Sri Lankan mango curry is one of those dishes that you taste once and you’re going remember how good it was for the rest of your life. It’s sweet, tangy and spicy, and aromatic. The green mangos become so soft and jammy. One piece of mango from this Sri Lankan mango curry can elevate any rice dish that you’re having, to a whole new level.
I know, cooking mangoes may sound weird if you’re not familiar with it. But in Sri Lanka, we make many savory dishes with green mangoes from mango curry to chutneys to mango mixed meat curries and many more. Mangoes are way less sweet and a whole lot tangy when they are green and unripened. The flesh is hard so they hold the shape better but both the flesh and the skin become nice and soft when it’s properly cooked.
This curry shouldn’t be rushed at all. Mine usually takes about an hour of cooking time. I always cook mango curry low and slow. So the mango flavor steeps into the curry and make it flavorful. Mango pieces become nicely soft and jammy all throughout.
Finding the right mangos for the curry?
Always go for a young green mango that has green or light yellow flesh. Slightly ripened mangos work fine too.
If the mango molds slightly when you press with your finger, it’s too ripe for this Sri Lankan mango curry. Also, mango varieties that have a lot of fiber are said to be better for the curry. They hold the shape better and have a better texture when cooked. In Sri Lanka, the most common variety that we use for the curry is called “Kohu Amba”. But living in the US for years now, I never find Sri Lankan mango varieties here. I use any green mango I can find and they turn out just as good.
How much sugar to use?
It depends on how sour your green mangoes are. If the mangoes are too sour then you might want to add more sugar. Sometimes I use slightly riped mangoes which are comparatively sweeter. Then I usually reduce the amount of sugar I use. If you want to avoid adding sugar, then getting a slightly ripened mango (but make sure the flesh is not soft) is the way to go.
Sri Lankan mango curry usually goes more towards the sweeter side than sour or tangy. I’m not a person who likes sweet curries but this one is better when it’s a little sweeter. It also helps the curry to last longer without going bad.
Sri Lankan mango curry is mostly paired with rice and curry menus. Especially for lunch. Because of the high sugar content, this curry can last longer than most other curries. You can keep it for about 24 hours without refrigeration. And about 2 – 3 weeks in the fridge.
You can serve this with any rice and curry pairing of your choice.
Sri Lankan Mango Curry
This sweet tangy spicy mango curry can elevate any rice meal to the next level. Low and slow cooking makes the mango pieces turn tender and jammy and amazing! You got to try this recipe!
To mix with mango pieces
To crush in the mortar and pestle
Cut mangoes in half (cut the seeds and the seed-shell as well). Discard the seed which is inside the seed-shell. Cut each half into 2 - 4 pieces depending on the size of the mangoes. Add salt, turmeric powder and black pepper powder and mix well. Let the mango pieces marinate until you prepare other ingredients.The seed shell helps to keep the flesh intact otherwise the curry can turn mushy.
Add cloves, cardamom, and Maldive fish chips to the mortar and pestle. Crush them until there aren't any large chunks left.You can make the spices into a powder too or leave them whole. I like to crush them a little bit so I don't bite into large chunks of spices or hard Maldive fish chips. Also the powdered spices are stronger than whole spices.
Making the Curry
Heat a large clay pot or a heavy bottom pot or a saucepan. Add oil and let the oil heat up. Add cinnamon, onion, garlic, curry leaves and pandan leaves. Saute. When garlic onion start to turn translucent, add the crushed spices and Maldive fish chips. Saute until garlic and onions turn brown.
Lower the heat. Add chili powder, roasted curry powder, and salt. Saute until the curry powder and chili powder starts to turn dark brown.Adding a little bit of salt along with chili powder reduces the amount of smoke it produces.
Add the mango pieces. Mix well with all the ingredients that are in the pot.
Add water. Turn the heat to medium. Cook uncovered until water starts to simmer.
When the water starts to simmer, lower the heat to medium to low, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for about 45 minutes - 1 hour until mango pieces are soft and tender. Add some water if you feel like the pot is drying out while cooking.
When mango pieces are fully cooked and tender, add sugar and mix well. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
Cook the curry uncovered until you get the desired thickness of gravy. Mango curry will turn darker in color as you cook it down.