Mango Madness


Yes you read that right, Mango Madness, because March isn’t just basketball it’s also when the Ataulfo mangoes are in season. The mango most Americans are familiar with is the larger greenish pink Tommy Atkins mango. Groceries prefer the Atkins because they have a better shelf life and are sturdy, surviving handling and transportation without any bruising or discoloration. But it’s not the sweetest mango on the block and is quite fiberous. The kidney-shaped Ataulfo is from Mexico and is not only sweeter but has a more complex flavor (without the sometimes resinous overtones of the Atkins), a deep yellow flesh and a custard-like texture without any of the stringy fibers. It also has a thin pit and thus proportionally more fruit, and is very rich in vitamin C.  However it isn’t very pretty. But don’t be fooled.

left: Ataulfo right: Tommy Atkins

left: Ataulfo    right: Tommy Atkins

Right now the Ataulfos (more commonly known as a Yellow or Champagne mango in my grocery and maybe Young, Baby, Honey or Manila in your grocery), are in season.  “In season” means they’re in the store and the price is right. Normally $2 -3 each, Curt paid $1.29 each the other day. Naturally at that price he bought a bagful. But even though these guys are small, a bagful of mangoes is a lot of mangoes, so chutney it is!

Since our heritage is German there are no time-tested mango chutney recipes handed down from various Grammas in our recipe box so we had to find one. Fortunately we didn’t have to look far, the New York Times foodies have been scouting the market too and last week Cathy Barrow published a Spiced Mango Chutney w/ Chiles.  Bingo!

You can use Ataulfos or Tommy Atkins but we recommend the little, homlier but sweeter yellow ones. Even so, this chutney is spicy and meant as an accompaniment to curry, grilled chicken, pork or fish. Naturally Curt has adjusted the original recipe so what’s given below is adapted from the Times recipe.

Spiced Mango Chutney with Chiles

yield 3 3/4 cups


2-1/2 pounds mangoes, about 5 Ataulfos
1/2 C golden raisins (or dried cranberries, cherries or apricots)
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C finely minced onion
2 Tbs peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seed
1/2 tsp coriander seed
3 cardamom pods, seeds extracted
2 four-inch serrano chiles
Zest of 1/2 lime – minced
1 clove garlic, minced


1. Peel and dice the mangoes to yield 2-1/2 cups (or about 1-1/4 pound), 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes

2. In a large, heavy, nonreactive pot, stir together mangoes, raisins, vinegar, brown sugar, onion, ginger, lime zest and garlic. Crush the mustard, coriander and cardamom seeds in a mortar but not to a powder – leave some texture. Add to pot and stir well.  Let rest for 20 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve.

3. Wearing gloves (or make sure you wash your hands very well afterwards), cut the chilis in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds (unless you want a spicier chutney, then leave some or all of them in).  Decide how hot you want it to be. Start with half the recommended amount and taste. Omit altogether for a sweeter chutney.  You can always add some crushed pepper flakes if you decide later you’d like it hotter.

Ingredients together, ready to cook

Ingredients together, ready to cook

4. Bring heat up to medium and stir occasionally as mixture comes to a boil. Bring to a boil, stirring all the time. Cook for 25 minutes, being careful to avoid sticking and burning as mixture thickens. Adjust heat as needed w/o losing the boil and continue to stir.

5. After 25 minutes the mixture should be thick, with fruit suspended in the tangy syrup. Turn off heat.

25 minutes later

25 minutes later

6. If you are planning to can the chutney now is the time to put it into your jars and process following the procedure for any jam, but these spiffy Ball half-pint jars with tight plastic lids work great (but can’t be heat processed). The chutney will keep in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for up to a year.


2 thoughts on “Mango Madness

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