Certain smells are hard to forget. More often than not, they leave an indelible imprint on the psyche. The first whiff of rain that rises off the hot earth, for instance. Freshly cut grass. A freshly-bathed baby. The scent of cardamom. Hot laundry. Jasmine flowers in the evening. Ripe mangoes. And ghee. There are several others, of course, but this is a food blog and we shall try not to let everything - for want of a better word - hang out.
So, mangoes. And ghee. Why this combination? Well, mango season is well and truly here right now and at every market I've been to, the strong, sweet smell of mangoes seem to linger in the air. The mango trees in our garden are also starting to shower us with their bounty and subsequently, the whole house is also starting to smell of mangoes too. Not that I'm complaining, this is a once-a-year occurrence that gives me the opportunity to try out various mango-containing recipes. Lots of mango recipes!
Good for you - mangoes and clarified butter :-)
As for Ghee, it smells good, it's delicious, it's healthy. Ghee is butter that's been clarified - it's pure butter oil, without the lactose and other milk solids. In Ayuverdic medicine, ghee is considered the ultimate cooking oil, with diverse mind and body benefits. Apart from helping in absorption, it also promotes digestion, healing of scars and mental functions. So you think I need any more convincing?
Prevalent in Indian cuisine, ghee is highly aromatic, flavorful and versatile. Its uses include sautéing foods, in baking, deep-frying, or even as a spread. I'm not sure why I don't use ghee more often. Perhaps I normally associate it with savory dishes like biryani rice or flatbreads, and not much else. So I decided to experiment and actually bake with ghee today. And what better to start with than donuts? Mango donuts at that. Mini mango donuts. Oh yeah.
If there's one thing that's better than traditional yeasty donuts, it's instant, no-yeast donuts. This recipe makes really light, tasty donuts and is eggless too, an extra bonus. Unfortunately, it's not sugarless and the donuts are fried...but hey, we've got to leave some vices intact, right? The sweet mango flavor was quite distinct and came through in both the batter and the glaze. I used the highly aromatic Alphonso mango variety, but you can use others as long as they are very ripe and soft.
Once the mango flesh is pureed, it takes about 15 minutes from start to finish (or ending up in your mouth). Now that, my friends, is called instant gratification!
Instantly Gratifying Mango Donuts
Makes: 14 mini (2-inch) donuts
40g/1½ oz Ghee or clarified butter
40g/1½ oz caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup mango purée (Alphonso mango)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
170g/6oz self-raising flour
Cooking fat or oil for frying
1. Prepare a pan of hot cooking fat or oil.
2. Cream the Ghee, sugar and salt. Add the mango puree and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in the sieved flour and mix lightly to form a smooth dough.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured board, roll out fairly thick (approx. ½-inch) and cut into donut rounds with a donut cutter. If you don't have one, just stamp out smaller round holes in the centre of each round. Carefully place in pan and cook for about 1 minute, turn over when half cooked and cook the other side. Drain on paper towel and leave to cool before glazing.
1/3 cup mango purée
1 cup of icing sugar/confectioner's sugar
1. In a small bowl, mix the sifted confectioner's sugar and mango purée until well smooth.
2. Dip the fried doughnuts in the glaze and place them on a serving plate, glaze side up. Leave to set on the counter. Once the glaze firms up, the doughnuts are ready to eat.