Mango among ‘mango people’ – -The king of fruits in the sunshine state of Goa

Written by Nidhi Lall

This year, Amche Goa is experiencing a burst of mangos all around the state. With the season’s early arrival, thanks to the tremendous heat generated by the effects of climate change, we see mango trees loaded with ‘amboli’ (raw mangos) everywhere. The Goans called it the toranchye season, and one can see a variety of green mangoes (tora) and bright, juicy mangoes in the Goan market all over. Goans love mangos in every form in local Goan cuisines. Best way to enjoy this juicy, delicious fruit is in all its natural glory. Nothing beats the flavour of an Alfonso or Mancurad of Goa.

Salcette, Sanguem and Canacona are the top-three mango cultivating talukas. The Alphonso and Badami varieties originate from Siolim in Goa.

Mangoes tend to ripen naturally in the summer heat of April and May. First to come are the Khalmi, Pyari, and Kayri. These are the raw mangoes variety available for about Rs 200 per kilogram. The other variety is the Badami which is costing Rs 500 per dozen. The most expensive mango, however, is the Mancurad, priced at Rs. 5000 a dozen, followed by Alphonso at Rs.1500 for twelve pieces. Finally, the cheapest is the Totapuri at Rs 150 per kilogram.

Because our love for mango is so deep-rooted, let’s go back a little and take a glimpse into the past of the arrival of mangoes in Goa.

Goa and Mangoes: a glimpse into the past

History of mangoes in India goes back to 4000 years. That time the king of fruits wasn’t very popular in Goa until the arrival of the Portuguese. The sea route to India discovered by Vasco Da Gama in 1498 was followed by the conquest of Goa by Afonso de Albuquerque. They turned Goa into the centre for all Portuguese colonial activities. Meanwhile, there was a surge in demand for mangoes in the European countries, resulting in a profitable import of mango saplings to Goa. It was because the weather and soil conditions of Goa were perfect for the production of mangos. And that was the beginning of the love story between the Goans and mangoes.

Types of Mangoes in Goa

The variety of mangoes grown in the sunshine state is over 100. It is called the “King of fruits” for a reason. One can experience different tastes, textures, sizes and names that many haven’t even heard of, let alone the taste.

The most famous and widely available types of mangoes are the following:

Mankurad Mango

Also known as Goa Mankur, Kurad, Malcorado, Corado etc., Mankurad is the most popular variety available throughout Goa. The connect goes long back into history. The Portuguese named it Malcorado, meaning ‘poor coloured’. As time passed, the locals started calling it the ‘Mankurad’.

Malgesh

This version, also known as Malgesta, Malgessa, Malgueso and Malgess is popular in North Goa with wide variations in fruit colour, size and quality. The name means ‘difficult to digest’ in Portuguese. The two types recognised are Khand Malgesh – a thick-skinned inferior quality and Akno Malgesh – a superior quality.

Culas

This variety is famous throughout Goa. Many people like its peculiar flavour which is tangy and not too sweet. A lot of variation exists in this variety.

Afons

This variety of mango is also known as Goa Appus or Goa Alfonso. However, it is fast disappearing as the Ratnagiri Alfonso is preferred by many mango lovers. The Ratnagiri Alfonso is of better quality as far as the shelf life is concerned and is gaining popularity.

Hilario

The Hilario mango, also known as Mang Hilario, Mangilar, Mangilal etc., enjoys the same position as Mankurad and is hugely popular in North Goa. It fetches a reasonable price in the market as it tastes delicious. The tree that fruits Hilario is said to have originated in the garden of one Hilario Fernandes of Siolim in the Bardez taluka, henceforth the name. It is a variety that arrives late, with fruits maturing even up to July. Hence, it is a variety that arrives when no other good mango varieties are available.

Mussarat

Popularly cultivated in North Goa, Mussarat or Monserrate de Bardez is named after the Bardez taluka, where it originated. The immature fruits of this variety exhibit an intense red colour. This variety of mango is used to prepare jams, sweet pickles and processed products.

Fernandin

The Fernandin mango, also known as Fernandina, is very popular because of its taste. Best part about this variety is that doesn’t get spoiled because of moisture during rains or even fruit flies.

Xavier

This variety of mango is known for its sweetness and juicy flavour. It is planted throughout the state and is marketed both in North and South Goa. Both fibrous and non-fibrous forms exist.

Local Markets in Goa to buy the best mangoes

So, the question is; where do we find the tastiest mangoes in Goa? Here are our top picks for some of Goa’s best places to buy mangoes.

The Goan Farmers Market, Margao

The Goan Farmers Market organised in Margao in South Goa aims to promote the local Goan produce. If you want to buy some good quality mangoes, visit this market for fresh local right from the farm, homemade products and more. The Goan Farmers market is a great place to shop for mangoes grown by fellow Goans in their backyard.

Panjim Market in Goa

The Panjim Market, run by the Panjim Municipality, is one of the largest local markets in Goa. So, if you’re all prepped to buy fresh mangoes from Goa, this is the place to be. The sweet-scented aroma of Goan mangoes fills the market. You could even get to try something you’ve never seen before. The friendly vendors will be more than happy to give you a sample. The massive mural of the Mario Miranda painting in Panjim Market adds to the galore of buying the best mangoes in Goa.

MMC New Market in Margao, Goa

The Margao New Market is one of Goa’s most recommended street markets. It is an excellent place to buy locally produced vegetables and fruits, especially mangoes. The market buzzes with loud vendors and the fragrance of the fresh vibrant fruits and veggies. Bargaining is the added perk when you visit the MMC market. But it is wise to be on the lookout for reasonable pricing and quality fruit if you are a tourist. The best option is to shop with a local friend.

JR Farm, South Goa

The farm produces various organic, fresh harvest in South Goa and supply to the state and customers on request. They will bring to your home the loveliest, tastiest, and pulpiest mangoes that are organically grown with lot of love on their farm.

Top 5 Mango-based Goan Cuisines

  1. Amlechi Uddamethi: a delicious raw mango curry cooked in a coconut base that has a smooth and rich consistency. The name reveals its ingredients- Amle is raw mango, Udda is the split black gram or urad dal, and methi is fenugreek seeds. It is a traditional preparation of the Goan GSB (Gowda Saraswat Brahmin) Community. It ropes in sourness from the raw mango, tanginess from tamarind, sweetness from jaggery, and slight bitterness from the fenugreek seeds.
  2. Ambeche Saasav: The name means Mango (ambo) and Mustard (saasav). Mango is, ofcourse, the star of this recipe, and mustard is the key ingredient used in tempering this curry. The best part about the dish is that it uses the ghonta, a variety of mango that is the smaller and a fibrous relative of the Alphonso or Mankurad. There are two variations to the dish: the cooked one and the other is the uncooked version. The dish is best relished cold from the refrigerator, especially in these summer months, and can be eaten with chapati or even as it is.
  3. Bharilyo Amlyo: A Goan jevon is incomplete without a zesty, spicy pickle that at once livens up the taste buds. And one can’t speak of pickles without mentioning the absolute favourite pickling ingredient- amli or kairi, that is the raw mango! Its natural sourness makes it a perfect ingredient for this recipe which is nothing but a Stuffed Mango Pickle. A particular smaller variety called the ‘Miskut’ is used for making this pickle. A spicy masol or masala with a tempering of chilli powder, turmeric, crushed fenugreek seeds, and mustard seeds is stuffed into the mangos. The key ingredient here is sesame oil, which best complements the Miskut. The mangoes are then preserved in a jar and last for months.
  4. God (Sweet) Lonche: It is a very popular and beloved pickle made with raw mangoes and jaggery, hence called ‘god lonche’, which translates to ‘sweet pickle’. It tastes great with chapatis or even as an accompaniment with rice. When refrigerated, it can last for up to a year.
  5. Mangaad: It is a name given to mango jam which is primarily cooked by families of a traditional Christian household in Goa. The Monserrate or Musrad variety is commonly used for this preparation. Mangaad is relished as a breakfast dish or even topping for ice-creams and pancakes!

Goa’s forever Affaire de Coeur with Mangos

Mango season in Goa is serious business. The mango-mania that starts with the arrival of spring (actually March) begins with a series of farmer’s markets, food festivals that focuses on mango-based delicacies, chilled mango drinks and mango prickles. The ‘Tora’, to start with, reigns the first month of the harvest. Then followed by Goa’s favourite Mankurad and Alfonso. According to the Directorate of Agriculture, Tonca – the mango crops this year looks promising. The crop looks very good as profuse flowering is observed on trees.

Mango is truly a treasured fruit of the Goan food culture. The secret recipes passed down generations are a celebration of ‘King of Fruits’ in all its different forms. These make the top picks from the Goan summer kitchen.

So, go on and enjoy the king of fruit in Amche Goa while it lasts.

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Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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