Monsoon Mango Magic

Schezee Zaidi
Islamabad: Celebrating one of nature’s most luscious summer fruits known as ‘King of Fruits’, Serena Hotel’s Arabian restaurant Al-Maghrib captures the ‘Magic Mango Mood of the Monsoon’ with a delectable array of delicacies at the month long Mango Fest that opened Monday.

The Mango Fest offers a wide variety of delicacies prepared with culinary expertise and loving hands of Chef Esa Al-Arab. Taking pride in each of his creations, Esa appeared with each of his dishes and explained the process of preparation and ingredients that sounded more like poetry with his creative presentation, both while listening and eating.

From the scrumptious Mango Salad to the main course of Mango Chicken and the smooth and sweet Trio Mango dessert, Esa’s labour of love was enjoyed by all, sharing the Magic Mango moment that is to continue the entire month of July.

Tallat Azim, the new PR manager, added a bit of romanticism by mentioning Ghalib’s love of mango, opening a poetical mood, and one of the ladies recited a spontaneous line ‘Tum ho aur aam ho, bus aur kya chahiye’. Inspired by the poetic moment, another guest, Mr Siddiqui, came up with a complete verse ‘Aap ho aur aam ho, unn lamhon ko dawam ho’! Of course for Pakistanis and particularly people having a taste for Urdu literature, mango is associated with Ghalib for his famous quote, and most of us here refer to mango with many titles, from the ‘fruit of love’, and also as the ‘soul of spring’.

Being one of nature’s most delectable fruits, the name ‘mango’ is derived from the Kodagu ‘mange’, the Malayalam ‘manga’, or the Tamil ‘mangai’, and was loaned into Portuguese in the early 16th century, and from there was passed into England. Going by history, legend has it that following Buddhism, mangoes went into China from India and was hailed as the ‘elite of fruits’ by Li Shih Jen in Cing Dynasty.

The mango is indigenous to Eastern Asia, Burma, and Assam, and is also cultivated in many tropical regions and distributed widely in the world. It is one of the most popularly exploited and pampered fruits for food, juice, flavour, fragrance, and colour.

Mango is one of the most popular summer fruits in Pakistan and going statistically, Pakistan offers more than 110 varieties of mangoes produced here including Sindhri, Dosehri, Anwar Ratol, Langra, Lal Badshah, Chaunsa, Bengan Pali, and Neelam. From April to September, the mango season is celebrated all over the country and mango parties still remain a rich tradition.

The export of mango from Pakistan was 30,000 metric tons annually five years back, but due to the farmer-friendly policies of the government, it has now reached 135,000 metric tons of export target, set for the 2008 season. Last year, huge foreign exchange was earned by exporting 124,000 metric tons of fine quality mangoes. With an increase in mango export, the farmers would also get the due return of their crop.

The News, 8/7/2008

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