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In winters, I love the nip in the air, the festivals, the long jackets, the layering of clothing and the boots that I am Oh- so-crazy about. It’s my look-like-a-model season. Then comes summer, the associations that I make with the season are long international holidays, aqua blue swimming pools, laburnums, and mangoes. As the sun scorches for longer hours, the market starts getting flooded with the “king of fruit”, the “aam-azing” mangoes.

Summer = mangoes is an identification one can never go wrong with. You can see the phalwalas (fruit vendors) parked in every possible lane selling different varieties of mangoes. Our country produces approximately 283 varieties of it. Not all actors are marquee names in the dazzling world of films, similarly, only about 30 of these are the stars. Most popular are Alphonsos or Hapus from Maharashtra, Badami from Karnataka, Chaunsa from Himachal Pradesh and Dasheri and Langra from Uttar Pradesh.

My earliest memories of mangoes were of Nani’s house in Kanpur. As soon as she heard we were coming in for the summer holidays petis (cartons) of mangoes were purchased. Huge tubs in the house, then, would be filled with water and the fruit was left to soak in it. This helped remove all the pesticides besides enhancing its cooling effect or the taseer on the body. I would devour 5-6 in one go and then have an upset stomach following the binge. But that didn’t stop my love for the fruit. I could replace them for all meals.

At home, Mom loved eating mango along with her meal, not later. Once she had attended to the family she would finally sit down with her plate. With each bite of roti and sabzi, she would suck on the mango and relish the experience to the fullest before popping the next bite in. However, having a “mango addict” of a daughter had started to upset her. Every time she stocked up the refrigerator with mangoes, she found it empty after a few hours. Ultimately she started locking up the room where the refrigerator was kept. The daughter wasn’t happy but at least the mother got to enjoy her “mango plus meal” platter thereafter.

Memories of the yesteryears will never be erased and I often go down that nostalgia lane with a smile on my face. I was so crazy about mangoes. I still love them. However, somewhere along the way, I became aware of the calorie intake and how having too many could lead to an expanding waistline. I now look for ways to relish them and still enjoy mango smoothies, mango milkshake, even throw chunks of the fruit in summer salads. But it’s the mango-chia pudding that I love the most.

The mango-chia pudding is a perfect bowl of deliciousness. Alternating layers of vanilla-infused chia pudding and mango cream provide the textures to every scoop. It is vegan and is super healthy. Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. Together with mango that is packed with nutrients, it makes a wholesome breakfast to kickstart the day or served in delicate glasses, makes for a yummylicious dessert. For a mango lover like me, this one gets a big thumbs up from me.

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Mango - Chia Pudding
  1. Stir together coconut milk, chia seeds, cinnamon powder 2 tbsp maple syrup, and vanilla extract until well combined. Refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours to allow the chia seeds to expand and soften.
  2. Reserving a few chunks for garnishing, puree the rest of the mangoes with 1 tbsp maple syrup.
  3. Create layers of the chia mixture and the mango puree alternately in serving glasses.
  4. Garnish with mango chunks and serve chilled.
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