I am always on the look out for new or unusual ingredients, so when my local Tesco (a store which I shop in under duress: I don't like it, but it's ultra local and open late) started to stock Indian ingredients, I got quite excited. It's an indication of the demographic of where I live (a leafy, uber middle class suburb of SW London) that the local Tesco Metro stocks sun-dried, sun-blush and sun-drenched tomatoes, smoked paprika, preserved lemons, sprouted beans, goji berries (WTF?) and several shelves of genuine Indian products. Interestingly, the store continues to stock about 20 varieties of tinned tuna as well, which begs the question: is there really such a high demand for tinned tuna in Teddington? (answers on a postcard please).
When I spotted the large tin of mango pulp, with its garish Bollywood label, I knew I had to have it in my cupboard. Originally, I intended to make mango lassi with it, that lovely, creamy, sweet yoghurt drink which is often on the menu of your local Indian restaurant, but instead I made it into a sorbet.
The base of this sorbet is egg whites, heated with sugar, and then beaten into a stiff meringue. The flavourings are folded in afterwards before the whole lot is churned in an ice cream maker and then frozen. I got the basic recipe from Casa Moro, the second cookbook from the eponymous restaurant by Sam & Sam Clark. In the cookbook, it forms the foundation for the most delicious frozen yoghurt, so good it's hard to believe it's not more calorific or naughty. I think it's the natural sweetness of the mango, coupled with its exotic, perfumed flavour, that make this sorbet so delicious. It's lovely at the end of a meal on a summer's evening, and the meringue base gives it the most gorgeous, melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Making ice cream takes a little forward-planning, especially if, like me, the bowl of your ice cream maker needs to be frozen in advance. An ice cream maker is not essential for this dish, but it does ensure a lovely, creamy consistency. Otherwise, freeze in a plastic box and take it out and beat it vigorously from time to time.
850g mango pulp (available in tins from Indian stores) or use pureed fresh or tinned mango.
2 egg whites
125g caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 lime
Mix the egg whites and the sugar and heat over a low flame until steaming hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat and whisk until the mixture turns to meringue and forms stiff peaks. Add the mango pulp and lime zest. Check for sweetness. If too tart, add more sugar.
Pour the mixture into the bowl of the ice cream maker and churn accordingly before committing to the freezer until properly set.