In Late Summer, mangoes come back with abundance into the local Asian shops – there have been green mangoes for a while, but then the early sweet mangoes appear. We needed no further prompting to celebrate the long Australian Mango Season with mango dal.
All the flavour and taste of mango is in this kootu as tamarind is not added – it is full of natural flavours. You might think that it would be too sweet, but the spices mellow the sweetness. The recipe is meant for a sweetish mango, but a slightly sour one can be used as long as it is soft enough to melt into the dal. Our local shop will have sweet-sour mangoes later in the season. These would also work with this dal. Today I have made it with a very soft sweet one.
It is quite a simple dal with few spices, but that is the beauty of the South Indian style of cooking. If you feel it is too sweet, add a little amchoor (to layer different mango flavours) or lime or lemon juice. I never find this is necessary, but it is an option if you prefer. I like with good chilli heat and slightly salty.
This is a very traditional Tamil recipe. It is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are traditional recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.
1 mango, peeled and cut into small pieces
0.5 cup green gram dal (mung dal) or red gram dal (toor dal), cooked until very tender and disintegrating
sea salt to taste
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
8 curry leaves
coriander leaves, for garnish
2 tspn ghee
0.5 tspn black/brown mustard seeds
2 Indian dried red chillies or 2 fresh green chillies, slit
Heat the cooked dal, and add the chopped mango, turmeric and asafoetida. Pinch the curry leaves and add. Mix well, bring to a simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Make a tadka by heating the ghee, adding the mustard seeds and allowing them to pop. Add the chillies, saute for a few moments, then pour the ghee and spices over the dal.
recipe notes and alternatives
Sweet mangos that are still a little tart are great for this dal. If using a very sweet mango you might like to add a little amchoor or lime or lemon juice. Taste before adding.
If your mango is not soft and pulpy, cut the slices from cheeks and side of the mango and simmer them in the tiniest amount of water (about 2 Tblspn) to soften. Peel then crush them with a churner or potato masher. Pulse with an immersion blender if necessary. Use in the recipe as described above.