Ras no fajeto is a beautiful, beautiful Gujarati dish made with pureed ripe mango and curd. It makes for the perfect side dish for piping hot steamed rice, with a little ghee mixed in. I love having it with rotis, though, with or without another simple curry on the side.
Traditionally, in Gujarati homes, ras no fajeto is made the next day after making keri no ras (ripe mango puree), so as to make the best use of the mango meat that is still stuck to the seeds after making the puree. The seeds are immersed in a bit of water and squished, so that all the juice gets extracted – this juice is then mixed with curd, besan aka gram flour, sugar or jaggery, curry leaves, green chillies and ginger, and cooked with a few more spices to yield the fajeto. Sometimes, the seeds are cooked too, with the buttermilk, and the lucky eaters get to suck the meat off them, right at their plates. Ingenious, no?
The sweetness of the ripe mango, the sourness of the curd, and the heat of the ginger and green chillies meld together to give this dish a gorgeous flavour. Beautiful as the fajeto is, it isn’t a dish that is really well known in states outside of Gujarat.
I prefer using only pureed ripe mango in my fajeto, discarding the seeds. I also like it to be slightly thicker in consistency than that of traditonal fajeto, using more of curd and less of water. So, while you try out this ras no fajeto, do feel free to adjust the quantities of water and curd depending on the consistency that you would like.
Here’s how I make the fajeto.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
- 2 cups semi-thick curd
- 1 medium-sized ripe mango
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons of sugar or jaggery powder (optional)
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped finely
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder, to taste
- 8-10 fresh curry leaves, torn
- 3 tablespoons of gram flour (besan)
For the tadka:
- About 3 tablespoons of ghee
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2-3 dried red chillies, each broken into two
- 2 pinches of asafoetida powder (hing)
- Take the curd in a large mixing bowl. Add in about 1/2 cup water, salt to taste, red chilli powder (if using), turmeric powder, gram flour and torn curry leaves. Whisk well, ensuring that no lumps remain.
- Grind the chopped ginger and green chillies in a mixer, adding very little water if needed. Add this paste to the curd mixture.
- Peel the mango and get all the meat off the skin and seed. Discard the skin and seed, and puree the meat in a mixer. Add this puree to the curd mixture too.
- Whisk the curd mixture well, again, to ensure that everything is thoroughly combined together.
- Transfer the curd mixture to a large pan and set it on high heat. Stirring intermittently, cook till the mixture reaches a boil.
- At this stage, add in the sugar or jaggery powder and mix well. Turn the heat down to low-medium.
- Let the mixture simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the tadka.
- To make the tadka, heat the ghee in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add the dry red chillies and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Add the asafoetida and cumin seeds and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Mix the tadka well and pour it into the simmering curd mixture.
- After 2-3 minutes of simmering, switch off the gas. The ras no fajeto is ready! Serve warm with rotis or steamed rice.
- Use curd that is slightly sour, but not overly so, to make this dish.
- Like I said earlier, adjust the quantity of water and curd that you use, to get the consistency you desire.
- I prefer using a ripe (firm, not squishy), meaty and sweet Banganapally mango to make this dish. Take your pick of the variety of mango that you’d like to use!
- The use of red chilli powder in this dish is optional. Use it only if you feel the heat added by the ginger and green chillies isn’t enough.
- You could use either jaggery powder or sugar to make this dish. Both yield delish results.
- You could even add a couple of pieces of cinnamon and bay leaves to the tadka. I prefer doing the tadka with just dry red chillies, cumin and mustard seeds.
- Home-made curd that is neither too watery nor thick works best for this dish. If you are using store-bought curd that is too creamy and thick, add in a bit more water and use slightly less curd than indicated in the recipe above.
- You can do the tadka with either ghee or oil – I prefer it with ghee.
- If you would like the ras no fajeto to have a slightly thicker consistency, you could increase the quantity of gram flour you use by a little bit.
- Do not cook the fajeto too much after it reaches boiling point – just simmer for 2-3 minutes. Overcooking might cause the dish to curdle and lose its taste.
You like? I hope you will try this out at home too, and that you will love it just as much as we did!