Moving to the States from Manila about a decade ago, one of the things I absolutely miss are Philippine mangoes. They are the best in the world! We didn't have much acreage where I grew up, but we had a mango tree - a character in itself - gigantic, overbearing, but in many ways very generous. It produced proficiently in the summer and I long for those days when my Mom would make anything out of them - cakes, sorbets, milkshakes.
The mangoes in the States really fall short of what I'm used to, but absent of anything else to silence the craving, I would give in to the occasional Mexican mango. Which isn't really so bad. Especially if they're bought at a bargain for $1 at the store because the typical American doesn't know how to cut them, much less what to do with them.
But I'll tell you what. Here's a quick and dirty (and very shadowy) tutorial of how to slice 'em mangoes! If you see them at the store, bring it up to your nose. You can tell a ripe mango by its smell. If you fondle it a little, it should neither be too squishy nor too hard. If they look a little unripe to you, the good news is, you can still buy them and leave them out on the counter for a couple of days until they ripen.
How to Cut a Mango
1 Grab a knife. Stand the mango with the pointy side down.
2 You want to cut around the pit so aim your knife to one side and feel where the bony part is. The idea is to cut as close to the pit as possible so you'll have larger of the fleshy pieces. In the Philippines, we call each side of the pit "pisngi" or cheeks.
3 Repeat on the other side. Now the skin is not edible, in case you didn't already know that. So now, you can eat each mango "cheek" by spooning out the flesh, or how I like to slice it is cut a few times lengthwise and a few times crosswise to get checkers. Push the skin up and you'll get beatifully luscious mango squares ready to be spooned!
Bonus Recipe: Easy Mango Cream
You will need:
3 Ripe Mangoes
1 Packet unflavored gelatin
Heavy whipping cream
Sugar, stevia or honey to taste (optional)
1. Follow the instructions for preparing your gelatin. I used the ones that come in a little packet (the brand is Knox) and all I needed to do with that one is sprinkle it in a quarter cup of water and leave it for about five minutes. Afterwards, I then dissolved it in about a half cup of water in low heat. I poured the mixture in a small bowl and chucked it in the fridge to cool it quickly.
2. Whip up your cream with a hand mixer, until it forms soft peaks, continuously for about 7 minutes.
3. Puree the flesh of 2 mangoes in a blender. Transfer your fruit puree into a bowl. Get the gelatin mixture from the fridge and slowly add to the fruit puree, a bit at a time.
4. Fold the whipped cream into the fruit puree. Taste and add sugar or honey to taste, but only if necessary.
5. When thoroughly mixed, pour into either a cake pan, a mold or individual cups. Chill overnight.
6. Top with mango chunks before serving.