Mango Chutney

Posted on August 6, 2020 in John's Current Blog

August 6, 2020; Phnom Penh, Cambodia:

Champagne mangoes

There over 500 varieties of mangoes. I had had insanely delicious mangoes in the Caribbean, Mexico, Africa, and Sri Lanka before I moved here, but the “off-season mangoes” (svay kraw rdauv) here in Cambodia are perhaps my favorites. Their creamy flesh is not fibrous and they are very sweet, with hints of peach blossoms.

Mango trees in my yard. The one on the right is the favored “off-season” variety that bears fruit year-round.

If you walk the streets of our neighborhood here, which are lined with many mango trees, you will see some trees that are always covered with mangoes. These are the ones: unlike the other varieties whose season peaks, like many tropical fruits, in April, the hottest month, off-season mangoes bear fruit year-long (with most ripening in the spring, and then again in the fall).  I think the variety is Keo Romeat. Outside of Cambodia,  look for the “Champagne” or “Honey Manila” brands, grown in Mexico. They were developed by cross-breeding the Filipino Manila with other varieties. Also variously known as Ataúlfo,  young, baby, yellow, honey, Adaulfo, or Adolfo, this rich, sweet, smooth-textured variety is widely grown throughout the tropics.

This western-style, sweet-and-sour chutney marries well with composed rice dishes, cheese, and roasted and cured meats. I love a dollop atop a pork chop, but my favorite way is to tuck some into ham biscuits – a favored southern American wedding treat of tiny rolls stuffed with country ham and a bit of mustard.

Any variety of mango will work in this recipe, and they need not be fully ripe. The mangoes are simply cooked with all the ingredients until thick. It only takes about a half hour. I use surgical gloves when peeling and cutting up lots of mangoes like this because they can be irritating to my skin, but you can divide the recipe without fail. 2 cups of cut-up mangoes will yield about 3 cups of chutney. If you aren’t preserving them to be shelf-stable, you can simply store the smaller amount in the refrigerator.

4 cups brown sugar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

12 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped mangoes, mostly ripe

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup golden raisins

2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

In a large nonreactive pot, bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the raisins are soft, the onions are clear, and the chutney is thick. Put into sterilized jars, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 6 pints.