I am back home again from my two weeks’ holiday tour just in time for Muffin Monday and I couldn’t be more pleased about this week’s ingredient: Mango! When I was little and we lived in Trinidad, my favorite way of eating mangoes was with hot chili peppers and salt and a shot of ketchup, when the mangoes were still green. We called it mango chow. (I know, I know, I had strange tastebuds for a child. But my older sister loved it too, so it wasn’t just me!) When we moved back to the States a few years and one more country later, green mangoes were impossible to find and we were lucky if there were even ripe ones in the shops. As a seasonal imported item, mangoes were very expensive back in the early 1970s, so they were a rare treat, but my mother would buy skinny cans of mango nectar to put in my lunch on special occasions, like a class field trip. There was only one supermarket in Houston where mango nectar was available, so I knew that she had gone out of her way to buy that drink, which made it all the more special.
Now mangoes are available year-round, around the world, if you are willing to pay the price, and I usually have mango nectar in juice boxes in the freezer for whenever someone has a hankering for a mango popsicle. Just cut the top of the box off and push the frozen nectar up to eat. So refreshing and delicious! And my cupboard almost always has a bag or two of dried mango, which is great as a sweet snack. Even my helper loves the chewy slices.
2 cups or 250g all purpose flour
3/4 cup or 170g sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml canola oil
2 large eggs
1 (about 9 oz or 260g) just ripe mango (about 3/4 cup or 140g chopped, without seed and peel)
1 3/4 oz or 50g dried mango
Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it or lining it with paper muffin cups.
If you have a preferred method of peeling a mango, by all means, have at it. If not, may I recommend my method? Balance your mango on the narrow side and slice as close to the large seed as you can with a sharp knife, cutting one side off. Turn and repeat for the other side.
Using the sharp tip of your knife, cut slices into the mango flesh, stopping short of cutting through the peel.
Scoop the slices out with a spoon.
Now run your knife around the piece with the seed still in the middle, removing the remaining circle of peel.
Use your knife to slice off the rest of the flesh, getting as close to the seed as you can. (Set aside the seed for chewing on later, when you’ve popped the muffins in the oven. This is the baker’s privilege.) The resulting slices are perfect for salads.
For our muffins today, though, chop the mango slices into small pieces.
As for the dried mango, use a sharp knife to chop the pieces into little chunks, about the size of raisins. Divide the pieces into two piles of about two-thirds and one-third. Set the smaller pile aside to use for garnishing the batter before baking.
Combine your flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
In another smaller bowl, whisk together your milk, egg and oil.
Pour your egg/milk mixture into your dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.
Fold in the fresh mango and the larger pile of dried, chopped mango.
Divide the muffin batter between the muffin cups.
Top each cup with a few of the reserved dried mango pieces for decoration.
Bake in your preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove the muffins and cool completely on a wire rack.
This basic muffin recipe was originally published in the Houston Chronicle and you can read about it by following this link.
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