Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Morning Mango

The best part about being Indian is that every time I come home, my mother gives me lots of yummy goodies to bring back with me to school. On my last trip home, I was given a box of delicious mangoes that I couldn’t wait to dig into.

Now, we Indians take our mangoes very seriously. My father, who spent much of his childhood plucking ripe fruit off the trees of his family’s southern Indian coffee plantation, will obsess over each mango, checking it for smell, color, and texture. The result—the perfect mangoes to eat plain or dressed up.

This morning, I was down to my last mango in the box. I hate to say it, (Shh! Don’t tell my father!) but after the 1236292th bowl of sliced mango I have had for breakfast over the last week, I am now totally sick of eating it plain. I stared at the mango. I rolled it around on the counter a bit, hoping that it would bounce to life and tell me what to do with it. And I was stumped. What to do?

Aha! I recently saw a recipe for a mango parfait in Cooking Fresh magazine. Looks delicious! I’ll just grab a fancy parfait glass from my cabinet—oh wait.

My roommate and I prefer the unbreakable plasticware that our grumpy, temperamental monstrosity of a dishwasher can toss around as much as it likes. Alright, so I don’t have a parfait glass, or really any nice glass. No big deal! I’m not going to let my hodgepodge collection of hand-me-down dishes and cookware stop me from eating like a queen, especially on this beautiful Sunday morning.

After tweaking the recipe a bit to my liking, I came up with a tasty faux-parfait that any plastic bowl should be honored to contain.

Here is the secret- a drizzle of cinnamon and cardamom simple syrup!

Don’t let that scare you! It's called simple syrup for a reason! In fact, it's so simple that I was able to make it in a few minutes between studying GRE vocabulary flashcards. calumny…loquacious…upbraid…oh look, I’m making fancy simple syrup…acrimonious….compendium…

Seriously, it’s a piece of cake.

Cinnamon Cardamom Simple Syrup

¼ cup of granulated sugar
¼ cup of water
a teaspoon of cardamom pods
a piece of cinnamon stick

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat with the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer until it is thickened (about 8 minutes). Let it cool and remove the cinnamon and cardamom.

You are now left with divine syrup that you can drizzle over fruit and vanilla ice cream or stir into a hot cup of chai.


Mango and Greek Yogurt Faux-fait

1 mango- peeled, seeded, and chopped
1½ tsp of cardamom cinnamon sugar syrup
½ cup plain greek yogurt
a handful of chopped nuts (roasted almonds or pistachios are best)

So you're at standing in your grocery store dairy-section, reaching out for the plain greek yogurt, when you suddenly see an abundance of flavors from vanilla to honey. You're starting to change your mind. Whoaaaa! Back off and step away from the yogurt!

Plain greek yogurt, which is regular yogurt that has been strained to achieve a thick consistency, is totally under-appreciated! It's tart and rich in flavor. It's great on its own, and the tangy taste of the yogurt goes perfectly with the sweetness of the syrup-infused mango. Lose the unnecessary calories and artificial flavoring and go for the good stuff! I promise you wont be sorry. And isn't it good for us to step out of our comfort zones once in a while?

ANYWAYS, enough of that, let's get back to the recipe.

Cut up a mango and drizzle it with the sugar syrup. Let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow the juice of the mango to mingle with the flavors of the syrup. Do not let it sit for more than an hour or it will become mushy! Slather the mango with a generous amount of velvety yogurt. Sprinkle your creation with chopped roasted almonds, chopped pistachios, or whatever you happen to have on hand. Voila! What you are left with is a sweet, tart, and crunchy breakfast that will fill you up and keep you satisfied.

Goodness, could this be a multipurpose dish? I think so! For a delicious dessert, ditch the yogurt and replace it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

What a wonderful way to start (or end!) your day.

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