Indo-Thai mango and coconut bhel

5 Oct

Indo-Thai mango and coconut bhel

Two fabulous things happened at the tail end of last week; my husband returned home for a couple of days, after eleven days of business related work in Australia and I found a Riverford fruit and veg box wrapped up and tucked behind my garden gate.

Indo-thai bhel1 by Deena Kakaya


Years ago, when my husband made the switch from his role in the pharmaceutical industry to make a living in the field he is so passionate about (magic) I would cry upon his departure for these clustered long-haul trips. After years of listening to him talk about making dreams manifest and how life is so short and it is not worth spending limited moments of breath and potential smiles doing something one is less than passionate about, there was a juxtaposition of,  ‘I want you to LIVE’ and ‘I don’t want to be alone’.

I didn’t like the quiet of the evenings or cooking for one. I didn’t like the ‘filling in’ activities. I didn’t like waking alone or going to sleep with just the telly for company. But look, years on. Who would have thought that I could become accustomed to waving goodbye with a young child on my hip and that the quiet of the evenings would become precious time to prepare for lectures or cookery classes and those textbooks have become me, once again?  Years ago I would find solace in those messages, ‘how are you coping on your own’ and now I see ambition and vision through how much courage I have mustered up in recent years. I have even considered spending a few years abroad.

So the contents of the Riverford fruit and veg box this week made me chuckle because they matched my thoughts of more exotic climes and the will to LIVE. Now, I am sure I have gone on, and on enough about how much of an alphonso fan I am but alas we can’t have these in the UK this year but I was tickled by the delivery of a large and firm mango. I spotted red chillies and red onions, salsa? I could have done yes, but I fancied something sensational and explosive. It is how I want to feel you see.

I am taking a deep breath before I tell you this. Macaroons and chaat. OK. Let me explain. These are the two foods that make my limbs turn to jelly with anticipation and heart skipping joy. Heart-leap-frogging.  I am a girl that does not need to be gifted shoes, give me macaroons and chaat. And if I haven’t told you before, chaat is Indian street food (vegetarian snack) of inordinate amounts of sensual pleasure. The trickles of tamarind chutney and chilli green lip-smacking chutney heighten a fine balance of sweet, sour, crisp, cool, soft and spicy textures. It pops every sense and leaves anyone and everyone hankering for more, more, more.

But, you know me. I can’t just leave it there. I saw this mango and thought Indo-Thai would be absolutely perfumery delight. The mango gives sweet-sharp balance to the aniseed Thai basil. I have used coconut and peanuts for the salty and nutty elements too. This is not an understated dish (I have stressed that enough haven’t I?) it is a full show. New potatoes ensure that you get a soft bite without soggy mess that an ordinary potato can bring and you can get the puffed rice from most supermarkets or Indian grocers. I have used chopped mint and coriander too for a real herby feel. I would definitely recommend getting hold of the chaat masala that is made of peppery black salt, it lifts the dish to a whole new level. Just try it.

for the full recipe head over to great british chefs

10 Responses to “Indo-Thai mango and coconut bhel”

  1. matchamochimoo October 5, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    I just finished my two weeks holiday trip in Canada, and saw your wonderful post when I came back, so lovely and so refreshng. Thanks so much.

  2. Katie @ Whole Nourishment October 6, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    Love the flavors in this dish, Deena! Adjusting to our husband’s travel schedules is tough but I’ve also come to see my alone time and cooking for one as a special time. Glad to know you see it this way too. Ironically, I was just talking about this in a Cooking for One series this week too.

    • Deena Kakaya October 6, 2014 at 8:03 am #

      Hi Katie, would love to join in with your series, struggling for time for a new post, can I link an existing one? Also, how long are you running for x

  3. kellie anderson October 6, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    I can see why you thought my very own post today was for you! How serendipitous! You are a girl after my own heart – food over shoes ANY DAY. I also love a good chaat and even have my own ersatz version {channelled through this southern US gal} but am clamouring to click over to GBC and see yours. It is good to know that you are not pining with absence but using it to develop you. Think of the absences as small gifts to yourself. I know they must get wearing after awhile but look where it has got you!

  4. coconutcraze October 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    Lone time strikes all through life. I had a phase in life when I had to go far away and work. it happens even now at home when kids have grown up and husband on official trips. You have made great use of your time and I am amazed by the outcome. Cheers girl! Love that plate of bhel!

    • Deena Kakaya October 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      Our phases in life are all different colours aren’t they? Cheers to you too!

  5. Angie@Angie's Recipes October 8, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Mango and coconut are my absolute favourites. This looks so delicious and moreish.

    • Deena Kakaya October 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      Thanks Angie! I hope you’ll let me know if you try it

  6. recipesfromapantry October 9, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    I get you. Pistachio macaron make my legs turn to jelly too. Will o check your post.

  7. thejameskitchen October 9, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    That’s a lot of traveling and time apart but what nice food to come home to. I also make a something special for my husbands returns: his favourites, when I think he needs something comforting or a contrasting cuisine to where he had been. N.

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