Indian Mango is how I have always known these smaller, pudgier and less intensely flavored variety of mango. It is a strange name however, as all mangoes are ultimately believed to have originated in or around India and to select this common name is a bit odd given that there are hundreds if not thousands of species of mangoes all related to the original Indian Mango. Nevertheless, Indian (dot not feather) mangoes are nearing their absolute summer peak right now and they are falling off of trees in the Southern Tagalog area. A favorite summer fruit from my childhood, I could eat half a dozen of these mangoes (green) with some rock salt or shrimp paste (bagoong) and I also like them semi-ripe. Now is the time to buy several kilos at the markets and enjoy this fleeting summer fruit.
On a recent drive through Batangas, I took this photo of a bunch of at least 20 mangoes on a tree just by the roadside. The tree must have had at least 1,500 fruit total and it wasn’t even that big. A nearby stand was selling the fruit at P10 a kilo and we bought 5 kilos to take to the beach. Glistening with sticky sap, the fruit were picked just hours before. Peeled and sliced, they were crisp, tart and delicious. They were terrific just plain or made into a thai style salad with a dressing of patis, chilli, some sugar and lime juice. When they are really cheap and plentiful, they also make a terrific and low cost mango chutney that will last several months in the fridge.
On the way home from the beach, we decided to stop and buy some more. A 55 kilo sack of mangoes cost us PHP180!!! Or just PHP3.27 per kilo. Now that is what I call the deal of the month. What can you possibly buy that is P3.27 per kilo that tastes this good? When we got home, my daughter promptly sorted the contents of the sack, over 300 pieces into two piles: large and enviable, and medium and run-of-the-mill. She set up a table in front of our gate and proceeded to sell the mangoes for P12 and P10 per kilo. Compared to the local markets and supermarkets where they were asking P15-20 per kilo, she was priced just right. She sold over 35 kilos and made a huge profit for a couple of hours work – more than 3 weeks allowance in 3 hours! Good way to practice her math as well. We distributed the rest to friends, neighbors and anyone who liked mangoes. As these ripen, they turn sweeter but I find that they are a little too fibrous compared to the smoother Cebu mangoes. Indian mangoes are near their peak…have some before they disappear until next year!