My First Chutney

Posted in Fish, Mango, Tuna on May 23rd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

It’s really difficult to find a recipe for mango that doesn’t follow ‘mango’ with either ‘salsa’ or ‘chutney’. Since I’m not a salsa person I gave in to the chutney side tonight to make dinner, Seared Tuna with Mango Chutney.


  • 1 3/4 pounds center-cut tuna fillets, 1-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger root
  • 1 to 2 mangoes, flesh cut into large dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (1-ounce box) golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sugar

I had to quarter this a little awkwardly for my one piece of fish, using half a mango (the other half will be a snack at work or mixed in yogurt) and ignoring the raisins outright.

Oh and there they go with the “good quality” again – where do I find out if my olive oil is up to standard? I’d post a picture but I would be too embarrassed if it’s not.


  • Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, rub it on both sides of the tuna fillets and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Actually it makes more sense to just leave the fish in the fridge until it’s being cooked at the end, but rearranging the order would have made the original recipe read awkwardly.

  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and ginger and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the diced mango. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Add the orange juice, cider vinegar, raisins, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, stirring until combined. Increase the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced.

With the cutting back on the recipe there wasn’t really much in the way of liquid to reduce in the first place, but I let it simmer while preparing my side-spinach since I wanted to use the same pan to cook the tuna.

  • While the chutney is cooking, prepare the tuna:

Or after the chutney has cooked if you’re trying to save on dishes. Now skip back to step one and take that tuna out of the fridge and cook it like all previous seared tuna. There seems to be only two methods – oil the pan and put the tuna in, or oil the tuna and put it in the pan.

  • Transfer to a cutting board and cut the fillets into thick slices, across the grain. Divide the slices of tuna among individual plates and spoon some of the mango chutney alongside.

A plate I can be proud of – the spinach was sauteed in a bit of sesame oil with soy sauce and sesame seeds.

However I’m not sure if what I made, despite the name, can be considered a true chutney. At the least it seems to be a very westernized version of an Indian condiment, especially considering there weren’t even any spicy ingredients for me to intentionally leave out.

Mango Pudding

Posted in Dessert, Mango on May 15th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

It’s still happy mango season going by the sales – 4 for $5, 5 for $5! I can tell I’m starting to get a little mangoed out when I find myself having to rush to use them up before they go bad, but I can’t pass up prices like that while they’re available.

I had a couple false starts with this recipe – I explicitly bought the coconut milk for it one day and totally forgot the gelatin. In the meantime I’m sure I had to cycle through mangoes.


  • 2 medium to large ripe mangoes
  • 1 packet gelatine (3 tsp.)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup good-quality coconut milk

Like with the garlic cloves, I wish they gave more of a measurement than number of mangoes since they comes in so many varieties. I don’t know how my yellow mangoes compare to the “normal” mangoes I expect they’re using. They seem like they’re smaller but they could be like the Small Beer vs Large Beer and actually be the same amount of flesh.

As for the good quality coconut milk, I’ve yet to have an opportunity to go on my rant about recipes that insist you use “good” ingredients, implying my choice of olive oil or soy sauce is inferior, or that I keep the good quality coconut milk on the back of the shelf for special occasions.


  • Do this:

  • And then do this:

  • In a saucepan, heat up the water until it reaches a rolling bowl. Remove from heat. While stirring the water with a whisk or fork, sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and stir briskly in order not to have any lumps.

You have to be really quick on the whisking because once those little lumps form they’re reluctant beyond my patience to go away. But I tend to follow a ‘when in doubt, go to the next step’ philosophy.

  • Add the sugar to the hot water/gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve.
  • Add this mixture to the mango in the food processor/blender. Also add the coconut milk. Blitz briefly until ingredients are combined.

Then the waiting… it’s the same whether you’re making pudding out of a box or out of a… mango. Into bowls and into the fridge for 2+ hours.

The weird thing is while being aware that I was eating a pretty exotic dessert, I was also kind of bored. It tasted pretty much like the mango part of the mango tapioca pudding I made recently enough, and I actually wondered if I should just add some tapioca to round it out. A few days later though, giving my taste buds a chance to calm down from the mango overload I’ve been experiencing, definitely good stuff.

Lessons in Tapioca

Posted in Dessert, Fruit, Mango, Taro on April 8th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with tapioca this week. Mangos too of course, oh yes the mangos are coming, but first it was taro.

Looking for a way to use up that leftover coconut milk, I found Taro coconut milk with tapioca off of a blog with a really great name. Following her process all too well, I also ended up with a gelatinous blob of my first (and only) try, although looking back she said “solid block” so I’m thinking perhaps ‘gelatinous blob’ is just the natural state of cooked tapioca.


  • 2/3 cup mini tapioca pearls
  • 600g (about one med) taro
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

I cut this way way back to use up half a can of coconut milk, the end of a box of instant tapioca, and while I have some baby taro I originally planned to use, I went ahead and finished off the bag of frozen taro pieces I had in the freezer too.

Gelatinous tapioca blob and the coconut milk-taro didn’t want to mix so well but I could tell this would be a good one if done correctly. Apparently I wasn’t expecting much from the start because I didn’t bother to take pictures.

It did however set me off on a mission to find real tapioca pearls, whatever they might be. Hers were green. I ended up with a multicolor bag, because given the choice between plain old white and colorful I had to go with the colors. Actually given the choice between a package that gave some kind of cooking directions and one that didn’t I’d go with the former but it wasn’t an option.

Just… tapioca.

I had to use the cooking directions from the recipe instead, this time Mango Coconut Tapioca Pudding.



  • 1/2 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar


  • Soak the tapioca pearls in about 1 cup of water for about two hours.

  • Then bring another cup of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the sugar to the water and stir until completely dissolved. Then drain the tapioca pearls thoroughly and add to the boiling water. Immediately turn the heat down to low.

It continues with stirring and covering for 20 minutes to keep cooking but my tapioca was pretty much cooked at the time it went into the pot. Into the fridge to cool, as instructed.

Mango puree

  • 8 ounces mango flesh
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Put all the ingredients for the mango purée into a blender and pulse until they are completely blended. Refrigerate the mango purée.

The immersion blender has become one of those how-did-I-live-without-this items. This went into the freezer to hurry things along.

  • Add the mango purée to the tapioca pearls when chilled and mix thoroughly to make the pudding.

See, out of the fridge, gelatinous blob, and I followed the instructions.

It wasn’t breaking up so well here either so the only solution I could see was to get a bigger bowl where I could mix more vigorously.

Now that’s starting to look like something.


  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 6 raspberries
  • 1 kiwi
  • 8 ounces fresh mango flesh

Of course I wasn’t going to go out and buy all these fruits and berries just for my little experiment, but I did happen to have strawberries. I even rolled my eyes at myself for cubing my last mango for a pretty picture.

But a pretty picture it did make.

Now is probably a strange time to admit that my only experience with tapioca before this has been in bubble tea, so I don’t even know what this is supposed to taste like. I offered Andrew a taste first and he didn’t like it. I found that eating it with the garnish, especially the cubed mango, made it pretty good, but not so much on its own.

My biggest complaint it that it’s too sweet. If I was to make it again I’d leave the sugar out of the mango puree – the sugar in the tapioca and the natural sugar in the fruit should be enough. Then I would have plenty of fresh fruit for a topping, enough to last the whole bowl, not as a “garnish”. Finally, I would remember that there are raspberries in the freezer which could have made for an even prettier picture.

Cod with Mango-Sake Sauce

Posted in Cod, Fish, Fruit, Mango on April 5th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I think it might confuse people that Andrew and I don’t normally eat the same meals. With different schedules (and different tastes) we’ll occasionally plan ahead a meal for two, or make a lot of something and offer, but we haven’t gotten this “family dinner” thing down yet. Usually different schedules means we’re not even eating at the same time, but occasionally we’ll be trying not to bump heads in the kitchen as one of us (him) rushes to cook his ‘oops this was use-by yesterday’ chicken and one of us (guess which) already had fish in the queue.

Andrew was cooking something Indian with his oops-chicken so he asked me if I wanted any jasmine rice with my dinner. My favorite way to find interesting recipes is to throw random ingredients into Google – first I tried “jasmine rice cod” for ideas, and them “turmeric cod” and then finally “mango cod” where something caught my eye – Cod with Mango-Sake Sauce.

I glanced over the page, and then read it again thinking ‘where’s the recipe?’ She describes what she did but no explicit recipe. “How adventurous am I willing to be?” I asked and Andrew promised backup Indian food if I failed.

The rice was ready long before either of us were.

The mango was cooked down into a puree with just a touch of water (no sugar) to keep the fruit from sticking to the pan

From her description, one mango cooked down was used for multiple recipes so I knew I didn’t need to use a full one. So one slice in the pan, one slice in my mouth, repeat. I’ve never cooked down a mango before so I didn’t know if there was anything special I had to do… but then magically there was mango paste.

A jigger or two (probably two) of sake, a knob of butter, a pinch of sea salt and white pepper were added to some of the puree to create this sauce.

I had about 1/4″ of sake left in the bottle so that determined how much I used… seemed right.

The cod itself was seasoned with sea salt and a fish curry powder from Singapore, but any curry powder (Jamaican, Japanese, Malaysian, Indonesian, South Asian) with a bit of turmeric to lend a touch of bitterness to balance the sweetness of the mangoes will work.

Here is my cod seasoned with curry powder from… honestly, I can’t remember if it came from the QFC or the Safeway down the street, I left out the turmeric since there was already turmeric in the rice. Andrew had declared this “yellow food night” and so while waiting for stove space I contemplated sea salt and it’s appropriateness on something that came from the sea and noticed the ingredients.


The fish was then pan-fried and plated

Can you believe making something this extravagant and I still had to look up how to pan-fry to make sure I was doing it correctly? Melted a little butter with a little olive oil in the pan.

I’ve said before, my pan-frying technique needs some work… It took three tries to convince some part of the fish to stop sticking to the pan and then actually flip over. I should stick to baking or grilling.

Those are not black sesame seeds, but onion seeds, or kalonji, over the mango sauce.

Those are black sesame seeds on my sauce. I just wanted my picture to look pretty too.

I think cooking with mango is going to be my new obsession, competing with eating mangos on their own. I’ll be making this again as soon as I find more sake.

Mango =

Posted in Fruit, Mango, Soup on March 30th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

Last summer I was craving some lazy, pre-sliced mango from Whole Foods. When they didn’t have any lazy mango for me, I told myself it’s not the end of the world, I can buy a whole mango and slice it myself. But when they didn’t have mangos… at least not what I knew of mangos – those red/green roundish fruit – I was nearly defeated. I had to buy one of these yellow things they called some sort of mango I’ve never heard of and…

I’ve never looked back. I hunted these things down, at Whole Foods, at Uwajimaya, since they don’t seem to be sold in everyday grocery stores. I made my own “pre-sliced” mango to eat at work. If I was to convert this to a recipe it would look like:

  • Peel mango
  • Slice

I even found out what that weird curved knife in the knife block was for, other than ‘that knife you use when all the others are dirty’.

Well mango season must be back because I was excited to see these on display at Whole Foods and immediately grabbed up a couple. But just a couple days before I also bought an everyday old mango at Safeway because they were on sale and I thought ‘why not?’

Well Everyday Old Mango was starting to look kind of shriveled and even less appealing than Yummy Yellow Mango so tonight’s dinner started out as a ‘how can I use this stuff up before it goes bad?’ search and ended with an amazing discovery – Curried Mango Chicken Soup.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 mangos, peeled, flesh cut away from the pits, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche, plus extra for garnish
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

One of the biggest cooking tragedies is to plan a meal around a certain item, build yourself up to the idea, and after you’re showered and pajama’ed with no intentions of going back out, to find out you don’t have it. (This is surpassed mostly by the experience of pouring yourself a nice bowl of cereal and finding out the milk’s gone bad.)

I was sure I had a can of chicken broth, as well as the leftovers in the fridge, instead of leftovers being that can I was thinking of. I ended up trying to do a vague thirding of the recipe, since I only had one mango anyway, and figured I’d end up with more of a mango curry chicken stew than soup (which is assuming that stew is just a less soupy kind of soup.) Actually what I did came out perfectly, with only one cup of chicken broth, to make a single serving bowl.

This then became known as the recipe where I used every cutting board in the kitchen. Because first I peeled the mango to make sure it was still good before going any further.

Mango peeled but not yet chopped.

Then the chicken… I keep saying I hate working with raw chicken and it’s still true. I was about to compliment the chicken pieces I had for being small and easy to work with until I realized I had accidentally bought breast tenders. They always have this strip of tendon or something going through the middle (I assume that’s the ‘tend’ in ‘tender’). Do people actually eat this or is it just my aversion to “icky bits” that has an issue with it? After some careful chopping this is what I came up with.

All icky bits removed.

Instead of a large onion I used a very small onion, which required a third cutting board that was neither contaminated by chicken or mango juice.

With more careful planning this could have been all one cutting board, but then again that’s why we have a dishwasher.

I also have no creme fraiche, but I decided, before seeing their own suggestion to do so, to use coconut milk in its place.


  • In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the curry powder and cinnamon, then heat for 30 seconds.

Thirding teaspoons is too complicated so I went with 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a drizzle of oil. This smelled amazing when it started to cook.

  • Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion as well as any oil and seasonings in the pan to a blender. Add the mango and 1 cup of the broth to the blender, then purée until smooth. Set aside.

I used 1/4 cup of broth, just enough to add some liquid. We don’t actually own a real blender so the immersion blender gets used for everything these days.

It excels at turning things into a goopy mess.

  • Return the empty saucepan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and saute until browned and cooked through. Add the remaining broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits and seasonings. Bring to a simmer.

It didn’t look like it would be a lot, until seeing how much soup the liquid mango goop would add.

  • Pour the mango purée back into the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

For the record, a “gentle simmer” shouldn’t bubble out of the pan and hurt you. The soup and I needed to have a discussion about what “gentle” means, before I turned down the heat.

  • Stir in the creme fraiche and lime juice, then season with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with cilantro and an extra dollop of creme fraiche (if desired).

I added 1/4 of (lite) coconut milk… and then another 1/4 cup for the “garnish”, because coconut milk is good, and “lite” coconut milk is just watered down normal coconut milk. In fact you can save money by buying coconut milk and watering it down yourself, but we can never even use up a whole can in time once it’s been opened. I now need coconut milk recipes in the next few days or the rest of the can is being wasted.

I was really, really impressed at what came out of a throw-together meal. The only issue with my variations is it was light on the chicken, the actual chunky bits that make soup feel like a meal. Then I realized I could just cook up the rest of the chicken I had. I rescued the tenders from their fate in the freezer – to sit frozen until too old to remember if they’re too old to eat and be thrown out (it feels less wasteful than to admit this and throw them out at the start) – extra cold but not frozen. I cooked the chicken in the pan the same as before, adding some cinnamon for flavor, and then just dumped it all in the bowl.