The easiest way to make a thick stewy dish into a summery répas is by adding tropical fruit. Or so I told myself yesterday, when I was craving curry but wasn’t too keen on the standing in front of a hot stove for the better part of an hour. The mangoes on the fridge were radiating their very ripened, last-day-for-eating aroma. Into the curry they went.
Yes, I did gluttonously attacked the pits after the flesh was chopped up. And yet much of the juice still found its way to the floor and all over the counter. Mango-soaked kitchen rags may be a side effect of this curry, if you choose to make it with the ripest fruit possible.
I have seen and eaten mango curries that contained chicken, pork, and lamb, but not vegetables. And why not, when this curry can accomodate whatever assortment you bring back from the market, as long as you cook starches and carrots first, and leave the green stuff until the end. The vegetable selection below was based on whim and color and texture variety.
I did need a glass of ice water to cool off after cooking, but the curry was worth the extra rise in body temperature.
Unrelated Fun Food Fact: If you leave lychees soaking in soju for 4 days to experiment with lychee infusion, then bite into one because tipsiness convinced you it was a good idea, the lychee will actually taste as though a ball of pure alcohol has just exploded in your mouth.
Not that I know this from experience.
Mango Vegetable Curry
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 medium or 2 large potatoes, sliced to 1/2 inch thick
2 medium carrots, sliced to 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 to 1 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar dissolved in another 1/2 cup water
1 can coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium head of broccoli
3 large mangoes, peeled and chopped
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet. Sauté onions and garlic until aromatic and onions are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper, potatoes, and carrots and cook for another minute. Add cumin and curry powder and stir well to coat the vegetables.
Add coconut milk, water, and brown sugar mixture. Bring liquid to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or so, until liquid has reduced by half and potatoes and carrots have a tender bite. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in broccoli and mango and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Scoop onto large serving plate, garnish with cilantro, and serve with rice.