Green Mango • Mango Biche

A couple of weekends ago I was invited to go to Girardot (altitude 289 m). This town, about 3 hours east of Bogotá, is located where the upper Magdalena and Bogotá rivers meet. It's a really popular spot to go to for the weekend, especially since you get the chance to escape the bone-chilling cold of Bogotá and get some use out of that summer clothes that's been packed away under the bed for months.

Anyways, on my getaway I sat by the pool, relaxed, soaked in the sun, got a sunburn and ate mangoes right off the trees in the backyard. This took me back to when I was a little girl and my family used to go to Girardot all the time. One of the food memories I have from those days (aside from downing cans of sweetened condensed milk in the stifling heat - not very refreshing now that I think about it) is eating green mangoes with salt. It's a strange combination but it works. For many years I thought this was a local delicacy but after doing a bit of research, I found that eating green mangoes is not a Colombian thing at all - it's really more of a tropical thing.

In many parts of the world, including Central/South America, South East Asia and India, green mangoes have been important parts of regional cuisine. In almost every case that I came across, the norm is to eat pieces of the green mango dipped in salt; salt and chilli; or salt and chilli and lime.

In Vietnam, green mango pieces are dipped into a mixture of fish sauce and sugar. In Thailand, green mango (or green papaya) salads are common. In parts of India, (place of origin of the mango and top producer in the world) several varieties of chutneys are made with green mangoes - not ripe ones like in the western world.

On this last trip to Girardot, however, I did come across one quite unusual and unique presentation of green mango - the popsicle! It was a lime flavored popsicle with tons of little bits of chopped up green mango. Delicious! They came with little packets of salt but I decided to stick with the popsicle as it was.

This got me thinking about making a lime and green mango granita at home. I am starting with a simple lime based recipe and building it up from there. Stay tuned for a yummy, refreshing summer recipe....I hope!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous17/7/09 22:56

    Great info! I spent every summer holiday at my grandmother's home in Trinidad (West Indies) munching on green mangoes with salt, pepper and lime juice. I still prepare green mango the same way in New York, but it does not taste the same this far above the equator.