It must be the endorphins, I tell myself, as I strut around packing my tiffin box. It is manga sadam (mango rice) today, not the usual boring stuff I schlep to office as lunch. I even call my colleagues to tell them I am bringing enough for everyone.
It all began on my morning walk, as I walked past a mango tree. I remembered I had half a kilo of raw mangoes in the fridge begging to be used up. Now, making manga sadam is something that I normally wouldn’t try unless my motherwas in an obliging mood. She was!
So I handed her raw mangoes to peel and grate while I got on with the tedious business of breaking the coconut. Once that is over, it is ridiculously simple to make the delicious rice dish. I must add that ground mustard is not everyone’s favourite flavour, but I love it. My father loved it too, so it has happy memories associated with it.
I once stubbornly decided to cook an unapologetically South Indian meal, with dishes for my non-Madrasi guests who I was pretty sure would never have tasted them.
Being summer, there were mangoes everywhere. I noted down manga pachadi, manga sadam, manga kootan and then finished it off with a payasam served with gorgeous ripe mango slices on my menu list. I also added raw mango in the sundal and curd rice. There was nary a paneer cube in sight on my table that day. I am glad I did that because my dinner was a whopping success and everyone queued up for the rice recipe!
- 3 cups Cooked rice
- 2 nos Raw mango (depending on size and tartness)
- 2 tsp Mustard
- 1-2 Dried red chillies
- Half a coconut
- 1/4 cup Peanuts
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp Asafoetida
- Curry leaves (Optional)
- 4 tbsps Sesame oil
- Salt to taste
- Cook the rice as you would normally. Grate the mangoes; keep half aside for garnishing the finished dish. Coarsely grind the rest together with the grated coconut, red chillies and one teaspoon of mustard.
- Place the cooked rice in a wide vessel, drizzle some oil and add turmeric powder. Add the paste and the rest of the grated mangoes. Add salt and mix well, being careful not to render the rice too mushy.
- For tempering, heat some oil. Add mustard seeds. Once that splutters, add asafoetida, peanuts and some curry leaves. Turn off the heat once the peanuts are fried well. Pour over the rice and mix gently.
Manga sadam ticks all the boxes for me also, because it is not high-maintenance; all the ingredients are usually on our kitchen shelves. It is a one-pot dish; all it needs as an accompaniment is a raita or even just plain curd. It is non-messy and therefore a great option as a packed meal.
Most of all, it makes the best use of a seasonal produce like the mango. Manga sadam is best served at room temperature.