I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired lately. There’s too much going on at once and I feel I’ve lost all creative abilities. The scorching heat isn’t helping in any way, and if I’m not stressing about work or something or other, I am just hot and annoyed. Today, however, I decided to go to a market I have not been to in a while, and that’s where I found something to make the day look better.
Kairi. Raw mangoes. Decidedly sour yet fragrant. Deep green. Beckoning. One whiff, and I was transported to Khanapur. I bought a couple and rushed home. Sat in a corner cradling them in my palms and felt as if the memories of a long time ago were giving me the strength to go on and look at the bright side. I wondered what I should do with them–keep them for a curry, pickle them, make a chutney? Just then, I happened to glance at a lonely glass sitting on the counter top. It had to be Kairi Panhe–it was a sign!
Kairi Panhe is the Maharashtrian equivalent of the Aam Panna–a refreshing combination of cooked raw mangoes, jaggery, and sweet spices that can not just cool you on a hot, hot Mumbai day but also make for an excellent cocktail base. Nothing delights me as much as seasonal produce, and today, I thank it for giving me energy–literally and figuratively.
- 2 medium-sized raw mangoes (or 1 cup cooked raw mango pulp)
- 3/4 cup grated jaggery or raw sugar (more or less depending on the sourness of the mango and your liking)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 large pinch of green cardamom powder
- 1 large pinch of saffron
- Cook the whole mangoes, skin and all, in a pressure cooker or pot with enough water until soft.
- Peel the mangoes and squeeze out the pulp, discarding the skin and stone.
- Place the mango puree and all other ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
- Decant into a sterilised bottle and refrigerate for up to a week.
- To serve, place 2 tablespoons of the concentrate in a glass and fill with cold water, a few mint leaves if liked, and a couple of ice cubes. A dash of vodka or white rum is excellent with this!