I'm not sure how the combination of mango and mustard turned out to be such a delightful pairing, but believe me, it is. The horseradish-like heat of the freshly ground mustard stands up perfectly to the tartness of the green mangoes.
This rice is a must-have in South Indian homes during mango season, but thanks to the year-round availability of fresh raw green mangoes, you can enjoy this treat whenever you wish.
1 cup diced raw green mango (peeled)
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
1 to 2 serrano chiles (to taste)
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups hot water
1 pinch salt
3 to 4 tablespoons ghee (use oil for a vegan version)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 sprig curry leaves, torn
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Step 1Grind the ingredients for the mango-mustard paste to a smooth consistency with a little bit of water -- use as little as possible. Set aside.
Step 2Add 1 tablespoon of ghee (or oil) in a Dutch oven and add the basmati rice. Toast until the grains turn opaque. Add the water, stirring to dislodge any grains that stick to the bottom. Bring to a boil, add a pinch of salt, cover, and turn the heat to low. Allow the rice to cook in peace for about 20 minutes without peeking! Once the rice is done, transfer to a wide mixing bowl, fluff with a fork, and allow to cool.
Step 3Heat the remaining ghee (or oil) in a skillet, and add the cumin seeds once the oil begins to shimmer. When the seeds split, lower the heat and add the curry leaves and give it a good stir. Add the mango-mustard paste, along with the turmeric and salt (remember the rice is already salted, so be judicious with it). Cook on low heat until all the moisture has evaporated. Transfer this paste to the cooled rice and fold it in gently so that the paste coats the rice evenly. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of plain yogurt, labneh, or raita. I served up this dish with a cranberry chutney from David Leite's blog, Leite's Culinaria.