Since last year, our indian grocer is bringing to us green mango exports straight from the heart of India. Whats different about them you would ask? They are much smaller in size, fibrous & sour and bring back picture perfect memories of those pickles & sharbat in the kitchenÂ that I have grown up on. I am making chutney with them, as well as adding them to lentils.
However, such special things doÂ always come with a big price tag (I paid $12Â for 5 small pieces), so after spending that fortune last week, I made sure to come up with something new. After much thinking, this granita was made to beat the extreme summers that have hit our part of the world.
On a different note, this summer, I have been lucky with homegrown herbs and a little vegetable patch after trying hard for years. Each year my pots fell victim to weeds and heat but this time, so far all looks great. Even a small twig of it feels so rewarding. I used homegrown mint to infuse the refreshing notes in this recipe.Â It is the tangÂ of the green mangoes enhancedÂ with sweet lemon & tartÂ lime juice andÂ grassy heat of the green chili which makes it special,Â along with a much-needed refreshing notes from fresh, homegrown mint to a lightly sweet, healthy dessert for summer months. GranitaÂ (inÂ ItalianÂ alsoÂ granita siciliana) is a semi-frozenÂ dessertÂ made from sugar, water and various flavorings. Originally fromÂ Sicily, itÂ has a coarser texture. It is a very simple thing to make except that you need to stare open at a freezer scraping the bowl every other hour or so.
So if you do not desire to put in the baby sitting it needs, turn the same recipe to a sorbet. It tastes as good.
Ingredients (Serves 4-5)
- 1 lb green mangoes( about 6-7small )
- Water for boiling the mangoes
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (or to taste)
- 3/4 cup water
- 5-6 fresh mint stems and leaves
- 1 small green chili, seeds and veins removed
- 1.5 tablespoon fresh lime juice (adjust quantity depending on how tart the mangoes are)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (adjust quantity depending on how tart the mangoes are)
- 1.5 teaspoon black salt (kala namak, reduce amount if the mangoes are really tart)
- 1/4 teaspoon regular salt ( or to taste)
Wash the mangoes. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a pot and add the whole mangoes. Let boil on high heat for 5-8 minutes or until the skin turns pale and they are slightly soft to touch(take care that the mango skins do not break open). Take the mangoes out of boiling water and leave to cool off. Once cooled, peel off (the skin will separate in a squeeze) and discard the skins.
While the magpies are boiling, in another small pot, combine sugar and water and place over medium heat,cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the stove, immediately add the mint stems and leaves and leave aside to steep for about 3-5 minutes (do not leave for too long else the syrup will turn bitter). Strain the syrup through a sieve and let cool down.
Transfer the mango flesh and green chili( if using) to a blender and pulse to smooth. Take out in a large bowl and add the mint simple syrup, lime & lemon juice, black salt and salt to taste to it. Mix to combine. Strain through a sieve to a smooth mixture.
Pour mixture into a 11 inch by 7 inch glass pan. Cover and let freeze for 1 hour and 30 minutes uncovered. Scrape the icy edges with a fork. Freeze again. Scrape every 45 minutes until completely frozen (about 6-8 hours). Remove from freezer every hour or so; scrape with a fork until fluffy. Once semi solid ice crystals are formed, scrape till fluffy.Cover tightly and freeze. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep frozen.
Scrape granita into bowls and serve garnished with lime wedges and mint.Dust with a pinch of chaat masala or black salt just before serving(optional).