‘Chandrakkaran’ is an unusual name for a mango, and it’s perhaps an exclusive Kerala privilege to enjoy delicacies made during the various stages of the fruit’s growth.
Grown on tall big trees, the early use is for kannimanga achar (tender mango pickle). It’s for kaduku manga when it’s a little more bigger when the pickle with a liberal use of mustard seeds has mango cut in small pieces.
There’s a uppu manga stage when the fruit is practically matured. Here the whole mango is pickled by keeping them in salt water and closed securely in earthen jars.
This variety of mango fruits in plenty and in bunches and are of small in size. The taste is extreme at every stage with a pronounced tinge of the sap or the penchant latex, even for the ripe fruit.
Ripe Chandrakkaran is a delight, and traditional Kerala has a method of preserving the goodness of the seasonal manga by making thera.
It’s the most difficult process of any food and it takes a number of days of the mago pulp mixed with some roasted rice powder and sugar and dried in the sun after spreading on paya (kaitha mats) with new pulp mixture added everyday till it’s dried.
My niece’s house had the mago and we were given some for uppumanga, but I had other ideas. The mangoes were allowed to ripen, and I used a crude short cut to make this thera.
The pulp mixed with rice powder and palm jaggery (I avoid processed sugar whenever possible). Since I don’t have the paya, baked the mixture, cut into small pieces and I am drying them in the sun.
Perhaps I will make it the traditional way sometime during the season.