MANGO MENASKAI ( KUKKU DA MENASKAI)
“Menaskai” is a traditional dish which is sweet ,tangy & spicy.It is an authentic dish of South Kanara,which is a living proof of the epic love affair between coconut & spices.The robust coconut merges with the mellow sweet jaggery & the piquant tartness of the tamarind to produce this finger licking delicious dish called the “Menaskai”. Mangoes,Pineapples are some of the fruits that are added to this irresistable combination to tease your palate & flirt with your senses.The unshakeable faith of the Mangaloreans in the magic of the coconut in all their curries,the tart tamarind & the sweet jaggery playing God mother occasionally in these authentic curries when left on their own & given time,result in this delightful irresistable “Menaskai” which will be a treasure passed on for generations to come.Since Summer is here & so are the mangoes,I used them in my” Menaskai”,the one passed on to me my dearest Grandmom whose cooking was something to die for.
Before I go into the details of the recipe itself,I need to also let in on a secret about eating mangoesthe real authentic way in a curry or otherwise.This “Menaskai” mangoes are certainly not for the faint hearted,nor for those who would like to use a fork or spoon to eat them ( for those fork & spoon eaters specifically I’d request you to kindly step off the nearest cliff!).This curry & the mangoes is genuinely meant for those who can ravish a mango with mouths smeared with pulp sucking on the flesh & the juice running down your arms……if it reaches your elbows then even better:) .The pure,simple unadulterated joy of getting down & dirty lies in authentically devouring these mangoes for that wonderful wholesome experience.Go on & make some long sticky sweet trails with unbridled glee:)
Mangoes- 5 (peel away the skin)
Coconut- 1 cup(fried)
Oil- 1 tbsp
Chilli powder- 1tsp
Coriander powder-1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder–1/2 tsp
Garlic- 4-5 pods
Channa dhal- 2 tsp
Cumin seeds/Jeera-!/2 tsp
Til seeds–1/4 tsp
Tamarind pulp-1/2 tsp
Jaggery- lime size
Salt- to taste
Water -2 cups.
1.Clean the mangoes & peel them off their skin.
2.Heat some oil in a wok,add the channa dhal, jeera/cuminseeds,garlic,curry leaves,til seeds& fry them gently till they turn light brown.
3.Now add the coconut to the above mix & fry it till it turns light brown, then add the onions to the same & saute for a few minutes.
4.Then add the chilli,coriander & turmeric powder & stir the whole fried mix for a few minutes before you transfer them all to a blender.
5.Add the tamarind pulp or paste in the blender along with the other ingredients & blend them to a semi- fine paste.
6.Transfer the paste to the wok add 2 cups of water & then the mangoes to the same with a little salt to taste,allowing the mangoes to blend in with the ground mixture.
7.When they start cooking add the jaggery to the above & let the curry cook for 10-15 minutes with the lid closed.
8.Serve hot with rice.
9.Enjoy this succulent mouthful of sweet & sunshiny goodness,with friends & family.The piece de re’sistance comes from the look of the seed after you have unleashed your creativity on savoring the mango.
Note:This” Menaskai” needs to be in a thick consistency & not too watery(the kind of curry you wished the cook served more off when you attended a wedding dinner in good old days:)