Unripe mangos

We all know what to do with a ripe mango dripping with that beautiful sweet juice, but as Tamanda Liuma explains unripened green mangos are just as fantastic and versatile.

Mangoes are a fruit loved by many. A juicy ripe mango can add a tropical feel to anyone’s dietary habits. Whether it is a glass of mango juice, just the fruit itself, a dessert or a chutney over your roasted steak at supper time, their bright orange inner flesh offers your tongue a unique delicious and smoothly refreshing taste sensation for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

But most of us already know the joys of ripe mangoes, have you ever thought about eating or cooking with unripened green mangoes?

They offer an altogether different experience which might even be even more exotic and divine. The fruit in its sour green state can be used in all sorts of culinary ways. It can be quite bitter to eat whilst its inner flesh is still whitish due to its high acidity, however, unripe or ripening mangoes can have a more palatable sweet and sour taste when they have turned a light yellowish orange inside but remain hard on the outside. In addition, their firmness makes handling them easier, especially when it comes to grating and slicing them. In this article, I shall endeavor to introduce you to a few interesting uses of unripe mangos.

As a Salad

Firstly, you don’t have to cook it to eat it. If you like that very sour yet tangy taste, green mangos can be eaten in slices and with a bit of salt sprinkled on them. Very unexciting by themselves but served peeled, cut in wedges, and seasoned with salt and ground black pepper, they can act as a very simple savoury salad that can be served with a strongly flavoured fish, chicken or beef dish with rice, chips, pasta or mashed potatoes.

Alternatively, you could try dicing your peeled mangos into cubes with cucumbers. Drizzle some of your favourite salad dressing and before you know it you have a salad made. You could experiment with adding cubes of your favourite cheese or shards of roasted chicken or fish and serve it as a mixed salad.


If you prefer a bit more flavour, a stir-fry would be perfect for you. Just peel your washed mangos and slice them in to thin chips. Do the same with carrots. After cutting the ends off some string beans, simply split them down the middle so that their inner seeds are exposed. Cut plenty of onion rounds, say three bulbs. Then, stir-fry all the ingredients. Adding some salt and barbecue flavoured seasoning will give it that little extra “zing”. I would also recommend adding half a tablespoon of sugar to give it that sweet and sour stir-fried taste. This would be the perfect side dish to some roasted meat and starchy accompaniment.


Since mangos are a rich source of starch, you may even think of peeling the fruits, slicing and then boiling them. I would recommend boiling them with some similarly prepareed potatoes and serving them hot as the carbohydrate part of your meal.

You might be familiar with rice garnished or prepared with peas, carrots or green/red pepper. I have tried cooking slices of mangos in white rice, served with a hot minced meat stew and spinach, and I found this to be absolutely tantalizing. You could even experiment with Jallof rice or Benachin, the special rice dish that originates from West Africa, in particular Nigeria. Simply add small cubes of mango to give it that ‘je ne sais quoi”.

In general I believe that one can use unripe mangos as an alternative to carrots or even potatoes.

Lastly, you can also use grated mango flesh as a garnish for desserts and a decoration on cakes, especially fruit cakes.

I would also imagine that this fruit would be the perfect ingredient for a non-traditional chicken, duck or turkey stuffing or as a tangy surprise inside your samoosas and spring-rolls.

What dishes have you tried to make with green mangos? Were you successful? What would you like to try?

If you are inspired by any of these suggestions, do let us know how it went.

2 thoughts on “Unripe mangos

  • May 4, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Green mangoes make the world’s best pickle.

    Take green mangoes with hard seed and cut into 2″ inch pieces. Discard seed but keep the woody part intact. Mix with 2 parts cayenne pepper powder, 1.5 parts salt, 1 part mustard powder and 1/8 part fenugreek seed powder. Mix them well and put in a glass or porcelain jar. Pour canola oil till its all immersed, and pickle for 3 weeks.

    Voila! Eat by itself (hot) or with rice and ghee, or anything else. Pure heaven!

    • July 11, 2016 at 3:08 am

      Do you peel the mango, or leave the skin on? (Also, is the “woody bit” the curved hard thing that I never knew what it was when I was eating pickle?)


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