April 15, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: M for ‘Mankurad’ - Goa’s not-so-aam Mango

Ask any Goan what summers mean to them, and you will find one word making its way in almost all the answers…’Mankurad'. 

It is one of the blessings of nature that Goa is known for its rich seasonal variety of fruits. Mangoes in Goa cover the largest area under fruit crops. A bountiful harvest of Mangoes; Mussarat, Malgesh, Mankurad, Culas, Bishop, Afons, Hilario, Gadgil, Kolar, Fernandin, to name a few, mark the ethos of Goan summers. 

Each variety has its own unique flavour. But if you imagine a kingdom with mangoes as subjects, there is no denying that the Goan Mankurad will be king. 

The name ‘Mankurad’ is the local version of its original name, ‘Malcorado’, which means poorly coloured. The pale reddish-yellow and greenish hue of the mango that made the Portuguese assign it that name. Kurad, Goa Mankur, Malcorado, or Corado are some of the other names the Mankurad mango goes by in Goa. 

It’s a shame Shakespeare wasn’t Goan, or he’d have said, “What’s in a name? A ‘Mankurad’ by any other name would taste as great.”

Even before you bite into this heavenly mango, you will be besotted by its aroma. The scent of Mankurad mangoes kept to ripen in wicker baskets laden with stacked hay in a warm dry corner of the storeroom in Goan houses fills the home and heart with an unexplainable joy. 

Weighing around 200-250 gms, the Goan Mankurad mango has a really small and flat mango stone or seed, and hence is more pulpy and less fibrous than other varieties. It has an exclusive sour-sweet and velvety flavour, a combination quite distinct in taste. Also known as the ‘table mango’,  it is a sheer delightful to eat, and although enjoying it may be a messy affair, it is worth every bit of the mess. 

Back in the day, Goa was believed to have more than a hundred varieties of mangoes. But with deforestation and concrete jungles on the rise, there are fewer Mankurad trees than there once were. 

Worthy of mention here is the Mankurad festival of Goa, where jams, pickles, squashes and other mango based beverages prepared using the Mankurad mango are exhibited. Organised to inculcate love towards the humble Goan mango, this festival aims to promote Mankurad cultivation across the state and to encourage planting Mankurad mango saplings by locals in their own backyards. 

Goan mangoes have always been known to be best in the world. 

If you don’t believe me, here are testimonies of eminent people over the ages. 

1) The Portuguese Renaissance Sephardic Jewish doctor and pharmacognosy expert, Garcia da Orta extraordinary Colóquios dos simples e drogas da India could assert that mangoes 'surpass all the fruits of Spain.'

2) In 1963, Italian adventurer, Nicollao Manucci once said, “The best mangoes grow in Goa.”

3) In the 18th century, the Scottish sea captain, Alexander Hamilton said,'The Goa mango is reckoned the largest and most delicious to the taste of any in the world, and the wholesomest and best tasted of any fruit in the world.'

Come March, the Goan market starts slowly filling up with mangoes. By April, they become a common sight. As summer ends, locals have had their fill and are now preparing to make Mangad, a delightful, golden yellow jam made from the ‘Mussarat’ variety of mangoes and thereby made to last all year round. 

The Mankurad, however, teaches us to enjoy life’s pleasures while they last.  So irresistible is its scent, that one can’t even enter the kitchen without longing to have a bite. And then before you know it, it gets devoured. 

On that delightful note, I will sign off and dig my teeth into the luscious Mankurad mango that has magically appeared at my table while I was writing this. 

And for all the mango-mania that lies ahead this summer, for the natural  gastronomic delight nature has provided to us Goans, for the mango that tugs at our heart strings like nothing else, here’s me saying, ‘Obrigado, Mankurad Goa!’

Stick tomorrow for a topic most researched by tourists visiting my lovely state. 

Until then, like we Goans like to say, 

Mog aasu di.

(Let there be love!)


I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Obrigado, Goa!’, under which I’ll be writing 26 posts on Goa (April 1-30th, excluding Sundays), each post corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet. You can read more about it in my theme reveal post


Anagha Yatin said...

Summer the season of Mango! I miss it. Mankurad sure seems to be a competition to King of Mango, Hapus in terms of size, aroma and flesh.
Its sad to know that number of varieties of mangoes grown in Goa is on decline courtesy deforestration and urbanization.

Suchita said...

Love love mangoes. Give me anyone, I'll eat it :D

Pri said...

Anagha, Hakusho (or Afonso) is available in Goa too. But Mankurad will always stay King.
Try it once and you will knoq what I mean.

It's not cloyingly sweet like Hapus, but has a distinctly wonderful taste.

Pri said...

Haha...yes, Suchita. It's ironical how an extraordinary fruit like that has such an 'aam' name, no?;D

Rethink Mindful said...

Mango is my favorite. Not that I am a great fan of Mango and crazy over it, but yes I do love Mango. Specially I love to eat a full Mango, slowly. Also we prepare a special dish named Kacha Aam Makha. Green mangoes are sliced, then they're mixed with oil, salt, and chilli flakes. Ah, it's very yummy. Try it once Pri.

Pri said...

Ahhh, Swarnali. I've had that. Probably goes by some other name in my part of the world (will find out). But tastes just as delish. So I know exactly what you mean.
'Kaccha aam makha' is an intriguing name though. Thanks for sharing that with me. :)