How to cut a mango and mango recipes

How to cut a mango

Jill Dupleix shares her tips for getting the flesh from a summer mango.

Christmas means mangoes. This luscious, versatile fruit is delicious, and packed with health-giving vitamins and fibre.

Did you know that mangoes have eyes and cheeks?
The eye of the mango is the little bump along the narrow edge of the fruit, and the seed is always right in line with the eye – find the eye and you will know where the seed is. To maximise the yield of mango, it's helpful to understand where the seed is so you can cut around it. The cheeks are the flesh and skin that are on each side of the seed.

Green mango? Yes, please!
These sour, unripe mangoes can be used in chutneys, pickles, as side dishes, or eaten raw on a stick dipped in salt, black pepper, chilli, lime, or soy sauce. When a mango is green and still growing there is a high vitamin C content; as the fruit ripens and matures the amount of beta carotene (vitamin A) increases. Look for green Nam Doc Mai mangoes that are both delicious when green and tart as well as when ripe and sweet.

Why do some mangoes blush?
Certain mangos on each tree will receive more sunlight than others, with some fruit staying shaded within the tree's canopy. In certain varieties, the mangos that receive the most sunlight will develop a red blush at the stem end. This red blush is not an indicator of maturity, quality or ripeness.

Mangoes cooked on the barbecue.
Mangoes cooked on the barbecue. Photo: Natalie Boog

Selecting a mango
Don't judge a mango by its colour – red does not mean ripe. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness. A ripe mango will "give" slightly and a firm mango will ripen at room temperature over a few days. Like avocados, mangoes will continue to ripen after they're picked. To speed up ripening, place mangoes in a paper bag at room temperature. Once ripe, mangoes can be refrigerated to slow down ripening for several days.

Some of my favourite varieties include Kensington pride mangoes, calypso mangoes, honey golds, the space-invaders-esque named R2E2 mangoes, and the green Nam Doc Mai, to name just a few. Each with their own subtle but unique flavour.

1 cup of cubed mango = 100 calories, 100 per cent of daily vitamin C, 35 per cent of daily vitamin A, 12 per cent of daily fibre; is fat free, cholesterol free and a good source of dietary fibre.

Luscious: Thai-style crab cakes with mango gastrique.
Luscious: Thai-style crab cakes with mango gastrique. Photo: Supplied

How to cut a mango

  • Place the mango on your cutting board with the eye looking up at you.
  • Slice each side just past the seed (or about 1cm from each side of the eye) to remove each cheek.
  • Cut off each cheek.
  • Score the flesh, without cutting through the skin, to make a checkerboard pattern.
  • Use a spoon to scoop out the mango flesh from the skin.

Fun facts
Nearly half of the world's mangoes are produced in India, but the country accounts for less than 1 per cent of the international mango trade due to the fact India consumes most of its own production. Giving someone a basket of mangoes is considered a gesture of friendship.



Thai-style crab cakes with mango gastrique

½ cup mayonnaise

1 large egg

Refreshing: Mango-pineapple daiquiri.
Refreshing: Mango-pineapple daiquiri. Photo: Supplied

2 tbsp Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce

1 tbsp  peeled and minced ginger

1 tbsp  finely chopped coriander leaves

Score the flesh, without cutting through the skin, to make a checkerboard pattern.
Score the flesh, without cutting through the skin, to make a checkerboard pattern. Photo: Natalie Boog

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1-2 tsp finely chopped red chilli, seeded

½ tsp sea salt

finely grated zest of 1 lime

¼ cup finely chopped spring onions, white and green parts

500g crabmeat, picked over for cartilage and shells, well drained

1½ cups panko breadcrumbs

6 tbsp canola oil

60g unsalted butter

½ lebanese cucumber, sliced into thin rounds, and then into matchstick-size strips

fresh coriander sprigs to garnish

flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel to garnish

Mango gastrique

½ cup castor sugar

1 Kensington Pride or R2E2 mango, pitted, peeled, cut into 5mm dice

¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

sea salt

1. To make the gastrique, heat a medium-heavy saucepan over medium heat for two minutes. Add the sugar and cook without stirring, tilting the pan as needed so that the sugar cooks evenly, for about five minutes, or until it melts into an amber caramel. Do not stir or the caramel will crystallise. Remove from the heat and stir in the mango (the caramel will seize), then the rice vinegar and lime juice. Return to medium heat and stir constantly for about five minutes, or until the mango is translucent and the caramel is dissolved and syrupy. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Season with salt.

2. To prepare the crab cakes, in a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, egg, fish sauce, ginger, coriander, sesame oil, chilli, salt and lime zest together, then whisk in the spring onions. Add the crabmeat and stir to coat, coarsely breaking apart the crabmeat, leaving small whole chunks in the mixture. Fold in the crumbs. Cover and refrigerate the crab mixture for 30minutes so that the mixture is easier to form.

3. Using about a third of a cup of the crab mixture for each cake, shape into 12 two-centimetre-thick crab cakes and place on a baking tray.

4. To cook the crab cakes, preheat the oven to 95C or 75C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with paper towels. Heat a large non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add three tablespoons of the canola oil and two tablespoons of the butter and heat until hot but not smoking. Working in two batches, fry six crab cakes for about two minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden, adjusting the heat as needed to brown evenly without scorching. Transfer to the baking tray and keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the pan with paper towels and repeat with the remaining canola oil, butter, and six crab cakes.

5. To serve, place two crab cakes on each plate. Spoon some of the mango gastrique over and alongside the crab cakes. Top each with the cucumber and garnish with the coriander sprigs and sea salt.

Serves 6

The mango gastrique can be made up to one week ahead. The crab cakes can be made to step 3, up to eight hours ahead, covered and refrigerated. 

Mango-pineapple daiquiri

1 ripe honey gold or calypso mango, peeled, pitted, and coarsely cubed

¼ fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and coarsely cubed

1 cup fresh orange juice

½ cup golden rum

3 cups ice cubes

lime slices for garnish

1. In a blender, blitz the mango, pineapple, orange juice, rum and ice cubes until smooth and frothy. (If your blender is not large enough to hold all the ingredients, blend in two batches.)

2. Divide the daiquiri among six glasses. Garnish with lime slices and serve immediately.

Serves 6