If you looking for some exotic drink or soup to cool you down, this is for you. Aam is Mango and Ombol (pronoun: “awm-bol”) is a traditional sweet and tangy cooler or a chilled soup which will refresh you.We are at the peak of summer; bright and hot with the temperature sliding easily over a 100. I think this is the time to post this.
A seasonal chilled soup (meant to be consumed after the meal) made with unripe mangoes, is a very popular dish consumed during the summer months in the eastern regions of India. With its tangy, sweet taste, this dish becomes a satisfying and refreshing climax of any meal or a feast. This is comforting us in the hot Texas heat – the children are slurping the soup and breathing relief and I am glad to relive my childhood with them.
Thinking 15 years back I would have never thought I would have to give an English name to Aamer Ombol. It is quite frustrating as I feel the essence of the dish is lost during the process of translation. The preparation of ombol or sometimes known as tok (usually more on the tart side) is not limited to green mangoes; ombol or tok can be made with tamarind, other fruits and vegetables and sometimes even fish!
When I was in India, the Aamer Ombol would be something which would be served almost everything single day after a meal during the summer holidays. The hot sweaty afternoons, whirring fans (indented by power cuts), a full course meal and then comes a bowl full of cold watery ombol, and the heat did not seem as bad. Sipping on the chilled soup and biting into the sweet and tart flesh of the green mango are the memories to be cherished forever.
A traditional Bengali meal ends in a sweet note, some kind of chutney, ombol or tok most of the times. The chutneys/ombol/tok are seasonal and the high-light of summer is the mangoes. While ripe mangoes are eaten fresh most of the times, unripe green mangoes are cooked as cooler or in a curry or pickled to be preserved through the year. I have posted the Aam Panna before. The Ombol is a similar kind of a thin watery cooler or soup, but it is usually eaten as a part of the meal rather than by itself.
Aamer Ombol- Chilled Green Mango Soup or Cooler
- 1 unripe green mango
- 1 red dry chili (optional)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- a pinch of salt
- 2.5-3 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar or to taste
Roughly peel the mango if you want. ( I skip this as I like chewing on the green skin; it softens after getting cooked). Chop them into 2 inch pieces.
Sprinkle the turmeric on the mango pieces and toss.
Heat a pan and heat the oil. Add the red dry chili pepper (break it into half and release the seeds if you want your ombol on the spicy side) and the mustard seeds.When the seeds splutter and the chili turns a shade darker, add the mango pieces and stir them around. The turmeric will add a nice yellow color.
Add the water, bring it to a boil and simmer for about 10 -12 mintues, till the flesh of the mango is tender. Add the sugar and salt and simmer till the sugar dissolves.
Chill completely before serving.
Serve chilled at the end of a meal and enjoy!
The mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
“Mangoes have been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years and reached East Asia between the 5th-4th century BC. By the 10th century AD, cultivation had begun in East Africa, coming later to Brazil, West Indies and Mexico, where an appropriate climate allows its growth. The 14th century Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, reported it at Mogadishu….Other cultivators include North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, south, west and central Africa, Australia, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia. Though India is the largest producer of mangoes, it accounts for less than one percent of the international mango trade, consuming most of its own output.” (Wiki)