Sweet, spicy and sour, this delicious Mango Curry is a Sri Lankan classic and favorite. Simple to make and packed with a great depth of flavor, like any good curry. Perfect dish to use up seasonal mangoes that are slightly underripe.
It’s that time of the year when juicy, ripe, sweet mangoes are hitting the shelves at our local market. If we are lucky, they go on sale while the mangoes are still in prime condition (and not overripe), but since Mr K and I are both really good at choosing the best mangoes, we can generally avoid the disappointing ones. We almost always go for the ones that are just ripe or slightly underripe. Those ones that are not quite fully ripe yet, are absolutely PERFECT for this Sri Lankan Mango Curry dish that I’m going to share with you guys today! 🙂
A delicious mango curry like this MUST be made with fresh mangoes, though. If you use frozen mango, it gets too mushy and the peel doesn’t hold it all together and you end up with a not-quite-appetizing mess. K grew up eating mango curry in Sri Lanka and loves it. I, on the other hand, loved snacking on fresh, juicy mangoes that came straight from the tree, and didn’t much care for it in a curry form. But my taste buds have certainly become more refined with age, and I can now truly appreciate all the complex flavors that permeate this rich, flavorful dish.
Sweet, tart, sour, fruity, spicy… this Sri Lankan mango curry is nothing if not flavorful. Curries typically serve as a side-dish for rice in Sri Lanka, but every time we make this mango curry, rice becomes an after-thought. This is the star. When prepping, I cut the mango cheeks, and then cut each cheek into 3 strips. The remaining fleshy portion on either side of the seed is also cut into two strips, so you end up with a total of 8 strips, plus the seed. Do NOT throw away the seed! It adds some texture to the dish, and we love sucking on the seed at the end too! 🙂 I also do NOT peel the mangoes. The peel holds the flesh together, and it adds flavor and texture as well. And we often eat the peel as well. Nothing goes to waste!
I used Kent mangoes for this recipe (sold as “Red Mangoes” here in the Mid West), because that’s what’s available to use. It has firm flesh – even when perfectly ripe, so it’s perfect for a mango curry. You don’t want to use mangoes with very soft flesh though. Kensignton Pride, Tommy Atkins, Haden, Keitt, Francis mangoes, would all be great for a curry as well.
This Sri Lankan mango curry is deceptively easy to make. Just keep in mind that you will need to adjust sugar and vinegar levels according to the fruit that you use. So always taste test and adjust the amount of seasoning. The curry powder that I use is my Sri Lankan curry powder (you can get the recipe for it, right here). If you absolutely have to, you can substitute it with an authentic curry powder or Garam Masala (a sweeter curry powder). The taste will be slightly different since you’ll be altering the curry base, but it’ll still be delicious, I guarantee it!
This Sri Lankan mango curry is vegan and gluten free. It’s amazingly flavorful and aromatic on its own, but even better when paired with other vegetarian curries like this Creamy Cashew Curry, or even a fish or meat curry too!
- 3 tbsp coconut oil (or neutral oil)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- One half of a medium red onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 ½ tsp curry powder
- 1 - 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ heaped tsp salt (plus more to taste)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 Serrano pepper slices (cut length-ways or across, and de-seeded if you prefer your curry less spicy)
- 3 mangoes (1 ½ lbs mangoes, with the seed)
- ¼ tsp white vinegar
- Wash and cut the mangoes. To cut the mangoes - slice off the top stem, and then slice off the cheeks of the mangoes. Cut the sides off the mango seed. Then cut each mango cheek into 3 strips, so that all the mango pieces are roughly equal in size. You will end up with 8 mango pieces, plus the seed.
- Heat 3 tbsp of coconut oil (or any neutral oil) in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the sliced onion, garlic and mustard seeds. Saute for a few minutes until the onions have softened.
- Add the curry powder, 1 tbsp sugar, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix for a few seconds to heat the curry powder until you can smell the spices.
- Add water, desiccated coconut and coconut milk, and mix through and heat to simmer. Add the mangoes, serrano pepper and white vinegar and gently mix to coat the mangoes with the spices. Cover and let the mango curry simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring gently every 5 minutes, until the mango flesh has softened, but not mushy. Halfway through the cooking process, taste the curry and season to taste. Add the extra 1 tbsp sugar if needed (if your mangoes are particularly sweet, you might find that you won’t need extra sugar). Stir to combine, and cook for the remaining time.
- Serve hot with rice. Enjoy!
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