Mango Curry or Ambe Upkari south Indian style is a spicy, tangy, sweet and a tad bit salty curry made with ripe mangoes, jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) and a tempering of exotic south Indian spices like mustard, urad dal and dry red chillies. It is normally served as a side dish along with rice and dal.
Summers are an exciting time for mango lovers, especially in India. Markets are overwhelmed with varieties of mangoes (popularly called the “king of fruits”); some small, some big, some sweet, some sour etc. Although eating fresh ripe mangoes is the ultimate nirvana for all mango connoisseurs, with a myriad of different flavors and textures available, Indians love to use them in main dishes, side dishes and desserts and the most popular, in spicy, tangy pickles!
Mountains of golden yellow and some of them tinged with red mangoes beckon us. Nothing can beat taking a bite out of the golden yellow flesh of ripe exotic mangoes; but south Indians (specifically from Mangalore in the southern part), have managed to make a curry out of it!
Ambe (mango in Konkani language) upkari or curry is a spicy, tangy, a tad bit salty and sweet curry made exclusively with mangoes. The sweeter the mangoes, the better, but if you do get a slightly sour variety or even an almost ripe one, cooking it in lots of jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) will offset the tang.
Every summer, we would be scouting the market for a particular type of mango which is small, round, with a green skin which is used specifically for making this amazing curry. If you happen to live in Mangalore, well, you are the lucky ones. For folks like us who do not have that privilege, we like to make do with other varieties to quench our thirst for that flavor.
The perfect ones are the smaller varieties of mangoes; the smaller and sweeter the better. All you need is a bit of jaggery (unrefined cane sugar), a tempering of mustard, dry red chillies, urad dal (split black lentils) and a bit of hing (asafetida); add these to the cooked mangoes and ambe upkari is ready to dig into!
It is normally served as a side dish with lunch or dinner along with rice, dal and a vegetable stir fry. The best way you can enjoy this exotic curry is with your hands; no way can you use a spoon or fork; maybe a spoon to slurp the mango gravy, but the cooked mango needs Mother Nature’s cutlery; your hands. They will get messy but who cares? This is one dish every Mangalorean waits to devour during the summers.
Part way through writing for this blog post, I happened to find small mangoes, normally used only to make this exotic tangy and sweet south Indian mango curry.
So, another batch of mango curry was ready again to be devoured; slurp, slurp!!
Now that you know how to make authentic Konkani style ambe upkari or mango curry, what are you waiting for? Make it today before all the mangoes are gone from the market.
- 6 small ripe mangoes
- ½ cup powdered jaggery
- 2 green chillies
- 1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil
- 2 dry red chillies
- ½ teaspoon urad dal
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- Pinch of hing/asafetida
- Wash mangoes well. Peel the skin with your hands. Some mango pulp will be adhering to the skin; that is ok; it will not go waste.
- Place the peeled mango in a saucepan and the peels in a bowl.
- Add water, about ¼ cup to the bowl with the mango peels. Keep squeezing the peels well in the bowl with your hands to remove the pulp still sticking to it as much as possible. Transfer this water to the saucepan containing the peeled ripe mangoes. Keep repeating (adding more water) until the water is almost clear.
- Add slit green chillies to the mangoes in the saucepan. Heat on medium heat and bring to a boil.
- Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the mangoes are cooked well and become soft; about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add jaggery to taste along with some salt; adjust to suit your taste; mix well.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes or more until you get a good consistency.
- We love our mango curry a bit diluted; but if you want a thicker gravy, you can add a slurry of rice flour in water (about 2 to 3 teaspoons of rice flour in ¼ cup of water) to the boiling curry and boil until thick.
- Now, it is time to season or temper the curry.
- In a small saucepan, heat ghee. Once the ghee is hot, add mustard seeds and when they start to splutter and crackle, add the dry red chillies and hing.
- Immediately add to the curry and give it a good stir.
- Sweet, tangy and exotic Konkani style mango curry is ready. Serve it with rice, dal and a fresh vegetable stir fry for a complete meal.
- If you find the curry is very thin, you can squeeze pulp out of some of the mangoes into the water before cooking it.
- Make sure the mangoes are not too big; small or medium sized mangoes are best.
- The amount of jaggery added depends upon the sweetness of the mangoes.
- Adjust chillies according to your taste.