The best mango recipes to make the most of the mango season harvest include everything from mango drinks such as mango smoothies, mango lassis and mango daiquiris to savoury dishes such as green mango salad, and mango desserts, such as mango jam, and mango desserts, such as mango sticky rice, mango sago, and a tropical Eton Mess with mango.
Mango season – my favourite season when it comes to fresh local produce – is well and truly underway here in Cambodia and northern Southeast Asia. In fact, mango season is sadly coming to an end soon. The mango rains have finished and we have the dry lightning storms that mark the lead-up to the monsoon season or rainy season in Cambodia, which begins in June.
The mango rains refer to both the couple of weeks of daily torrential downpours needed to take the mangoes from firm green fruit through to a glorious golden-yellow and ensure the mangoes reach their plump sweet potential, as well as the actual event of the ripening mangoes falling from their trees onto the tin roofs of houses.
If I had a home beneath a mango tree, that would be the most marvellous sound of the year to me. Although of course it’s a twice-yearly event, as there are actually two mango seasons in Cambodia, with another at the end of the monsoon season, starting in October. Though locals swear the fruit from the first season of the year are the most flavourful and sweetest of mangoes.
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Published 7 May 2020; Last updated 3 September 2021
Best Mango Recipes to Make the Most of the Mango Season Harvest
The mangoes in our lush semi-rural neighbourhood on the edge of Siem Reap began to appear on the trees around the same time as we moved to our first* pandemic apartment amidst the start of the global shutdown when everyone began staying at home. (We would end up moving three times during the pandemic!)
From the second bedroom of our second-floor unit that I use as an office, I look over the canopies of tamarind trees, sugar palms and mango trees, and it’s been torture watching the green mangoes appear, multiply, change colour, drop onto the roofs and ground below, and get retrieved before I can make a plan to venture out to collect what I can.
Just as I was despondently budgeting to buy mangoes from the supermarket, our landlords left a gift of organic mangoes from their farm on our doorstep and one of our favourite drivers left another bag of mangoes – on the same evening I bought a bag of mangoes from Angkor Market.
I ended up having more mangoes than I could have dreamt and I’ve been eating mangoes fresh every day ever since. It’s now time to start cooking with mangoes before I begin turning orange. Here’s what I’m doing with all those mangos. These are our best mango recipes to make the most of the mango harvest.
Best Mango Recipes
Mango Sticky Rice
One of the best mango recipes has to be mango sticky rice, my favourite Thai sweet. I’ve been missing Thailand, and the Thai capital in particular, and Bangkok’s best restaurants as much as the city’s street food. I adore eating sticky rice with mango, both on Bangkok’s streets and in its finest restaurant dining rooms, so David Thompson’s mango sticky rice recipe from his Thai Street Food cookbook is my go-to sticky rice with mango recipe.
Another one of the best mango recipes to make the most of the mango season harvest has to be mango jam. We’ve been using this easy mango jam recipe since the mango season started, as it’s so simple and so delicious. I adore fresh homemade jams. One of the things I love about the best boutique hotels here in Siem Reap and Bangkok other Southeast Asian destinations is that they always serve delicious house-made fruit jams with excess seasonal tropical fruits. If you’ve never made homemade mango jam before, or any homemade jam, try this and you might never buy a jam from the supermarket again.
I love this fantastic mango gazpacho recipe for a chilled mango soup from Spain, which is easily another of our best mango recipes. We’ve been eating and cooking traditional gazpacho forever in the Southern Spain style, but we really became smitten with less familiar interpretations of that traditional cold Spanish soup at contemporary Catalan restaurants in Barcelona and Mallorca many years ago. The most memorable was a mango gazpacho with lobster and avocado by Marc Fosh at his Michelin-starred restaurant in the 17th century Hotel Convent de la Missió in Palma de Mallorca. He also did a wonderful watermelon gazpacho.
One of my favourite mango recipes is a Cambodian green mango salad with smoked fish, shallots, dried prawns, fresh fragrant herbs, such as basil and mint, peanuts, and birds eye chillies. Green mango salads are also eaten in neighbouring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, and you’ll find slightly different versions in each country. In Thailand, they use more chillies than they do here in Cambodia, where they use just enough to give the dish a little bite rather than fiery heat. This green mango salad is another of our best mango recipes.
Aside from savoury mango salads, mango is not eaten a lot as part of a savoury main in Southeast Asia, however, one chef who does use mango in his cooking, particularly with seafood, is Vietnamese chef Duc Tran, owner of Mango Mango, Mango Rooms, and Mai Fish restaurants in Hoi An in Central Vietnam. Chef Duc uses mango sauces on everything from ceviches to fillets of white fish. I do love the idea of a mango curry. We’ve been eating Indian food for decades, however, we’ve not done a lot of travelling in India so I had no idea there were so many mango curry recipes. I’ll definitely be trying one or two and posting them here after I do, so watch this space.
When it comes to mango desserts, nothing beats an Australian pavlova with mango for me. It screams Australian summer. Terence makes a fantastic mango and passionate pavlova, which I believe is based on Australian chef Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill pavlova recipe. We don’t have that recipe on the site yet, although I will get Terence to add it next time he makes it.
Mango Eton Mess
The next best thing to a pavlova is an Eton Mess. I love a traditional Eton mess with strawberries and berries, however, strawberries are not grown in Cambodia and when we get them they’re expensive. I make a tropical Eton Mess recipe with mango, passionfruit and dragon fruit, based on the traditional British Eton Mess. It’s easily one of our best mango recipes and absolutely heavenly if you’re a fan of the old mess.
Our easy mango sago recipe makes a healthy version of the creamy Southeast Asian mango sago pudding that’s made without cream – no coconut cream, no dairy cream, no condensed milk, nada. The secret to the creaminess is frozen mangos, just like with our mango smoothie, below – which makes this mango sago pudding healthier than most. It’s absolutely delicious.
Mango smoothies, mango coolers, mango lassis… cold mango drinks are so refreshing during this sultry season. Today I’m peeling the mangoes that are well and truly ripe that I know I won’t eat for freezing. I will slice some mangoes into cubes, chop up some small pieces for mango smoothies, and pulp the soft mangoes and freeze those to make these creamy mango smoothies (easily one of our best mango recipes!) now and after the mango season ends.
If you’ve tried any of our best mango recipes we’d love to get your feedback and would also welcome suggestions for what to do with mangos for the next mango season.