This Sweet and Spicy Mango-Chili Sorbet Tingles All the Taste Buds

Chef Sujan Sarkar shares his recipe inspired by Indian summers and NYC vendors.

Mango Chili Sorbet
Mango Chili Sorbet | Photo courtesy of Baar Baar
Mango Chili Sorbet | Photo courtesy of Baar Baar

Indian cuisine is having a bit of a moment in America right now. Not only are lesser-known recipes of dishes such as misal pav and thatte idli making it to mainstream food media, Indian restaurants—from Sona to Semma—are receiving rave reviews.

So it was good timing for Kolkata-born chef Sujan Sarkar to move to the States in 2016 and open five Indian restaurants in San Francisco, Palo Alto, New York City, and Chandler, Arizona. One year in, he launched Baar Baar, an Indian gastrobar serving creative, contemporary Indian cuisine with inspired cocktails in the East Village.

“My lens for looking at Indian cuisine is to preserve the integrity of the cuisine, while also getting experimental with it,” he says. Sarkar’s research is not only limited to dishes or ingredients, but also revolves around stories shared by people, cultural references, and evolution of the dish.

“I don’t deviate from the fundamentals of Indian cuisine, rather try to retain the essence of the same flavors, while showcasing it in a contemporary way—a combination of fresh local produce, Indian flavor, and modern presentation,” he says.

Examples of this approach include melon chaat, where a tangy Indian tapa is made with compressed melons and served with a green mango sorbet; the prawn sukka, a traditional Konkani dish turned into a spicy sausage; a Pubjabi gravy made using cottage cheese called paneer makhani turned into a pinwheel and served with tomato gravy; and a sweet dish called gajar ka halwa turned into a cake and served with milk crips.

But this summer, he is all about a mango-chili sorbet.

“This dish reminds me of my summer holidays as a kid,” Sarkar says. “Semi-ripe mangoes were eaten with chili powder and a pinch of black salt—it’s what an Indian summer is made of. It’s also a tribute to the fruit vendors of New York. You’ll often see them on the street side selling cut mangoes with Tajín seasoning.”

Mango Chili Sorbet Recipe

Mango Chili Sorbet

• 2¼ pounds sorbet base (see below)
• 2¼ pounds mango puree mango
• 7 ounces fresh mango pulp
• ¾ teaspoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon Tajín spice mix
• ¼ teaspoon salt

Sorbet Base

1½ cups sugar
• 10 tablespoons glucose powder
• 3 cups water

1. Start by making the sorbet base. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
2. Once it is boiled, add glucose powder and stir it well and make sure there are no lumps in the mixture. Simmer this mixture for 5 minutes.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it in a separate container. Allow it to cool down.
4. Once cooled, mix this sorbet base with mango puree, fresh mango pulp, chili powder, and season with salt. Mix well.
5. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours and once it hardens, churn it in an ice cream maker. Transfer it in a storing container and store it in a deep freezer.
6. Before serving, sprinkle a pinch of Tajín spice mix on the sorbet and serve immediately.

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Sonal Ved is a Thrillist contributor and the author of Tiffin: 500 Authentic Recipes Celebrating India’s Regional Cuisine and Whose Samosa Is It Anyway? Her work has appeared in leading publications such as The Guardian, Saveur and Food52 among others.