I had menaskai for the first time at an Arya Samaj wedding and fell in love with this delicious mango curry.
I couldn’t get hold of the recipe at that time, but the taste of menaskai lingered on my tongue for days, and I never missed any opportunity to savor this dish. I tried experimenting in the kitchen, but couldn’t reproduce the exact color, texture, and flavor of the menaskai that was served at that Arya Samaj wedding.
Recently, I found a menaskai recipe on the Internet and decided to give it a shot. The results were awesome, not at all like the Arya Samaj menaskai, but still awesome—a fabulous blend of the sweet, sour, and spicy.
8 – 10 ripe, juicy, and fibrous mangoes (preferably the smaller, wild variety)
Half a cup of fresh grated coconut
3 – 4 red chilies
1 teaspoon channa dal (Bengal gram)
1 teaspoon urad dal (black gram)
Half a teaspoon of methi (fenugreek seeds)
A piece of jaggery
Extract obtained from a lime-sized ball of tamarind soaked in a little water
Coconut oil for seasoning
A few curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard leaves
Here is how I made the menaskai:
- I skinned the mangoes and crushed them a bit. I then poured some warm water over the peels and squeezed all the juice out of them. I added this juice to the mangoes and kept them aside.
2. I ground to a fine paste the coconut, the channa dal, the urad dal, the red chilies, and the fenugreek seeds.
3. I cooked the mangoes for a few minutes and then added the ground paste to them.
4. I then added water, a little at a time, till I got thick gravy.
5. I added as much salt, jaggery, and tamarind extract as required to get the desired taste.
6. I gave the gravy a seasoning of curry leaves, mustard seeds, and pieces of dry red chili.
The result was piping hot, delicious, sweet-sour-hot menaskai!
- Please do not complain that the menaskai is not red enough. Use the byadgi variety of red chilies if you want really red hot gravy. Feel free to add as many chilies as your tongue can handle.
- You can eat your menaskai with hot chapattis, rice, dosa, poori, or pulao. Menaskai doesn’t require the company of any other dish … it is delicious and complete on its own.
- Some people chop the mangoes into pieces. They do not peel them.
- Some people do not throw away the peels.
- Some people like their mangoes semi-ripe, not fully ripe and juicy like I do.
- If the mangoes are too sweet, you don’t need the jaggery. If they are too sour, you don’t need the tamarind.
- You don’t have to follow this recipe to the letter. Feel free to experiment. For example, you can add a bit of black gram to the seasoning.
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