Remember those way too many green mangoes the husband got? Well, after making pickle and aam panna, this is what I ended up doing with the remaining two. Make my Mum’s runny green mango chutney, a popular summer cooler called Aamer Ambol.
Many memorable Bengali meals end with this sweet-tangy chutney, which is bursting with flavours. The Aamer Ambol has a cooling effect on the tummy, especially on summer days because of the anti-oxidants it has.
Ingredients for Aamer Ambol are:
2 green mangoes, washed and coarsely diced (remove the soft fleshy part inside the core, retain the seeds/stones)
1 heaped teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons mustard oil
5-6 tablespoons sugar
Heat the mustard oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and cover. Let them splutter till they turn dark, not black.
Add the pieces of mango and its seeds too.
Move around the mango to coat them well with the mustard seeds and oil. Cook the mango on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the turmeric powder and mix well. Leave the mango uncovered on low for a couple of minutes more. You will notice that the pieces of mango are looking softer and have already got a coat of color on them.
Add water, enough to completely cover all the mangoes, and a little more for good luck. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes and add sugar and salt. Its important that you add the sugar after the water else the sugar will caramelize and will not dissolve in the water. Which in turn will be an ambol disaster!
It doesn’t take too long to cook the mangoes. Make sure the texture of the chutney is runny. If the water cooks down, add a little more. Turn the heat off once the sugar dissolves and the mangoes are done. Do a taste test and adjust the salt and sugar accordingly. (When a dish is too hot, it will taste less salty or sweet than it really is.)
The Aamer Ambol is usually served room temperature. Or warm. That’s when you really appreciate the balance of sweet and sour in it.
This runny green mango chutney can be stored in the fridge for a few days too. After a hearty meal, we Bengalis usually end on a note of sweet, but before that comes a much important component of sweet and sour and savoury, in the form of a chutney – either tomato, green papaya, pineapple or this mango. They say a chaatney like this helps open up your senses to the dizzying array of desserts that follow. Or Ebaar “desert” ta aano as a true blue Bong would say!