For the Love of Mangoes

Posted on August 27, 2016 by admin

I had tried several times before but the last time I was determined to make it work. For two and a half years I struggled. I moved my little mango tree around the yard like it was a piece of furniture. My soil is sandy and probably has too much salt being close to the ocean. Mangoes like sandy soil but have a low tolerance for salt. In the end I had to accept I wouldn’t be picking any mangoes from my backyard.

I love mangoes. There is a lot you can do with mangoes. Mangoes are great for old favorites like mango bread or as a nice flavor twist for many familiar recipes ranging from salsa to chutney. When I think of mangoes though, what comes to my mind is just the fruit. Nothing beats dicing and scooping out chunks of fresh luscious mango. It’s one of those lucky we live Hawaii moments.

Throwing Down at the Mango Festival


June through August is peak mango season and recently I had an opportunity to join in on a couple of mango themed events. The Mango Throwdown is part of the annual Mangoes at the Moana Festival. Now in its eighth year, the festival began in Makaha on Oahu’s west coast. Spearheaded by Makaha Mangoes’ owner Mark Sulso, it quickly became a hit and soon found a home in bustling Waikiki at the Moana Surfrider Hotel. For this year’s event we prepared a mango quinoa crab cake with mango harissa, toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. The throwdown is a (mostly) fun competition but there are still bragging rights among the top local restaurants and chefs that come down for the event.

Mango Morning at Hawaii News Now

I also joined the Hawaii News Now morning show crew for another edition of Kitchen Creation. This time the recipe was for Mango Tapioca Pudding. I don’t keep tapioca in my pantry at home so I made a special effort to read through the recipe and follow the instructions on the box. Tapioca pearls are a super starchy thickener made from the root of the cassava plant and just a little bit can literally thicken gallons of liquid.

My contact at Hawaii News Now, Gail Oshita brings all the utensils I’m going to need for any given show and sometimes preps the whole thing out ahead of time. She’s great at making everything look easy and run on time.

The Savory Secret to Sweet Mango Pudding

During the show I mentioned that salt is important for a dish like Mango Tapioca Pudding. Salt is imperative for certain desserts and maybe all of them. That sweet and salty thing hits the taste buds hard. Salted caramel, peanut brittle, and sprinkling salt on your watermelon are all examples of using salt to bring out the flavor in sweet desserts.

I also think for this dish, the colder the better. Giving pudding plenty of time to chill down and set up in the fridge adds to the overall texture, taste and mouth feel. Plus who doesn’t want something cool to scoop on a hot summer day? If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Hawaii during the summer months don’t miss a chance to try some fresh mangoes at their peak of flavor or any time of year in one of our many island style mango treats like mango mochi ice cream. If you’re local then you already know.

You can also find the recipe in the Star Advertiser’s Crave section under Betty Shimabukuro’s “By Request” column. And click on the link below to watch me in action on TV!

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