Mango ginger is one of my favourite seasonal ingredients. Around this time of the year, just before summer sets in, you’ll find them aplenty at grocery stores and in heaped mounds at outdoor markets. At a glance, mango ginger looks a lot like ginger. But once you peel away their soft skins, you’ll find that they’re nothing alike. With a delicate, not-so-gnarly exterior and a yellower, fresher interior, these rhizomes are not as spicy or pungent as their doppelgänger.
We personally love mango ginger grated into tempered curd rice or as a thokku, but if you’re interested in a combination that’s a bit more unconventional, I’ve found that they make a great pairing with prawns. I made them into fritters for a feature for Better homes and Gardens a few years ago, and gosh they were good. Which in hindsight made a lot of sense since their most prominent flavour is of raw mango, and we know that prawns and raw mango work great together.
I also find them to be quite similar in flavour to galangal, and since galangal is hard to come by, mango ginger acts a great replacement for them in Thai curries. But a little goes a long way with these guys and that leaves me with a lot of mango ginger on my hands (and an overactive mind that’s trying to conjure up recipes at 3 am. The story of my life).
Although a raitha is no revelation—in fact, a raitha of some sort features daily on our lunch menu in the summers—using mango ginger in it was a bit of an outlier thought. I tried a few different formats: finely chopped – the texture didn’t work; finely grated – was too strong and overpowering. The texture was not great with grated either. As a last resort I decided to coarsely blend it – worked perfectly! Blending would mean that you taste a lot more mango ginger in each mouthful, but the coconut and yogurt counter its raw sting. I’ve used coconut oil for the tempering and really liked the flavour of it here, but other neutral oils would work too.
MANGO GINGER RAITHA
- ¾ cup yogurt (see notes)
- 3 tablespoons mango ginger, peeled and chopped
- 3 tablespoons coconut, grated
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 green chillies
- Salt, to taste
- 2 dried red chillies
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon split urad dhal
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Add mango ginger, coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies and salt to a blender jar. Coarsely blend. Add to a bowl and stir in the yogurt.
- Heat coconut oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add urad dhal, dried chillies (tear them in half) and curry leaves. When the urad dhal starts to brown, take off the heat.
- Pour this tempered spice mix over the raitha and stir through. Check and adjust seasoning.