First make the praline. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a small baking sheet with oil. Spread the pistachios on another baking sheet and put them into the oven. Stir every few minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside.
Put the sugar into a small, heavy-based saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Keep swirling the pan as the sugar melts and then starts to caramelize. As soon as it becomes light brown, add the toasted pistachios and the ground cardamom seeds. Let the mixture bubble for a few seconds as you stir. Quickly take the pan off the heat and spread the praline on the oiled baking sheet. Allow 10 minutes for it to cool and harden, then break into pieces and either crush in a mortar or whiz in a blender. Keep it in a screw-top jar and use as needed.
The rest of the dessert should be made just before serving. Whip the cream with the sugar until it forms soft peaks. Add the ground cardamom and pistachios, plus 1–2 tablespoons of the praline, and fold together. Pour in the mango puree and fold lightly so you can see swirls of both white and orange. Scoop the mixture into four serving bowls. Divide the diced mango between the bowls, mixing it in lightly. Decorate each bowl with a teaspoon of the praline and serve immediately.
About this recipe
It has never been easy for me to decide what the dessert should be after one of my more formal Indian dinners. I like light, fruity desserts, but India seems to have a shortage of them (we tend to eat fresh fruit instead), so I have taken to creating my own. This is one of them. I have been serving it in different versions over the last 20 years, and this is the latest incamation.
I was to attend the Mango Festival in Florida one year, and shortly before it a reporter from the Miami Herald came to interview me in New York. She turned out to be an old friend, Maricel Presilla, the most knowledgeable wizard of Latin American cooking. I made a lunch for her that ended with this dessert. “It is just something I make.” “You can’t have no name for it. Let’s call it . . .” And so Maricel named it “Mangoes Mumtaz.”
The best mango purée you can use is one that comes from canned, sweetened alphonso mangoes. Indian grocers sell them.
Excerpted from VEGETARIAN INDIA by Madhur Jaffrey. Copyright © 2015 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.