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Everything Mango

My Magazine 2022/08
4 min
Are you a mango lover too? Then The Gambia is the perfect destination for mango lovers. Schedule your visit between May and August and enjoy the abundance of mangoes everywhere in every shape, colour and taste. You can get it at almost every street vendor for a reasonable price (as long as it is not imported), or you can easily pluck it from the trees or ask your Gambian friends or family to share some fruits from their fruit.

Although mango is a delight to enjoy without any processing, we have listed some ideas on how to use mango in your daily diet. Don't forget, mango is one of the fruits The Gambia is most famous for, so if you come here with a mission to eat as much mango of the best taste as possible, then keep on reading. 

There are many shapes of mango available in The Gambia, and they also differ in taste. In the local language, some of the most popular types are: 

  • Kett – this type of mango is sour when not ripe and very sweet and juicy when ripe. Its appearance doesn't change much when getting ripe, so you can mostly figure it out by checking the softness. It is big, oval and green with some red undertones when still hard. It lasts throughout the rainy season, and you can find it at the market for the longest period. 

  • Jurr is the most common type of mango, the most expensive and sweetest when ripe. It changes colour from green to yellow and has a unique aroma. It is almost the same size as Kett but more rounded. You will find it on the market first of the season, but it won't be available for long.

  • Tandugu is big, heavy, juicy and sweet, in appearance similar to kett but more rounded. The difference is in the taste. Tandugu has a strong aroma, and you can smell the ripe fruits even when you pass the tree bearing it. 
  • Cherry mango is small and has many strings, so if you eat it like an apple, you might be left with some fibres between your teeth. It is orange when ripe but reddish green when still hard. It is not as sweet as other types mentioned but is the sweetest among small mangos.

  • Lamen is middle-sized but cannot be eaten when unripe since it has a powerful sour taste. From green, it turns to dark orange or even red and tastes very sweet when totally ripe.

You can also see other types on the market but not in large quantities. However, we advise you to taste all kinds and find your favourite one. 

 

Raw mango

Raw fruit is an obvious choice, which should not be missed. The fruit without additives and processing is a typical and beloved dessert, snack or even main meal. Kett and Jurr are beloved in The Gambia when not ripe with the addition of salt and pepper. 

Mango Jam or chutney

Jam is an obvious choice and very simple to make (with cooking, adding sugar and sometimes essence), it can last for a long, and it is the perfect choice of spread. 

The spicier version, chutney, goes well with many salty dishes as a condiment. Curry, salmon balls, fritters and turkey are just some of them. 

Pounded mango

Locally, pounded in a mortar, with the addition of salt, pepper and Maggie (or any other spices mix) is a popular side dish to the benachin or even a solo meal. 

Mango porridge

Half ripe mangos can be peeled, cut into slices, boiled, and mixed into a smooth paste. Some will add sugar, and some will add milk powder and eat it hot or cold. 

Dried fruits

Unripe fruits need to be peeled, cut into slices, boiled for some time, and dried under the sun. It makes it a perfect snack. 

Mango juice

The ripe fruits are the best choice when making juice. Cut fruits and simply put them in a blender. Mango is excellent in combination with passion fruit juice. 

Fruit salad

Cut mango into small pieces and mix it with sliced apples, bananas, or other seasonal fruits. You can also add milk if you like it the Gambian way. 

Mango in the sauce

You can use mango to add to sauces of main Gambian dishes – usually chu. Jurr, while still sour, can also be added to benachin. 

 

Some of the more international ideas for mango recipes are: 

Mango ice cream

Apart from ice cream (a simple recipe that includes only mango paste with whipped heavy cream and condensed milk), you can also use mango to make homemade slushy, frozen yoghurt or sorbet.

Mango salad

Mango can be combined not only with fruit, but you can add it to different vegetable-based salads. Some good combinations are with creamy avocado and tomatoes; cilantro and red onions; cucumber and onions; shrimps; cucumber with cilantro and carrot; chicken breast on lettuce with honey lemon dressing. You can also go for grilled mango with pineapple and green salad. 

Cake

Mango can be the perfect choice for cake curd, mango flower tart, cheesecake with passionfruit or ice cream mango cake. The options are almost endless. 

Courtesy of Footsteps Ecolodge

Lassi

Don't miss the taste of Indian yoghurt drink with mango and cumin. 

Smoothie

To get a delicious orange smoothie, combine blended mangos with either turmeric, carrot, or ginger for some extra kick, orange, and/or coconut water.

Another great option is berries and bananas, where you can also use frozen fruits.

Rice pudding and Sticky Rice

Simple but delicious rice pudding, prepared in coconut milk with mango puree or sliced mango topping, can be a perfect snack. 

For sticky rice, you can soak mango in coconut milk overnight and steam it with rice in a saucepan. 

Mango salsa 

Use mango salsa with tortillas, shrimp tacos or grilled fish. To prepare salsa, you can use ripe mangos with tomato, red onions, cilantro, lime juice, and red pepper. 

Mango margarita or mango cocktail

Change the classic one for a mango margarita and enjoy its extra sunny taste. 

Mango with yoghurt and cereals

In combination with yoghurt, different nuts, seeds, cereals or granola, it can be a perfect start to your day. 

Curry

Chicken curry with tropical fruits or creamy chicken korma with coconut milk is something you shouldn't miss to taste.  

Ice tea

Add mango juice and honey to chilled black tea, and enjoy a refreshing drink with plenty of ice. 

 

Need more reasons to visit The Gambia? Check them here

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Founder, Just Act Gambia
Jane first travelled to Janjanbureh, The Gambia, in February 2004 for just one week through an educational link. That was enough to capture her heart, and she decided to try and support the community in some small way. On subsequent visits, staying with Tida Manka, the then retired Head Teacher of the Methodist Lower Basic School, she met her brother, the late Foday Jibani Manka (later to become the National Assembly Member). Foday had immense historical and cultural knowledge of the island, and Jane felt this knowledge should be shared. Seeing some tourists coming to the island with guides from the coast, not always with accurate knowledge to convey, Jane suggested that some local young people should be trained to become local tour guides and that a local skills centre which she had supported from the onset should be used to provide training in providing goods and services for tourists. Thus began her main aim of training Official Local Tour Guides recognised by the Gambia Tourism Board. She decided that setting up a charitable status would be advisable. It was to be a long task and finally achieved but since 2017 has been superseded by a much greater initiative through YEP Gambia, which is chronicled elsewhere on this site. Just Act Gambia became a recognised charity in early 2010. Just Act Gambia has developed through collaboration with the local community and various initiatives in response to local needs.

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