Mangoes are the ultimate Caribbean summer fruit. Outside of national sports, Jamaicans are united in their love of mangoes. No wonder it is described as the “king of fruit” in mango growing regions around the world. During summer, trees are heavy laden, branches groaning with fruit, their tempting fragrance scenting the air. People congregate under trees in gardens across our tropical landscape, picking and gathering everything from the tiny teaser, Sweetie Come Brush Mi, little Robins and Number 11’s to kidney-shaped East Indians, rotund Beef’s and Purples, large Tommy Atkins, Hayden’s and medium-sized beauties like Julies.
Common ones like Stringy and Hairy can be rather tasty, just make sure to properly floss afterwards. Turpentines have an oily scent which belies their palate-pleasing taste, Nelsons are sublime in fruit salads. A few, like Blackey’s, have edible skin. Rare ones include, Keith, Hamilton and hilarious named ones like Cowfoot and Bellyful mangoes. Believe me, I have recited only half the types of varietals sprung from our lush local soil. We are spoilt for choice. I am biased towards the scrumptious Bombay which features in this post’s recipes.
When there is a glut of mangoes available, I go crazy in the kitchen. Each season, I love to play around excess fruit from my trees and experiment from beverages to meals, vegan-friendly to carnivore in tone, mangoes are versatile. I do not know what else to express about my mango mania, as I have written so much about them over the past decade, so let’s just get straight into the recipes. Those who have followed me over the years know that most of my dishes have a back story.
Boozy Mango Sticky Chicken Wings
One day family friends came by my house to cool off from the excessive heat in the pool. Naturally, cravings struck. As the visit was a last-minute one, I didn’t have time to cook beforehand, neither did I have much to offer, but improvising on the spot is second nature. These wings were not bad considering I only had time to let them ‘soak’ for half an hour, but the injection of rum was a welcome flavour boost, which I took up a notch adding juicy Bombay mangoes which were slightly under-ripe at the time which I aided with sweet ortanique and honey.
- 1 medium ortanique, cut and juiced
- 3 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
- 100ml dark Jamaican rum
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 12 pimento seeds (allspice) crushed
- 1 large scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 2 fat sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped (divided)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 12 chicken wings, separated into drumettes and wingettes (flats), tips trimmed
- 3 tbsps Jamaican honey
- 2 Bombay mangoes, skin removed and cut into pieces
- In a large bowl add ortanique juice, Worcestershire sauce, rum, garlic, pimento, scotch bonnet and half of the thyme and whisk. Remove about a ¼ cup and mix with the honey, set aside.
- Add chicken wings, toss to coat and cover. Marinate overnight if you wish or for a couple of hours.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and prepare a baking tray lightly greased.
- Lay chicken wings on baking tray, generously season with salt, pepper and roast for 25 minutes.
- Remove wings from the oven and brush all over with the reserved marinade honey mixture and add the mango.
- Cook for 15 minutes more or until chicken wings are cooked through and mango is nicely caramelised.
- Garnish with extra thyme and serve. Perfect with rum cocktails.
Mango Hand Pies
I could wax lyrical about mango season in Jamaica for days. I’ve written countless pieces about how crazy Jamaicans become during mango season. We all raid each other’s trees and exchange varieties with one other. I am blessed to have two of the most prized growing in my garden, the kidney shaped East Indian and the majestic Bombay. I also have the smaller variety, black mango whose skin can also be eaten. I’m also a pie girl, that’s the Brit in me. I love making hand pies as each person can get their own rather than fighting for the biggest slice. This recipe makes a dozen hand pies.
- 360g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 240g unsalted butter
- 120ml ice water
- 6 mangos, peeled, flesh removed from seeds and chopped to bite sized pieces
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- Zest and juice of 1 large lime
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (optional, depends on sweetness of fruit)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 beaten egg mixed with a splash of milk
- Brown sugar, for sprinkling
- In a food processor add flour, butter, salt, sugar and pulse until it resembles sand.
- Gradually add in ice water, then once sticking together, knead a couple times and form into a ball, cover with cling and chill at least an hour before using.
- In a large bowl add mango pieces, cardamom, zest and lime juice, sugar and cornstarch and mix well. Set aside.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Bring chilled down back to temperature and flour a surface. Cut dough in half and roll out into a rectangle and cut into 6 squares.
- Spoon mango mixture into the center of the squares, dip your finger in water and run around the edges to moisten them, then fold dough over the mixture and seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Brush each pie with egg mixture and sprinkle with brown sugar. Make a slit in each pie resembling a cross then place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Some fruit may burst through, but no worry that is part of the charm. Serve warm or room temperature.
Jacqui ‘JuicyChef’ Sinclair, founder of Nyam & Trod, is a British Jamaican award-winning chef, writer, and food culturist. She is a co-founder of Kingston Kitchen, an annual food event supporting food artisans. Jacqui has been an advocate of the Meatless Monday Global movement in Jamaica since 2011. Jacqui’s work has been featured in such publications as the Huffington Post, the Jamaica Observer, Saveur, The Jewish Post and numerous blogs. She has appeared on the Travel Channel’s ‘Bizarre Foods’ with Andrew Zimmern and Food & Wine’s Jamaica episode with Kwame Onwuachi.