One of my all time favorite fruits ever is mango.
Mangos are so sweet, so juicy, so tropical, and just insanely delicious. I’ve gone days where I’ve had dinner that consists of me just eating mangos. Yup, straight up just eating cold cubes of sweet, juicy mangos. Eating mangoes reminds me of Asia, in the best possible way. I remember eating so many mango sticky rice desserts in Thailand (I should really make mango sticky rice on the blog!) and being straight up obsessed with the mango smoothie from Hui Lau Shan in Hong Kong.
Have you guys heard of Hui Lau Shan? They’re an HK staple, a chain of dessert shops that specialize in mango drinks and desserts. They’re incredibly beloved and they have stores all over the world, even in LA! They have the cutest mango mascot and the best mango drinks. Trust me, a mango drink is incredibly refreshing in the hot and humid heat (and all other weather too).
Mango is life
There are over 500 varieties of mangos out there. World famous Alphonso mangos are often said to be the best of the best, but they have a very small season and aren’t really readily available outside of India, at least unless you’re willing to pay absurd prices. For me, the most readily available and best mango in North America is the Carabao mango. It’s bright orange, super sweet, not too fiberous, has a small pit, and is super juicy – run down your arms juicy.
How to cut a mango
There are so many ways to peel and cut a mango! Here are two that I do:
The vegetable peeler
You can peel a mango using a vegetable peeler. Just peel it the way you would a carrot. After that, lay the mango out on the cutting board, tall-ways. Carefully use a knife to cut off half of the mango, positioning your knife off center to avoid the pit in the middle. Repeat on the other side and then carefully use a pairing knife to trim off any extra mango from the pit. Dice up the mango as desired.
The hedgehog method
The other way to peel is the hedgehog method: hold the mango on a cutting board, tall-ways. Use a knife and cut off a lobe of mango, positioning your knife off center to avoid the pit. Repeat on the other side. Take the mango and use a pairing knife to cut a grid into the mango halves, being careful not to cut through the skin. Flip the mango so that the cubes are poking out then carefully slice off the cubes. Or you could use a spoon to scoop everything out.
So you want a ripe mango?
When choosing a mango, color doesn’t really matter. What you’re looking for is a firm skin that has just the tiniest bit of give, like when a peach or avocado is ripe. Take a sniff: if it smells super fragrant and sweet, it’s ready for you.
Even though a mango tastes great, it’s also really low in calories. One average mango only has 202 calories!
The HK style mango smoothie
I love Hui Lau Shan so much that I’ve taken to making a Mango Mania Hui Lau Shan copycat drink. The Hui Lau Shan A1 is my absolute favorite: mango & mango jelly in mango juice. That’s triple mango. Luckily, mangos are pretty much a staple at the grocery store in summer because I’ve been buying them up like mad.
This mango smoothie is everything a mango smoothie wants to be. Icy and sweet and juicy with soft and squishy mango jelly cubes and fresh mango. Seriously so refreshing. It takes a little time and foresight, but I promise you, it’s worth it.
The recipe calls for frozen mango cubes, which are available everywhere, even online! I find that fresh ones are almost always sweeter, so I peel, cube, and freeze fresh mangos specifically for this smoothie. It takes about 4 hours in our freezer, so you can do it just before you make the jelly and have it all ready at the same time. Don’t forget to save some fresh mango for garnish though!
Mango juice & mango puree
What’s the difference between mango juice and mango puree? It’s simply a question of thickness. Mango juice is usually thinner and mango puree is more thick. I tend to buy mango juice and make mango puree.
Nowadays mango juice is pretty much available at most grocery stores. They usually label it as mango nectar. If I see it, I get 100% Pure mango juice nectar by Phillippine brand because it’s essentially mango, sugar, and some citric acids as a stabilizers. Other good choices: SunTropics in the fridge section, Goya, and Jumex. The key is to go for a juice that is pure mango, not a juice blend.
I like to make my own mango puree by blending up fresh mangos. Simply peel and dice your mangos then pop them in the blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You shouldn’t need to any liquid to your blender or food processor because mangos are pretty juicy on their own. You could go out and buy mango puree – they sell it as a speciality item, frozen in some speciality food stores, but it’s a lot easier to make your own.
- 1.5 tsp gelatin
- 1/4 cup mango juice
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup mango puree
- 1 tbsp sugar optional
- 3.5 cups frozen mango chunks see note
- 1 cup mango juice
- 2 cups ice 6oz
- 1/2 cup fresh mango cubes
Make the mango jelly: sprinkle the gelatin on the mango juice and let bloom for 3-5 minutes then stir in the hot water. When the gelatin is dissolved, stir in the sugar, if using, then the mango puree. Pour into a small rectangular dish or container and let set, about 4 hours. When set, cut into small cubes.
Make the mango smoothie: Blend the frozen mango cubes with the juice and ice until smooth.
Assemble: Add some mango jelly to the bottom of a glass, then top with the mango smoothie and some fresh mango cubes. Enjoy immediately!