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Food Festival I Mango Festival, Summer Collection at The Spice Route at the Imperial Hotel

I'm going to apologize for the terrible pictures straight up. The lighting is super low at Spice route and my camera was just unable to do justice the the spread that Chef Veena Arora had laid out for us on this hot summers day.

The Summer Collection, is a collection of all recipes mango that span across South-east Asia. There's Thai salads, South Indian soups, Sri Lankan curries and  lots of dessert. The truth is, there is no fruit more versatile than the mango.

Our meal started with a mango rasam - sweet and spicy tamarind soup which worked well with the sweet flesh of a ripe mango. Chef Veena, told us that while her most favourite mango was the Chaunsa variety, she was making do with alphonsos and even banganapallis till the variety of the fruit came into season.

Next up were two different Thai salads - yum mamuang pla krob - a raw mango salad which was served both the vegetarian and the fish way. Light and easy on the palate it was one of the nicest salads I've had in a long long time.

The yum woon salad - glass noodles, ripe mango and peanuts with crispy fried onions and fresh mint, it was a very refreshing salad. And even though I am not a glass noodle fan, I really couldn't stop myself from taking a second helping.

As our mains were brought on, we started chatting about her growing up years. Chef Veena told us about her years in Thailand and all what she had learnt. She talked about what they made at home and how the flavours always shone through.

There was was he Maampalam Katrikai  - eggplants with raw mango, cashew and wasterchestnut. Because the eggplant is such a versatile vegetable that takes on flavours easily, the combination of the raw mango and cashew gave it a very rich flavours and the waterchestnuts added a texture that is deceptively delicious. I have to say this was my favorite as well, only because I do love my eggplants so.

The Vietnamese style Stir fried chicken had plenty of ripe mangoes mixed with lots or spices which worked very well together.

Next up was the Kerala-style Irachi curry - beautifully slow cooked mutton that tasted wonderful with the mangoes. The mutton had flavors of coconut, and curry leaves that complimented the meat and the meat of the fruit wonderfully.

All this was served with mango appams, which I was eating for the first time and mango rice which was just sticky rice with bits of ripe mango. Sooo good. Sometimes I still dream of them appams.

To finish the meal, Chef Veena reached back to her roots - Mango Sticky Rice. Little did she know that this was one of my favorite desserts as well. Gooey sticky rice drenched in coconut milk and a lovely slice of alphonso mango.

The festival is on till July 15, so don't forget to book your table now!

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