A mango a day…
More like dozens of mangoes a day Saturday at the Mangoes at the Moana event at the Sheraton Moana Resort & Spa, a Westin property. Mango pies, mango tarts, mango crunch, mango cake, mango lumpia, mango rice, mango bread, mango manju, chicken stuffed with mango, mango soda, mango popsicles, mango cocktails (no, I didn’t indulge) …
We had fun and we ate well and you can’t say fairer than that. I came home hoarse from emceeing the recipe competition, achy from being on my feet all day and so tired I dozed off on the sofa for a while — and I’m not a napper.
But I’ve got my second wind in time to share some mango recipes with you.
First, the mango manju I demonstrated, which I promised to publish as soon as the event was over. This recipe is a distillation of quite a few I encountered in various books and of a number of testing sessions — mine, and those of my friend, Marylene Chun. (And, Marylene, as usual, some of your hundreds of cousins were there at the event!)
This manju is made with a very soft, very buttery pastry. The sugar in the recipe is important: it lends both sweetness and, more importantly, structure. Watch these carefully, bake one tray at a time and keep them on the middle shelf of the oven; the tops will be light golden and the bottoms well browned. Don’t fuss if the tops are a little torn and some mango shows through, just be sure there’s no leakage on the bottom of the manju or the mango filling will burn.
For the filling:
18 ounces peeled, seeded mango, chopped (pref. Haden)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the pastry:
5 cups flour (and a little more in an open bowl for rolling)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups butter (or butter-flavored shortening or half butter, half shortening), chilled, cut into slices
12 ounces canned cream (aka evaporated milk), or you can use real cream —plus more cream for brushing
To make a the filling: Place mango, lemon zest, sugar and cinnamon in large saucepan. Bring to a boil; turn down to medium and cook, stirring, until thickened and jammy. Remove from heat and cool.
For pastry: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until fully incorporated. Stir in cream to make a very soft, sticky dough. Divide mixture into four pieces; form each into a log; wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Remove one chilled log to a waxed paper-lined surface. Cut into 7-8 pieces. Roll each piece in flour and, using hands, pat into a round about the size of a small tortilla. Place 1 tablespoon mango filling in the center of the round; fold in two sides, then fold in remaining sides, pinch and pat to form a hockey puck shape. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Brush each with canned cream. Place on middle shelf of oven. Bake 35 minutes (the manju will be golden brown; they’ll look done at 25 minutes or so but need the longer baking time to bake through).
Repeat with each log.
Makes about 30 large manju. (You can make them smaller. However, be sure there’s mango in every bite.)
A big hit was a recipe I demonstrated to amuse the audience while the mango recipe competition was going on. My friend Davis Nguyen of Paul Brown Salon & Day Spa, a great cook, gave me the recipe and prepped the ingredients for me. When I served it, people really enjoyed its bright, clean flavors — “refreshing,” was a common description. I wish I’d take a picture of it; it was so pretty with bright yellow mango, green herbs and glistening with the dressing.
You need firm, partly ripe mangoes for this, neither green nor fully orange. The herbs add freshness and the nuts and onions crunch. If using shrimp or chicken, marinate them in the dressing briefly while prepping the mangoes and making the salad; drain and mix shrimp or chicken with mangoes. Pour dressing over. Be sure to chop the herbs and to dress the salad just before use. Proportions are up to you but as a beginning, for four people, use 3-4 mangoes and 1 cup of meats or shrimp. If the mangoes seem particularly sharp, use 1 riper mango.
Davis’ mango was chopped perfectly and someone asked me how he did. I didn’t know but I’d suggest one of two methods: Use a mandoline or cut the cheeks from the mango, carve out the flesh, slice it thinly crosswise, then cut those crosswise pieces into strips. Because the mango is not ripe, it holds it shape well.
VIETNAMESE MANGO SALAD
Quarter-ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
Teriyaki-flavored beef jerky, poached shrimp or poached or grilled chicken, cut into thin strips
Mint or Thai basil (remove stems, use primarily the leaves), roughly chopped just before serving
Roasted peanuts or macadamia nuts
Fried onions — thinly slice onions, chop and fry in vegetable or peanut oil over medium heat until browned and very crisp, drain on paper towels
For the dressing:
2 ounces Thai fish sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
4 ounces water
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (most of the juice from 1 lemon)
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce or Sambal Oelek, or to taste
Place the mango in a salad bowl with meats or fish and lightly toss. Top with herbs, nuts and onions. Dress just before serving and serve immediately.
I’ll add the winning recipe to this blog — a curried mango rice pupu with two sauces — when I get my hands on it, probably Monday. I’ll also try to get chef Rodney Uyehara’s goat cheese and mango-stuffed chicken; I managed to get away with only part of the recipe.