We’re still catching up with recipes and photos from Hawaiii, so here is one for the current mango season there. This recipe for a mango and sake sauce for fish was created after we were visited by an enterprising tween-ager last spring who was selling ice-cold peeled, ripe pirie mangoes door-to-door for $4.00 per bag!! We bought 2 — I wanted to buy his whole stash but that seemed too greedy. Each bag weighed in at almost 2 lbs. each of pure mango! It’s hard to imagine such decadence now when the closest thing we can find to the silken mango-iness of tree-ripe piries are the champagne mangoes from Mexico at $1.99 per mango! *sob*
The mango was cooked down into a puree with just a touch of water (no sugar) to keep the fruit from sticking to the pan, then they were ready for use in baking and cooking. Sure, there was a mango bread or two, but I wanted to use them in a savory dish too. A jigger or two (probably two) of sake, a knob of butter, a pinch of sea salt and white pepper were added to some of the puree to create this sauce. The cod itself was seasoned with sea salt and a fish curry powder from Singapore, but any curry powder (Jamaican, Japanese, Malaysian, Indonesian, South Asian) with a bit of turmeric to lend a touch of bitterness to balance the sweetness of the mangoes will work.
The fish was then pan-fried and plated, and the mango-sake sauce napped before serving (in truth, this was too generously napped — probably half this amount would make a better presentation but it was very good! ). This was made with Alaskan cod but any flaky white fish would do — halibut, haddock, even tilapia.
Those are not black sesame seeds, but onion seeds, or kalonji, over the mango sauce. Kalonji are a staple of Middle Eastern and South Asian/Indian baking and cooking, and add a nice bit of tang as well as color. On Oahu you will find kalonji at India Market on S. Beretania near UH, and maybe in the bulk spice drawers at Down-to-Earth (??); here in the D.C. area we often see aisles of Indian spices and dry goods in the larger Korean supermarkets, such as H-Mart, but there’s also a market in Hyattsville called Patel Bros. that has quite an extensive assortment of South Asian fresh, dry and frozen goods.
I meant to do this recipe again during the second wave of mango season on Oahu last year so I could measure out the ingredients, but we were caught up in the re-location frenzy at the time. I hope the photo is enough to get you started playing with your ingredients at home.
The fish is plated with watercress mashed potatoes (Flash-cooked Watercress + Mashed Potatoes) and a homemade shiso-flavored rakkyo (pickled scallions).
If you’re somewhere in the world where it’s mango season now, please have one for me!!