I was so used to the pot filled up to brim with aromatic aam ras in the fridge in my childhood, I took it for granted during the summer months. I would approach the fridge with and empty bowl and spoon – pour the aam ras in it and go back to reading my novel, while eating the heavenly contents and thanking God for aam, and mom for aam-ras. It was also a regular side to meals, eaten with poori or rice.
Cut to the present, I had a guest over for dinner and when he saw a bowl of aam-ras along with the bowls of daal and sabji in the dinner plate, he exclaimed – “yeh kya hai!”. I first wondered at his ignorance, and then it suddenly occurred to me – they don’t eat aam ras in North India, they drink mango shake! Though in Delhi since last five years, I never noticed the absence of aam ras in daily-fare or restaurants, nor did I give a thought to the infinite stalls of mango-shake. I think the basic difference between the two is – while aam ras is mango pulp, with little or no milk added, mango shake is more of milk shake to which mango has been added.
So here is the aam ras which, continuing my mom’s tradition, is present in my fridge ‘by default’ during summer months. It also makes to baby A’s daycare food everyday, and the container comes back licked clean!
ripe, pulpy mangoes – two (alphanso would be the best, but any other sweet variety works)
milk – half cup, full cream (optional – it gives a creamy touch to ras)
sugar – as instructed in the steps below
cardamom/ ilaichi powder – 2 pinches (optional)
saffron/ kesar strands – 3-4 (optional)
1. Wash the mangoes, remove the peels and seed.
2. Add the mango pieces and all other ingredients except sugar in a blender.
3. Blend together for 2 – 3 minutes, open the blender jar and taste the ras (using a spoon or..umm..your finger :)). If the mangoes have fooled you with deceptive looks and turn out to be sour, add two spoons of sugar, blend again. Else, it is better to have the natural sweetness of mangoes prevail.
4. Store in the fridge, serve with meals. Enjoy as ras-poori, ras-bhaat, as a dessert like me or best – as a ‘lick-directly-from-the-bowl’ food like baby A.