Last night Sarah and I sat on the porch of our friend’s delightful apartment in St Kilda, catching up with our photographer Lauren Bamford, drinking cider with slices of ripe nectarine and thinking about what we wanted to eat for dinner. We have been home from Mexico and the US for a little over a week now and we have so many new ideas, ingredients and recipes to share from our journey – but yesterday was hot. The air was heavy with the promise of rain and we didn’t feel like cooking much at all. We decided instead of dinner, to just eat the luscious mangos in the fruit bowl.
When you purchase fresh, sliced fruit from street vendors in Mexico City, or in the province of Oaxaca, where we travelled, it very often comes sprinkled with chili. In the market town of Pochutla Sarah and I wandered the town instead of waiting for our bus in the terminal. It was a steamy late afternoon and the streets were busy with people buying fruit, vegetables and dried fish from stalls haphazardly set up along the sidewalks. I bought a beautiful little mango on a stick, cut like a rose and made a peachy colour with sprinkled chili. I love this way of spicing fruit, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but give it a try, it is miraculously delicious. I was so happy with a face full of mango and a bag of market treats for the long bus journey ahead.
Sarah thinks this way of cutting the mango into a flower is a perfect valentine’s gift too! Who needs a long stemmed red rose when you can have a mango?
Now, this isn’t really a recipe – fruit and chili – it’s more of an attitude.
1 perfectly ripe Bowen mango (not too ripe because it needs to hold its shape)
chili powder (or cayenne pepper, or hot paprika), just a little sprinkle
a wooden chopstick
Now, you need a sharp knife for this people. Peel the mango from the top, where it was connected to the tree by a stem. Give the mango a little prick with the knife here at the stem point. Hold the peeled mango firmly and insert a disposable wooden chopstick (at the stem point) into the pip. This is easier than it sounds. I find the chopsticks with the pointier ends are best. Wash your hands.
Make incisions around the mango from the base up, so that it opens out like a flower. Sprinkle with a little chili or your favourite hot sauce and enjoy!