Let me introduce you to these spicy mango paletas. A few years ago I stumbled into a family-run, mostly Spanish speaking ice cream shop. I was new to the neighborhood but the shop was not. While I might know a little polite Spanish, enough to fumble though an introduction, I by no means speak Spanish. And worse than my vocabulary is my accent. It’s embarrassing. So needless to say, I was not sure what I was ordering. It involved a lot of pointing and smiling between myself and abulea trying to help me. I ended up with a mangonada, and it was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I spent the rest of the summer popping in there and picking up mangonadas, homemade paletas and ice cream, getting to try all sorts of new flavors — and I always tried whatever was recommended to me.
If you’re unfamiliar with the mangonada, it’s like a spicy mango sundae. This version was thick layers of fresh mango and mango sorbet with a sour-spicy chili mix sprinkled and swirled throughout. It usually comes with a sour-spicy covered tamarind straw. With that explanation in mind, you can see how these mango chili pops (paletas) are inspired by the mangonada.
The recipe is simple, because when dealing with ripe mangos in summer, what else do you need? Puree some mangoes in a blender or food processor, squeeze in some lime and freeze. When it’s time to serve them, dunk them in to a Mexican chili powder mix such as this one — Tajin Clasico, and add another squeeze of lime if you like. Keep that chili powder on hand for all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies, like watermelon, cucumbers, radishes, melon and pineapple. (Speaking of, you could make this recipe with pineapple + chili powder instead of mango!) Also keep this on hand to rim cocktails like a michelada or a margarita. For the pops, you can adjust as needed, use whatever popsicle mold you’ve got and go from there — these were just old-school Dixie cups. See my measurements below.
Measurements I used: 3 ripe mangos, juice of 1 lime = 6 (3oz) popsicles, I used 3oz paper Dixie cups for my popsicle molds. Freeze overnight. Sprinkle with Tajin seasoning, or chili powder of choice.
For mangoes, I prefer the Alphonso mango; they’re the smaller golden ones, native to India. But all mangoes are good mangoes, so no need to get picky! If you can’t find Tanjin seasoning, a little chili powder + salt + lime will make a good stand in.