Mexicans offer up an unexpected appetizer for the margarita lover in all of us.
Take a walk along a Mexican beach and you’re likely to find carts of mangoes being peeled and cut into elaborate flowers and wands. Mango carving is not unique to Mexico – the art can be found wherever the fruit is grown – but Mexican mango flowers smack of lime juice with puffs of chili powder and salt.
Just look at this video:
I planned to make a mango flower for you today. How could I not?
Real Talk: When I tried to replicate his mango carving technique I ran into trouble.
My first problem was that the ripe mango slid down any stick I put it on (I tried chopsticks and skewers). And, without the proper handle, carving the flower became a slippery, dangerous mess. By the end of the afternoon I’d hobbled together a few cranky looking flowers but, as I had nothing to stand them on, I’ll leave their appearance to your imagination.
The happy solution?
A ridiculously simple approach that will add a festive touch to any appetizer buffet:
Since this appetizer only includes three ingredients (four if you count salt), each ingredient must be of the highest possible quality.
Mangoes require patience.
I’m not just talking about from flower to fruit. This is about after the grocery store.
For a long time I ate firm, pale-fleshed sour mangoes. My problem? I was cutting into them too soon (the crime was all the worse since mangoes are one of my favorite fruits). But if you can resist carving up your mangoes right away you will be rewarded with deep orange flesh so sweet it rivals honey.
To enjoy the sweetest possible mango:
Not all Chili Powder is equal
Chili powder ranges from mostly sweet to screaming hot, even in Mexico. This means cayenne pepper is a great option for those who like to sweat. A sweet, smoky chili powder works for those with milder sensibilities. Whichever variety you prefer, make sure the spice is fresh for maximum flavor.
Get real with Lime Juice
Can we all agree to use fresh lime juice? From an actual lime?
There’s no substitute for the pucker it creates.
100% Kid approved
That’s right. Fork over fork, Ava made these nibbles disappear!
She’d fit right in at a fancy cocktail party, don’t ya think?
Enjoy this sweet and spicy bite of Mexico.
Perhaps with a sweet and spicy view.
As always, I’m cheering as you cook up your Global Table Adventures. Email your stories or share your photos on Instagram (use #GlobalTableAdventure).