What is the first thing for us indians that comes to our mind when the season of summer sets in?....Finally we get to eat "Mangoes" after a year of waiting. And not just any type of mango but Alphonso mangoes which is considered as the "king of fruits" in India. Alphonso mangoes are best enjoyed as is. But the pulp of this mango is also very well known and is devoured by everyone, especially in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Aamras; literally means mango juice.....aam means mango and ras means juice. Aamras is popularly served with rotis or pooris and is also enjoyed as a dessert. Well i think it works best as a palate cleanser.
The quickest and easiest method of preparing aamras is to peel the skin of good ripe mangoes, cut them and put them in a blender. And that is it, you have aamras ready. However traditionally the aamras is prepared by extracting the pulp and juice of the mangoes onto a muslin cloth/ cheese cloth. The pulp passes through the muslin cloth leaving behind the fibrous strands of the fruit. This way you will end up with a rich mango pulp sans the fibrous strands which can be very annoying when in your mouth.
Being here in US, alphonso mangoes are very hard to come by. However that didn't stop me from making aamras. We happened to find a mango in a local grocery store which looks, smells, tastes and also sounds (somewhat) a lot like an alphonso mango.
I made my very own homemade aamras with Ataulfo mangoes. I know that doesn't sound anything like alphonso but its name starts with an A and ends with an O. That should be good enough i guess :). These mangoes come from Mexico and are sweet as well as delicious. We have made peace with the fact that like last year we might not get any alphonsos this year as well. Sighhhh....
Anyhow....this is hands down the easiest dessert recipe ever. Like mentioned above you can easily prepare this in a blender however i opted for the traditional method. But instead of a muslin cloth i used a metal sieve. Its kind of a messy job but if you have kids at home i am sure they would love to help you out with it :)
Ingredients: Lots and lots of ripe mangoes.....i used about 12 ataulfo mangoes. You can use as much as you can. Based on how sweet the mangoes are you can also add sugar towards the end if required. Some people also add milk to intensify its flavor.
First up select and buy good ripe mangoes. Make sure the mangoes are ripe before you start making aamras. If its not you will end up with a sour mango pulp.
1) Wash all the mangoes thoroughly.
2) Take the sieve and place it on a big bowl. Set this aside.
3) Press the mango gently from the outside to loosen all the pulp inside. By the end of it the mango will be all wobbly.
4) Remove the head of the mango and press the mango gently from the bottom onto the sieve. The pulp along with the seed with come off. Squeeze of as much pulp by hand as possible. Also remove the pulp from the seed and throw the seed and the skin away once done.
5) Repeat the same procedure will all the mangoes. Once done squeeze the pulp in the sieve with the help of a spatula. All the pulp will fall onto the bowl through the sieve. Kee doing this for a couple of minutes and finally you will be left only with the unwanted fibrous strands of the fruit. The end result will be a thick and rich mango pulp.
6) The mangoes that i bought were quite sweet so i did not add any sugar. You may at this point add sugar or even milk if required.
7) Store it in the refrigerator in an air tight container and serve chilled.