together.
5. Saute the garlic and hot pepper in a pot.
6. Add sugar to the mangoes that have been set aside.
7. Add mangoes to the sauteed pot of garlic and hot pepper.
8. Then pour curry mix into pot distributing evenly.
9. Add a little water and sprinkle the cilantro in.
10. Cook for about 5 -7 minutes to allow the curry to infiltrate and the water to evaporate. The mango should have a pasty consistency when cool. Season to taste and serve.
I sometimes add more pepper or sugar according to how sweet or sour the mangoes are. The dish should be semi-sweet with a spicy taste.
Over the weekend (Sunday) I had the pleasure of attending the 15th Annual Mango Melee and Tropical Fruit Festival on St. Croix. This was a new experience for me as I had never attended the event or been to the botanical gardens. As I walked through the pathways of the St. George Village Botanical Gardens, I took in not only the beautiful surroundings but also the aroma of fruits and cooked food alike. Vendors lined the paths with tropical drinks, fruits for sales, pastries, local delicacies, arts and crafts, and plants all for sale. I especially enjoyed a fruit-filled smoothie by the Country Snack Stand (their located on Mahogany Road in the Rain Forest).
The event, which benefits the botanical garden, features food and craft vendors, educational workshops, culinary competitions, mango eating contests, mango and tropical fruit tastings, a mega-mini mango contest, garden tours, and a silent fruit auction. Approximatley 4,000 attendees came out this year in support of the event.
This year’s “Mango Dis, Mango Dat” Competition winners included:
Sweets – Sue Lakos, Mango Crunch
Stuff – Ralston and Eunice Ambrose, Mango Chicken Fiesta
Sips –1st Martha Jean-Pierre- Martha’s Specialty 2nd-Zandra Petersen- Mango Liqueur
Salsa – 1st Don Bailey- Tarragon Mango Dip; 2nd Patasha Tracey- Spicy Mango Salsa
Sweets – 1st Sharon Grimes- Mangoes on Snow; 2nd Debi George- Mango Peach Crisp
Stuff – 1st Zandra Petersen- Mango Bread; 2nd Zandra Petersen- Mango Butter
Winners of the mango eating competition:
Junior Division-Adrian Pierce Encarnacion
Adult Division-Olubayo Kaza
The event concluded with a silent auction of fruits in the Great Hall and a crowd dancing to the Electric Slide on the front lawn.
Check out this video courtesy of CBS News 2 VI:
For more information on the event and St. George Village Botanical Gardens visit: www.sgvbg.org
- Mango Melee: Takes Over Botanical Gardens Sunday (caribvue.com)
As far as Caribbean appetizer recipes go, these “Saltfish” fritters are found in some form all over the Caribbean. here’s my personal recipe on this island classic. People in the Latin Caribbean islands call salted cod “Bacalao.” Codfish salted out of necessity as a preservative. Today salted cod or “salfish” is a Caribbean favorite – you can find saltfish with or without the bone. Soaking is recommended overnight to lessen the salt content. Another option is to boil the pieces of saltfish 2-3 times to remove the salt, you may even add sugar to desalinate the cod.
- 1/4 lb. Bacalao or Saltfish (Cod fish)
- 3/4 cup Flour
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/3 tsp. Salt
- 3/4 cup Water
- 1 clove of Garlic
- 1 envelope of Goya Sazón
- Sprinkle of Pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Place the pieces of cod into a pot, cover with water and boil until the salt content of the fish is to your content.
- Drain, debone (if necessary), wash and shred.
- In a bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.
- Make a little well in the center. Pour the water slowly and mix to make a thick like sauce.
- Add the pepper and sazón and stir well.
- In a mortar, crush the garlic and add to the mix.
- Add the shredded cod and mix well.
- In a frying pan, pre-heat lots of vegetable oil.
- Fry the bacalaitos (fritters) on high heat by dropping big spoonfuls in hot oil.
- Turn as needed.
- Fritters are done when they are golden.
- Drain in paper towels and let them cool before biting into them.