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Antigua Guatemala seems to be my new “home away from home.” For the past six months, we have been spending every other month in a tiny rented apartment near the center of town. Wayne is volunteering once a week or so in a few International Planned Parenthood organizations and procures and donates medical instruments to some Guatemalan doctors after he teaches them the “no scalpel” vasectomy technique.
I love Antigua for its springlike weather, its friendly people, the colorful native dress, the fabulous huge outdoor mercado and ease of getting around by foot or by chicken bus. To top it off, I finally found a beautiful yoga studio I walk to most days, just a mile from where we stay.
I don’t mean to be rambling here – I’m simply smitten! That said, I’ll get to the point. One of my excellent yoga teachers, Ginger, is MY AGE and an ayurvedic practitioner. In March she offered an affordable ayurvedic cooking class at her home, just on the outskirts of Antigua. A four-hour class, which included a lecture about food and health according to Ayurveda, and a full-on lunch to boot.
As pictured above – here’s what a “full-on lunch” means at Casa San Juan:
- Kitchari porridge (ayurvedic staple) made with mung beans and basmati and a lot of ghee and spices
- Mango chutney and raita for the kitchari
- Injari (Indian flatbread)
- Fresh veggies (onions, carrots, zucchini, purple cabbage, etc. sauteed in ghee with fenugreek)
- Fresh sauteed spinach
- Dessert: pureed mango and tapioca pudding
Not one to miss an interesting cooking class, I went to Casa San Juan. And what a place Ginger has built!! If you are thinking of a retreat for writers, photographers, healers, yogis….check out the website: https://www.casasanjuan.com.gt. I have never been to a more beautiful space with such a well-designed kitchen! And the food, mostly new to me, tasted so fresh and good. I mean, milk from the cows on the farm, vegetables from the garden, nothing from a can or jar or box or bottle. I should have taken pictures of the pantry.
One of my favorite dishes was fresh mango chutney – an accompaniment to lunch. I loved it, asked her for the recipe and got this text:
“Recipe was just for every cup of cut mango, add ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup vinegar, a few raisins, a dash of salt and some chili powder. God knows what they really did….”
No directions as to how to cook it or if it was cooked at all. Measurements seemed a little funny to me — too sweet and too vinegary. And I like a little onion in my chutney.
So, I did what I usually do when I am on the hunt for a new dish to prepare. I looked at recipes on the internet by Googling “ayurvedic mango chutney”. What I ended up with probably isn’t ayurvedic since it isn’t cooked, but in my eyes when there is vinegar and salt it kind of cooks itself. Think ceviche.
Nothing could be easier than what I did. Since I returned I have been eating a smidge of this mango chutney with everything! With grilled chicken, with fish, with lamb, and as an appetizer when served atop seeded crackers and a shmear of brie cheese (see picture). AND I weighed and sort of kind of measured what I did to bring you the real deal. So here you go. Extra lucky for me is that mangos have been on sale here in Seattle for the past month!
Makes about 1 ⅓ cups
- 1 mango, roughly ¾ lb in weight (champagne variety), peeled and cubed ½ inch
- 1Tbsp small diced red onion
- 2 ½ Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp dried cherries (raisins would work but I didn’t have them, so I used cherries)
- ½ tsp ground chili powder
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
I combine everything together in a quart-sized bowl, stir it and let it sit for about a half hour to bring out the juice. I then pour everything into a nutribullet and barely whiz it, for two seconds at the most. I like chutney with some texture. I supposed I could hand mash it a bit with a potato masher but you are reading a recipe by a lazy cook.
This keeps for a week in the fridge, probably a lot longer but we ate it nonstop and after a week it was gone and I had to make it again.