The great Indian mango

The great Indian mango

Mango holds a cult value in India. Almost every state in India has a mango variety to offer and the natives are ferociously possessive about them. They will happily guide you on how to slice, dice, eat and enjoy mangoes or the kind of recepies you can make with it.

The mango season here starts in late March and peaks through June. Thereafter, mangoes begin to fade away from the market, leaving fans in want of more.

In a country having approximately 500 to 1000 mango cultivars, it is impossible to describe each of them. This time, I decided to visit the fruit market and see for myself the kind of mangoes picking up for this season.

I was fascinated to see mangoes in such huge quantities, stunned with so many shades. The entire fruit market was flooded with yellow, green and hints of sanguine. I once fancied the thought of relishing all the mangoes varieties available in the market and understand how taste differed.

I started picking mangoes of available varieties. Few of them I knew, while for others I carefully tagged each of them to keep track of the variety.

Honestly speaking, no matter how much I loved this treat, eating all these mangoes in day was beyond my reach. So I finished them over a span of week and observed the taste each time.

Alphonso was bit voluptuous with saffron-coloured pulp covered within sunshine yellow peel. Alphonso is truly ‘King of Mangoes’ with smooth, creamy taste and fibreless pulp. Thanks to Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese nobleman who taught India the technique of grafting mango trees, we are now able to savour such extraordinary mango varieties.

Chaunsa could give Alphonso a run for money, but misses it chance nevertheless. Sher-Shah -Suri named his favorite mango ‘chausa’, to commemorate his win against Humayun at Chausa. This mango is not sliced, like other mangoes. The most traditional way of having Chaunsa is to suck the sweet, juicy pulp out of it.

Totapuri (‘tota’ means “parrot” in Hindi) just like Kesar and Alphonso is one of the main cultivars used for making mango pulp and other processed mango products. They have greenish outer skin and parrot like beak at the tip of the fruit. Not all mangoes taste sweet; Totapuri is an exception with piquant flavor. Its tangy taste and chewy texture tastes delicious with tempered seasoning of salt and chilli.

Dashehari or Dasheri is North India’s favourite mango. It is slightly bulgy and full of succulent sweet pulp that you can gulp down with each bite.  It is believed that Dasheri is the mother of all mango varieties in India that can be genetically traced to this very tree. Malihabad village in Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of Dasheri mango.

Banganapalli from south India is Andhra Pradesh’s prime fibreless mango variety. It is a moderately juicy, firm and slightly oval shaped having flawlessly thin golden-yellow edible skin.

Kesar comes from Gujarat and is recognizable by golden coloured skin having green overtones. The tempting aroma is intense and hard to ignore. This mango has perfect blend of acidity and sweetness, making its taste unique.

Neelam is particularly famous in Hyderabad. It is small sized, oblong variety with tiny seed and a distinctively floral fragrance.

Peddarasalu or Rasapuri as known in Karnataka makes excellent variety for making mango juices and pulp. It tastes good, but it is very fibrous

Gulab Khas are enveloped in light yellow skin marked with a gorgeous blush. It grows extensively in Bihar and has a rare rosy flavor that refreshes your senses.

I would have loved to try more varieties, but I surrendered here. It was thrilling to be part of a season that brings with it a mania…an obsession among mango lovers.

Beloved Mango, It is Time to Appease Now!


I am yet to find a person who doesn’t love mangoes. Just like wine, the taste for mangoes matures with time. I have been having mangoes since childhood, but each season I discover a new taste. The king of fruits, India’s national fruit and divine in its truest sense – it’s not an exaggeration why people go bonkers over it.

Mangoes have been scrupulously grafted over millenniums as Indian masterwork and literally revered as a fruit of God. If its mango, it’s got to be Indian – a feeling which will not be relented under any circumstance. Believe me, most of us don’t reckon the fact that mangoes can exist anywhere other than India. And why not – the first written reference to mangoes dates back to 1000 B.C. in Bradaranyaka Upanishad. This makes them as old as the Indian civilization itself.

So while roaming the grocery market last weekend, I stopped at a shop that boasted of being first to bring season’s first mangoes. It’s a novelty here to be first to have these exotic fruit. Its uniqueness lies in the aroma, taste and the fact that you have to wait for the mango season in order to relish this fruit again.

Standing in a queue to buy these delicious, I understood why mangoes, through ages have been a perfect tool to appease relations with nations and forge friendship. It is their endearing quality to warm up the deepest corners of your heart, and helplessly force a person to immerse senses into sheer bliss.

It is significant to note the love Mughals bestowed on this fruit. Jahangir in Ain-i-Akbari goes down to declare that “notwithstanding the sweetness of the fruits of Kabul, not one of them has, to my taste, the flavour of the mango.”

Whilst poet Mirza Ghalib wrote volumes in praise of mangoes, Dar sifat-e amba is one such poem, explaining his love for mangoes. In fact it is believed that after defeating Humayun at Chausa, Sher Shah Suri gave the name ‘Chausa’ to his favourite mango. Emperor Akbar hastened the process of planting a garden of 100,000 mangoes trees – such was their love for this fruit.

Mango somehow manages to dissolve all difference. Mango diplomacy has been used as an instrument to improve economic and trade relations. This traces back to Indus Valley civilization, to the advent of Mughals all through the British rule to our modern day nation. India and Pakistan, at many times have tried to sort their differences with mango. It worked the same with United States.

So whether it the sweet and sour taste of Totapuri, the rich pulpy Kesar with gritty aftertaste, the candy sweet dussehris of Lucknow or the utterly exotic taste of Alphonso of Ratnagiri – each variety of mangoes have a flavour that speaks about centuries of love and passion for them.

India – With the biggest bite of global mango business

India – With the biggest bite of global mango business

When it comes to lucrative global fruit market, every nation proudly showcase the fruit which they can claim exclusive and uniquely theirs. Thus, Hawaii domineer pineapples, China, its lychees, Kenya, its Passion fruit. India touts for “Alphonso”-The Haffus.

Alphonso, the king of fruit, is one of the, most premium Varities of Mangoes grown in the Month of April and May at Konkan and Rattnagiri, regions of Maharashtra. This plump, juicy, sweet and sour fruit, beside its huge domestic demand is exported worldwide with huge demands from UAE, Europe and Asia.

India not only grows Alphonso but more than 1000 varieties of Mango, making India the largest producer and exporter of Mangoes. The other famous Varities known worldwide are Totapuri, Raspuri, Dusherri and Kesar. Indian Mangoes account for 40 percent of the world output, as per data from UN foods.

When it comes to export , Middle East is the main market for Indian mangoes, however India making efforts to increase its export share in the USA, Australia and Japan Markets, where the strict  compliances makes it difficult to enter the market, Indian exporters also face tough competition from Pakistan, which has cheaper than the Indian mangoes.

It’s not only Fresh mangoes, but the processed form of Mangoes is equally exported from India. Mango Pulp, prepared from selected, picked fresh mangoes which are transported to strategically located Mango processing plants. Selected high quality fruit is washed, peeled, blanched, deseeded and pulped. The ready pulp is hermetically sterilized and packed in the aseptic bags and tin cans.

Frozen pulp is also an upcoming industrial product pasteurized and deep-frozen in plate freezers. The process ensures that the natural flavor and aroma of the fruit is retained in the final product. IQF – Individual quick frozen Mango Slices, Dices and Chunks are also have increasingly demand due to their readiness and easy to use properties.

Mango Pulp/Concentrate is a perfect industrial suited product, used as ingredient for manufacturing juices, nectars, drinks, jams, fruit cheese, yoghurt, confectionery and various other kinds of beverages.

Beside Gujarat and Maharashtra states, Krishnagiri in Tamilnadu accounts for the maximum production of mangoes with nearly 36,000 hectares and processes 50000 tons of mango pulp every year

With the new season 2013 arriving, companies are energetically promoting the mango internationally through festivals and campaigns. This is definitely a promising season, as the crop is expected to be good. Says Mr Sumant Bindal, Director- Shimla Hills- one of the leading manufacturer and exports of Mango pulp from India.

India eyes huge export potential for its fresh new season, which has just started. There are expectations for a better mango season than those seen over the previous two or three years in India. An increase in the supply of mangoes is observed in the recent weeks compared with the same time last year. However, the availability of export-quality mango depends on weather condition which has been conducive this year as per the sources.

Yet the charm & nostalgia for the mango season is undeniable. It has been said that each person from the alphanso charmers has that secret desire to at least taste one Ratnagiri-Devgad Alphonso mango from India in the season otherwise what is life worth living for…