Ben, my husband, loves anything with mango. He first learned this when we got dried mango from the grocery store. After a few bites it was renamed Ben-heroin. You can not leave him alone with the stuff if you want it later. Fortunately for him, I now have a cookbook that helps me cook with more mangoes. My in-laws got me a great cookbook while they were on a Caribbean cruise. It is appropriately named “A Taste of the Caribbean.” I saw an interesting recipe for ribs with a rub and Mango Guava BBQ Sauce. Since Ben loves both Mango and BBQ sauce I knew that I must give it a try.
As we all know, the mango is a tropical fruit. I was surprised to learn that it is native to India, and has been exported so that it now grows all across the tropics. It was first imported into the Americas in the 17th century. Because there was no refrigeration, they were brought in pickled. They were so popular that over time any pickled fruit became known as mango. Areas closer to India grew mangoes much earlier. Evidence has been found in east Asia that shows mangoes there as far back as the 4th-5th centuries BC. It is believed to be grown in East Africa as early as the 10th century AD.
The tree itself is very large. It is a broad leaf evergreen that can be up to 130 feet tall, with a spread of up to 33 feet across. They put down huge roots, the tap root can be up to 20 feet long. The tree also bites back if you mess with it! The fruit and leaves have the same chemical as poison ivy and poison oak. Mango trees are the most common plant cause of dermatitis (skin rash) in Hawaii during the ripening season.
Mangoes are not just a tasty fruit, they are chalk full of nutrients. One mango has 25% of your vitamin A need for the day, 9% of vitamin E, and a whopping 76% of your vitamin C requirement! There’s a whole list of other things, so I won’t list them all, but you can see here. They are also an anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogen. Moral is eat your mango! (That also applies to my mother, who refuses to eat them.)
The original recipe was way too sweet, so I have tinkered with it a bit. I also didn’t have access to any guava paste. Which is surprising considering the large number of Caribbean people on the west side of Denver. (That was sarcasm if you are not familiar with Denver). I didn’t look at whole foods, you may be able to get it there. Instead I substituted pineapple. This makes enough for you to easily have left overs. It also calls to have it with ribs (either pork or beef), but I did chicken.
Mango Guava/Pineapple BBQ Sauce
- 1 lg onion, diced
- 2 cups (about 2 med) mangoes, diced
- 6 Tbsp Guava paste (I used 1/4 c crushed pineapple)
- Juice of 4 lines (I used a combo of real limes and lime juice from the green plastic thing).
- 2 tsp fresh lime zest
- 4 T honey
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (or you can do another can of tomato paste. I only had diced tomatoes).
- Several dashes cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 1 Tbsp vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
- 1/4 c dark rum
- Toss your onions in a pot with some olive oil. Saute until clear or well caramelized, however it goes.
- In the mean time, puree all of the other ingredients except vinegar and rum in a food processor. You are going to want to do it in batches. The point is just to get them to be a puree. They will all cook in together in the pot.
- Toss the onions in with the last batch and puree until smoothish.
- Simmer on the stove until nice and thick and the flavors have had a chance to meld.
- Enjoy on the meat of your choice.