Passover is almost synonymous with spring, and in Indian Jewish cooking all herbs, vegetables and fruits used for the holiday must be fresh and not dried. Foods that are naturally green in color are especially popular as they represent the freshness of the spring season (and the overall spirit of “renewal”). During this time, fresh turmeric root (resembling ginger root) replaces the ground kind, and young, unripe green mangoes (which have a pale yellow/white flesh and are a bit sour and crunchy in texture) are plentiful and used in salads, sauces, and chutneys.
Unfortunately it was not easy to find an actual Indian green mango, so instead I used the hardest most unripe one I could find and created a salad adding fresh coriander, mint leaves, and green chili peppers for flavor as well as color. The combination of ingredients was based upon what Sharona Galsurkar described to me — a young woman whom I was most lucky to meet and interview for my cookbook while she was visiting New York City from her native Mumbai.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 / Makes 5 cups
3 large unripe, firm mangoes (2 3/4 to 3 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
(Note: If you can find the true unripe “green” mangoes in a Indian grocery, then peel and coarsely grate instead of cubing)
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves.
2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped green chilies (optional: add to taste!)
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
15 regular pitted dates (not soft Medjool), sliced into strips about 1/8 thick
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons date sugar (or to taste, depending upon how sweet or sour mangoes are)
Measuring cups and spoons
Large chef’s or chopping knife and cutting board
Medium mixing bowl
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Serve at room temperature in a decorative bowl or small platter. Store in air-tight container in refrigerator for up to 2 days.