Monday, November 22, 2010

Everything's Coming up Green Mangoes

Aamer Ombol and Aam Porar Sharbat: green mango refreshers

**Post Factum:** 
This is one of a series of posts for Vegan MoFo 2010; my theme was a 'Virtual Random Road Trip', where I used's random geographic location generator to select locations around the globe, I then attempted to cook a few dishes from the traditional cuisine of that place. I didn't have a lot of time between generating the locations and coming up with recipes (~ 1 day). So, lacking time to do proper research, I can't vouch for the authenticity of anything I came up with. However, they are what they are, and it was a fun theme. 

This post couldn't be less appropriate to the local weather here at the moment. Both of the recipes are cooling summer treats, while here in the Pacific Northwest, we're having our first snow of the season.

Yet, the roadtrip happened upon Bangladesh and while searching for recipe ideas, these two caught my eye. I'm not trying to imply that the weather in Bangladesh is terribly warm at the moment. From what I can gather, April tends to be the hottest month there, while January is the coolest month with temperatures averaging in the mid-70's F. According to an online weather site, it's 84F and clear in Dhaka today. But, I digress.

I was a bit befuddled over the weekend, trying to figure out what to make for this destination...I quickly came to find that there are many regions, so many dishes: some sort of familiar, others completely new to me...Where to begin? What to do? How to begin on the path of the unititiated?

After all that, I decided to try a beverage and a cold soup, both made with green (unripe) mango. I have a confession about these recipes: I believe they are common in West Bengal, but I do not know for sure whether they are also common in Bangladesh. I'm hoping that they I say, befuddled.

I'll begin with the chilled soup: Aamer Ombol – Chilled Green Mango Soup

This was my favorite of the two items. A thin, cooling soup, usually eaten as part of a meal during hot summer months, it consists of green mango, dusted with turmeric and then simmered with chili, mustard seeds, and some sugar.  If you're interested, I highly recommend reading the engaging post (with full recipe).

Note: In the recipe link above, I think she leaves out the turmeric on the ingredient list, but mentions it in the directions. I just sprinkled the fruit with a light dusting of  turmeric before adding it to the pot to simmer.

Not surprisingly, it tastes like stewed fruit, pleasantly settling on the tastebuds somewhere between sweet and slightly savory. The chili in my batch (I used 1 small chili)  was not too strong; I think I would have preferred it a little hotter. The turmeric and the mustard seeds add a mellow dimension and it turns into a mild soup with sort of a deep undertone (if that makes sense). It's easy to imagine this being very suitable and welcome in hot weather. As it was, I was happy to eat it for breakfast, amidst the snow.

The next item is called Aam Panna, or Aam Porar Sharbat (in West Bengal)

I forgot to save some mint for a garnish, (darn it), but this is a beverage made with roasted unripe mangoes, mint, cumin, black salt, and green chilis. (In case you haven't guessed, aam = mango.) It's a cool beverage, meant to be the consistentcy of orange juice rather than a thicker shake-like drink. Again, I encourage you to read through the delightful post where I found the full recipe.

After you roast the mangoes, you remove the skins, collect the pulp and blend it with the mint and other spices, along with enough water to acheive the correct consistency. It was a fun process, and the drink is wonderfully minty. I have to say, the cumin was a bit strong for my tastes, and making this again, would reduce the amount by half. According to the recipe, using the kala namak, or black salt, is essential to the flavor.

Post scriptum: I used the wrong kind of salt! The salt I used is indeed black, but it was black lava salt, the Hawaiian kind. Oh well, next time I'll try it with real kala namak! Thanks to Laurie for pointing me in the right direction.

...Looking in on the colorful world of aam from the snow:


  1. Well kudos to you, in your befuddlement you came up with some very exotic treats! They're certainly like nothing I've ever had nor heard of before! How fun! And isn't it a luxurious indulgence to enjoy a taste of warmer climates when we're freezing our patoots off? Did you have any trouble finding green mangoes?

    I really like your pretty orange-stemmed goblet!

    I never can remember off the top of my head, but is kala namak the black salt that's actually a pink color, smells like sulphur and makes such a great addition to vegan "egg" dishes? Or am I befuddled too? :-)

    Your snow is so pretty, I love the photo looking in through your window past the snow-covered bush at your Bangladeshi aam goodies. And our avian travel mascots look pretty pleased with themselves for getting to be indoors and star yet again in another wonderful MoFo post! :-)

  2. That last picture is gorgeous! What great finds for the recipes, too. They sound terrific!

    We've been lucky so far here- no snow, but plenty of wind & rain.

  3. I have never roasted a mango. Seems like a great idea though! The top picture is really nice!

  4. Such pretty pictures! I love the frosted backgrounds and the color combinations. You really found interesting things to make — I've never heard of either one, but they both sound delicious.

  5. Laurie

    You're right: I used the wrong salt altogether...I used black lava salt, but know I find I was incorrect in thinking it was the same thing as the Indian black wonder I didn't taste anything sulphery...although, I would have thought lava salt would be sulphery too. Oh well, it's a wash on the aam panna front. :D

  6. So pretty, Rose! I've been looking for green mango to feature on my blog, but it's out of season (in northern Canada, ahem) apparently. When I finally get it, I will certainly be making recipes like these. Gosh, that drink looks...sounds...superfantastic...holee, kala namak in a smoothie, my imagination doesn't even go there. What's black lava salt?

    Such an awesome idea for your last picture!

  7. I should do my own research (any maybe I will) - I wonder what is the significance of using green mango instead of ripe mango. It looks like Zoa is familiar with this, and the first two pages of Google results are about restaurants ... and evidently green mangoes are common in some places.

    Those two concoctions look really good, even in the pre-winter snowscape. I especially like the looks of the iced mango drink.

  8. Well honestly, all those different black/called black but really pink/pink lava but not called black/lava without aroma/lava odiferous with sulpher/etc. salts confused me terribly at first (and still sometimes do!) I ordered my first bottle of black lava salt thinking it was going to be the kind I could make vegan deviled eggs with, and only when I opened it and got no "eggy" smell did I do some research and find out about the boggling array of salts available and learn my mistake. (And I finally located kala namak in Boise, Idaho, of all places!) It wasn't so very long ago that I thought the only kinds of salt there were were iodized and not, sea salt and road salt. :-) Anyway, I would have thought the non-eggy black lava salt was exactly what you were meant to use in this. I truly can't imagine the sulphuric kala namak (not to mention cumin and chilis) in combination with mangoes and mint! You're really brave. :-)

  9. Molly

    Glad you liked the last photo; I thought it was a fun way to show the "bigger picture" of how misplaced these warm weather treats were on this cold day. :) Hope you stay warm and cozy with Emma and Rowan and all the rest in the wind and rain!


    The roasted and cooked mangoes reminded me a lot of cooked apples...they're good, and I agree, I fun way to experiment with them in the kitchen.


    I had never heard of any of these before either...and well, my information is only as good as what I found online. The aam panna returns loads of results, but the other dish doesn't return so many, and I think is often made into a chutney with the same ingredients as opposed to a soup.

  10. Jessica

    That does sound like a nice restaurant name, if a bit overused, as you say...the green mangoes were something I tried to nail down...I believe they are just unripe mangoes, but possibly a different variety of mango from the ones commonly found around here...I just picked out the greenest and the hardest ones I could find. The drink is good, but too much cumin for me.


    I totally bought the black lava salt for pretty much the same reason; I wanted it for a vegan omelette. No wonder, it didn't turn out the way I thought it would. that same reason: to ke vegan omelette.

    Yeah, we can only guess what delicious dimensions the kala namak adds to the beverage! Now that I know I have a salt identification and knowledge base problem, I can work to fix it! :P

    I may be brave to try didn't sound bad to me on the outset at all...I have to say, I still haven't got my courage up to try peanut butter and vegan mayo yet though! :)

  11. Holy moly, I'm speaking gibberish!

  12. ZOA!

    I swear I typed in a response to you earlier, but it seems not have gone through....

    I was saying that you caught me out on the mango too: I just used the most unripe mangoes of the variety that is common here...I bet they were not exactly the same as the kind traditionally used...I can't say.

    The black lava salt was something I bought because I thought it was kala namak, but I was wrong. Apparently, the black lava salt is used more for decorative purposes rather than any distinct flavor. The drink was good, and I would make it again, but with less cumin. :)

  13. Laurie

    ..."those different black/called black but really pink/pink lava but not called black/lava without aroma/lava odiferous with sulpher/etc."...the humor in this escaped me at first,lol...good run down...:D

  14. You always find the most unique recipes. I must try the drink recipe, it looks too good to be true. I also love the photo and how beautiful it looks outside your window.

  15. Jacklyn

    If you try the drink recipe, let me know what you think...I liked it a lot except that the cumin was too strong. It is really refreshing otherwise, with the mint, mango, and green chili.

  16. Love the photos..especially the last one.

    You do find the most unique recipes, and I love it. Both the soup and drink sound good. I wonder what it would taste like with ripe mangos...hmmmm on to read your other post from the last few days...I am very behind on reading my fav. blogs!

  17. hey Rose,
    i had heard that black salt has a slight eggy taste to it?

    im so allergic to mangoes! i had to go to urgent care. lol this was only a few months ago:) so ill skip this one even though a drink of mango juice thats like orange juice sounds WONDERFUL!!!!

  18. Michelle/LovinLivinVegan

    I think the dishes would be good with ripe mangoes too. :)


    I just learned this: apparently the black salt that has the eggy taste is sort of pinky-gray rather than pure black. But I bought some other salt, that's from lava pools or something and is called black lava salt...I thought is was the one with the eggy taste, but it isn't. I haven't tasted the eggy black salt yet.

    Allergic to mangoes? Yikes. Stay safe and mango free! :D

  19. Sure is pretty! Too bad the weather was so cool... I'm sure it would be totally satisfying in the summer!

    The black (eggy) salt is so good! I found mine in an ethnic grocery store..

  20. What odd food! A spicy & salty drink? I guess it could be like a Virgin Mary? And a mustardy cold soup! Can't complain about the recipes aren't exotic.

  21. Melody

    I must try the eggy black salt soon; sounds like I've been missing out!


    You crack me up...I still laugh every time I think of your comment regarding the raisins and olives in the empanadas, you said, and I quote " I like olives, and I like raisins, but olives and raisins together with peas?I'm cancelling my trip to Bolivia!"

    I swear I still laugh when I think of that! ...these combos are not quite of that caliber...almost maybe, but not quite! :D

  22. I thought I noticed missing mint leaves, tsk tsk. These recipes make me nervous, but I'm glad you tried them. What about hubby? Did he like them? You already know that mine would sniff them, curl his lip and make a peanut butter sandwich - but that's just him. I would dig in just to say I'm open minded. Um, I'm actually trying to be positive here, but I don't think it's coming across too well.

  23. Blessedmama

    I totally get ya!

    My husband did not taste either...(and I hate to say it, but outside of dinner, he practically subsists on peanut butter and banana sandwiches!)

    I can't say these were my favorite things to eat...but it was fun to try. I froze most of the mint/mango drink...I figure with the chili, mint, and cumin, it will make a good sort of bouillon for couscous and stuff like that.

    The mango soup, I ate for breakfast and lunch the same you say, with an open mind. But the cooked mango with mustard was tasted a lot like stewed apples with a little twist...I liked it.

    I didn't even bother trying to get hubby to try either one...

    so I totally get ya! :) :)

  24. That's funny. Well, when we get together in our pretend futures, our husbands can just eat their PB sands, while you and I and the kidlets enjoy wonderful, gourmet vegan food! So there! By the way, I think your idea of using the drink as a seasoning for couscous is a good one. Mint just works so well with that grain, and bulgur too.

  25. I certainly enjoyed the thoughts of a warmer clime and all the photos are fantastic! The last photo with its contrasts of temperatures is especially good, I think!

  26. BlessedMama

    Sounds like a great plan! We'll get a huge jar of peanut butter, and they'll be happy for hours while we munch away on other things...I like to think of that in our pretend


    Hi! Glad you liked the pics...we can certainly use reminders of warmer times at the moment can't we? So glad you got your electrics back!

  27. what a great post. I made a savory mango curry for one of my mofo posts, and it was my first time ever cooking with mango. It was SO good... so now I have the bug and I want more cooked mango! I love the mango treats and the snowy window... Happy tropical dreaming to you.

  28. Amey

    Outside of chutney, I've never thought of cooking mango either. Do you find you've learned a lot from your Around the World theme? I feel like I have learned a lot just from the few destinations I've hit so far. :) :)


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