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green mangoes?

  • j

In yesterday's Times' discussion of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, there was an assertion by the reporter (was it RW Apple?) that green mangoes were not unripe mangos but a particular kind of mangoes that were green in color. Never heard that one before and I dont quite believe it. Maybe some of our mango/asian cooking experts could comment?

Hard green mangoes - the sour kind, rather than the almost-ripe kind - seem to be pretty hard to find in NY - I am also wondering whether anybody has found a reliable source for these.

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  1. They are plentiful, in season, in Jackson Heights, Queens. That's what I use to make mango chutney. Try Patel or Subzi Mandi.

    1 Reply
    1. re: micki

      I buy them from an indian store in the East Village on 1st Avenue between 5th & 6th Sts. It's called Dowel. I also use them to make mango pickle.

      I was taught that green mango was an unripe mango, at least that's how it is in India, so that they can use them in the off season as well.

    2. I have a vague memory of a thread, way back when I was still in St. Louis. I don't have time for a "choweological dig" right now, but I'm pretty sure something was mentioned about a "special" mango, other than an unripe mango. I could be wrong; wouldn't be the first time! pat

      1. s
        Shreesh Taskar

        Quite true. There are mangoes that are naturally green in color and ripe. In India, where there are myriad varieties, there is a green mango used for mango juice or pulp.

        The flesh is yellow to light orange and is considered a 'poor man's mango' so you are unlikely to see it in tourist areas or upscale/mid scale restaurants. Most of my middle class relatives shun this variety, prefering the wonderfully fragrant Alphonso.

        The green mango (I forgot its name) is lightly fragrant, slightly acidic, and its flavor is slightly diluted by excess moisture. The flesh also fibrous, although the fibers are not as tough as some mango varieties we get in the US.

        1. Of the over 100 varieties of mango, the ONLY one that turns red when ripe is the miserable Tommy Atkins variety. Low in sugar, stringy, tough and it has an enormous pit. The ONLY reason it appears in the produce dept of a traditional store is because it turns red! Demand central American varieties (yellow, green & orange in color when ripe)from your Dept manager lest we all be stuck with this deplorable fruit. DO IT TODAY!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cynical Chef

            UGH. I share your disgust. Stupid grocers at Safeway. I ask them what variety the mangoes are and they say "they're from Mexico." What does that tell me? Then I ask them how big the pit is and they say big. Then I know they are Tommy Atkins.

            1. re: Cynical Chef

              That is a pretty cynical view. A nice ripe Tommy Atkins is neither stringy or tough. Redness alone does not indicate ripeness. I would argue you just aren't getting good quality fruit.

            2. I think this is true. I've had mangoes that are green outside but ripe --- orange-to-yellow flesh, fairly soft (but not mushy) and highly acidic. I think these are what the previous poster is describing when he talks about mangoes in India.
              Then there are the green mangoes that are sold by street vendors in Thailand and Vietnam --- a lighter green outside than the mangoes above, actually, but with light green, crispy, sour flesh. Sort of like a granny smith apple, but more intense. These mangoes never turn yellow or orange, they don't sweeten up, and they don't acquire the characteristic mango "softness".

              1. In the Costcos here in SoCal, they've stocked Keitt variety mangoes, which are avocado-green with occasional spots of yellow; to my understanding, they never turn any other color but green. Quite nice specimens.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mark Lee

                  I bought some of the Costco keitt variety mangoes. Yes, they are bright green but not the same as green mangoes in Asia. These keitt are sweet, not sour, and the flesh is bright yellow (the flesh looks same as a red Mexican mango). I think when an Asian speaks of green mango it has hard, greenish whitish flesh and sour taste. But that's not to say that keitt are bad, I quite enjoyed my purchase.

                2. In a small village in the northern Phillipines (two hours' hike from the road, but an "off the beaten track" tourist destination due to stunning rice terraces) I was served green mango with salt by a friendly cafe owner, picked from a nearby tree. Her English was good and she explained that they weren't ripe YET by Western standards but that her people preferred them green. So, I think there are at least some people in the world eating unripened green mangos that *will* ripen later.
                  That said, I wouldn't be surprised that once people started eating mangos both green and ripe, surely some time ago judging from the myriad recipes & uses for both, people started growing some varieties that were better green and some varieties that were better left to ripen...
                  I think sometimes our desire to be expert foodies, showing off our knowledge in these debates of authenticity, we forget that there are probably many, many "authentic" versions of most things people eat...

                  1. Green mangoes are one of my favorite fruits... I came from the Philippines and there are quite a number of different mango varieties out there. You're right, green mangoes are the hard, unripe mangoes, that are normally sour in taste.

                    OMG, just thinking about it makes me crave... i'm currently 11weeks pregnant and i've been searching for green mangoes, but i can't find any here in San Jose, CA area... Anyone who can help me find green mangoes in the area???

                    1. Green mangos are usually Indian mangoes. They grow in places like the Philippines and here in Colombia. While one can eat unripe mangos of other varieties, the green Indian is most suited. Indian mangos are usually eaten with fermented shrimp paste in the Philippines; and with a bit of salt here.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        The salty Philippine shrimp paste eaten w/ green mangoes is "bagoong". the mix of salt and sour is sooo good. not uncommon to add a bowl of hot white rice to these two ingredients and call it a meal. jo_girl, if ur truly desperate the big filipino grocery stores sell peeled green mangoes that are packaged in vacuum blister packs. not quite as good as whole fresh mangoes, but not bad. I got some at the one big place in Vallejo (forget the name, it's the one next to Max's).

                        Sam, have u lived in PI also? we might be the only two people here who've lived in both Colombia and PI. talk about 2 countries bursting with fruit options.

                        1. re: pushslice

                          pushslice, I lived in the Philippines for 14 years so speak Tagalog and some Cebuano (so I knew it was bagoong, but didn't want to bore people). I take it you're from the Philippines? So when did you live in Colombia?

                          Yes, fruit options are enormous in Asia and much of Latin America. But then go to Brazil--as much or more fruit, with a real fruit eating culture!

                          s.fujisaka@cgiar.org

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Lived in both countries as a child, and go back to visit every so often.
                            Fruits I wish I could get here in the US, for eating and/or juicing:
                            -Lanzones
                            -Rambutan
                            -Mango de Manila
                            -Mangosteen (well, they're here, but I want 'em fresh and cheap!)
                            -Lulo
                            -Feijoa (sp)
                            -Maracuya

                            BTW, coupla days ago for breffas we had pandesal spread w/ arequipe . i rico !

                            1. re: pushslice

                              Yes, I really miss the rambutan and lansones seasons here. Rambutan is grown in southern Mexico, but somehow didn't taste quite as good as in the Philippines and Indonesia.