Ingredient of the Week: Mangetout
One of the vegetables that my Dad has been growing in his allotment is mangetout. They are in season at the moment, which means he’s been keeping me well supplied with them. Therefore I’ve been eating them a lot and so thought I should focus on them for my ingredient of the week.
Mangetout, pronounced monj-too, is a very young type of green pea, picked before the peas have had time to develop and the pods are still flat. If cooked correctly they should still be very crisp to bite and taste slightly sweet. Other names for them include snow pea or sugar pea. Sugar snap peas are a more fully developed version of mangetout where the peas have started to develop and so the pod is more round. They are tender enough though that you can still eat the pod. They are most commonly found in oriental style dishes, as they partner very well with flavours such as soy, coriander, ginger and sesame, but can also be found in a salad or or as a side as part of a vegetable mix.
Why are they good for me?
As mangetout are a type of pea, they come from the legume family. This means they are a good source of plant based protein, making them a good inclusion in your diet for vegetarians and those aiming to increase their protein intake. They also are a very good source of vitamin C, needed for fighting infection as well as building collagen for healthy skin and hair.
Other vitamins and minerals that mangetout contain include vitamin A, vitamin K, folate and potassium. Vitamin A is needed for maintaining good eye health, strong bones and healthy skin. Vitamin K is important for wound healing, as it helps healthy blood clots to form as well as assisting the body in absorbing calcium, thus helping to form and keep bones strong. Folate is vital for a healthy nervous system and cell growth. Potassium keeps the body hydrated, while also playing an important role in the proper functioning of the heart.
How do I prepare them?
Mangetout is French for ‘eat it all’ and this is what you can do with this vegetable. Therefore it takes very little preparation. If you are fortunate enough like me to be able to pick them straight from the plant before eating, then all you simply need to do is give them a quick wash. If you have bought them from the supermarket then they should be good to go. Simply slice them to size if you wish, although most recipes call for them to be left whole.
How do I cook them?
I generally prefer to either add mangetout to stir-fries or towards the end of making a curry. This is because they don’t need very long to cook and their flavour and colour can easily be leached out if you over cook them or submerge them in water. Therefore steaming or boiling them is not actually recommended. One of the best ways to cook them nutritionally is for a couple of minutes in the microwave, with no added water, just make sure they are covered, either with a lid or clingfilm.
Try using them in this spicy salmon stir-fry or this Thai chicken curry. Feeling lazy? Then try this curried chicken and vegetable one-pan. Possibly my favourite recipe including mangetout is this satay prawn and noodle stir-fry. Still looking for more inspiration then swap them for green beans, like in this smoked salmon sushi salad.
I know I tend to only use them in Asian inspired meals, but i promise they can be added to other dishes as well. They partner really well with fish and also are delicious mixed through a salad. If you have any recipes including mangetout, then please share them in the comments below.
Thank you for reading and speak soon.