You can eat sweet-tart dried mango out-of-hand as a quick snack or easy dessert, but you also have lots of cooking options for meals from morning to night. What's more, if you rehydrate dried mangoes your options become even wider. Take your pick from organic or non-organic, processed with or without sugar and preserved with or without sulphites, that extend the fruit's shelf life.
Chopped mango pieces bring a bit of sweetness to oatmeal, granola or any type of cold or hot cereal. If you soak steel-cut oats or another whole grain cereal overnight before cooking them, add the chopped dried mango pieces too. By morning, the mango will have rehydrated.
Dried mangoes work in the same way that dried apricots, cranberries or raisins do in either whole-grain salads or green salads, bringing sweetness and, in the case of mangoes, a citrus-like tartness that brightens the salads. Try these combinations:
- Quinoa with chopped dried mangoes, avocados, and green onions, tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and seasoned with cumin, coriander and sweet paprika.
- White or brown rice, chopped dried mangoes, cucumbers, thinly sliced or shredded carrots, toasted almonds, chopped parsley and shredded red cabbage, all dressed with a sesame-ginger salad dressing.
- A green salad with any type of lettuce, chopped dried mangoes, toasted cashews and a few sliced strawberries. Dress the salad with a honey-mustard dressing.
The flavor of mango pairs especially well with pork or poultry, according to Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, authors of The Flavor Bible. Use either meat in these dishes, or substitute extra nuts or chunks of feta for vegetarian meals:
- Turn a brown rice pilaf into a meal with shredded meat, chopped dried mangoes, chopped cilantro and toasted almonds or pecans -- add pomegranate seeds when they're in season. Season the dish with butter, salt and pepper to taste.
- Make chicken or pork enchiladas and add chopped mangoes and cheese along with the meat. Use either a red or green enchilada sauce.
- Substitute dried mangoes for the raisins in chicken salad on a one-to-one basis.
If you chop softer varieties of dried mangoes into small pieces the size of raisins, you can use them instead of raisins or apricots in quick breads, cookies or cakes. Or, try these recipes:
- Melt your favorite chocolate and dip mango slices in half way. Set the slices on parchment or wax paper to harden.
- Add finely chopped mango pieces to homemade ice pops. The mango flavor goes well with orange, papaya, raspberry or strawberry pops made with purees of those fruits.
- Stir finely chopped mango pieces into sweet coconut rice.
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Susan Lundman began writing about her love of cooking, ingredient choices, menu planning and healthy eating after working for 20 years on children's issues at a nonprofit organization. She has written about food online professionally for ten years on numerous websites, and has provided family and friends with homemade recipes and stories about culinary adventures. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.