Mango

Mango

Of all the varieties of mango available from tropical places such as South Africa and Brazil, the Indian Alfonso is one of the most prized for it soft golden flesh, exotic fragrance and perfumed taste.

You need to feel a mango to know when it is ripe and at its prime for eating - as colour isn't always a guide. When held it should yield slightly when gently pressed. If the mango isn't quite ready for eating when you buy it, leave it at room temperature to ripen in the fruit bowl.

Indian and Thai recipes often call for 'green' mangoes. This does not necessarily refer to the skin colour of the fruit, more to the variety required for cooking. Look for these in Indian or Thai specialist shops.

Mango powder (known as amchoor - 'am' means mango, 'choor' powder) is an Indian spice ground from sun-dried slices of raw green mangoes, so has a sweet-sour taste and is used to add a tangy flavour to chutneys, lentil and vegetable dishes as well as snacks such as samosas and pakoras - and is often sprinkled on as a flavoursome garnish.