We woke up this morning to a light dusting of frost covering the delicate green shoots of spring in our garden. I spent the rest of the day studiously avoiding all mention of cold weather and doing my best to conjure up images of spring. This salad is my edible contribution to the ‘make-spring-a-reality-campaign.’
Mangos remind me of Paul and my travels together through Cambodia right before we got engaged. March is mango season in Cambodia and this time of year, I always get a longing for the sweet and sticky fruits we used to gorge ourselves on daily. First thing in the morning, our first order of business was to search out the nearest market to buy our daily bag of mangos.
While a hybrid dish more traditionally of Thai origins, this mango salad evokes, for me, the sweet, salty, sour and spicy mix that characterizes much of South East Asian cuisine. This mango salad is my version of a green mango or papaya salad. It is a Westernized version paired down to ingredients I usually have on hand without the challenge of tracking down specialty items like dried shrimp and Thai chili peppers.
- 2 semi ripe mangos (redish skin is unblemished but will indent slightly when pushed) peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (can substitute another mild vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or other spicy seasoning that you prefer, I used 5 dashes Siracha)
- 1 minced clove garlic
- 3-4 stalks chopped green onion
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh mint
- 1 ½ tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons. roasted and chopped peanuts
- Peel the mangos. I find it easiest to use my vegetable peeler. Cut through the mango, along either side of the oblong pit. This will leave three parts. Discard the pit. Cut the remaining two segments into thin, long strips (if you have a food processor or mandolin this stage becomes infinitely easier and faster).
- Cut red onion and bell pepper in similarly sized thin long strips.
- Gently combine mango, red onion & bell pepper in a large bowl.
- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and you have a fairly homogeneous mixture.
- Pour the dressing over mango, peppers and onions.
- Chop the herbs immediately prior to serving, and gently fold into the salad.
- Give the completed salad a sprinkling of peanuts and sesame seeds. Taste, adjust any seasonings, serve, eat.
- If you find your local Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian or Asian grocery, you will find beautiful mangos and all the other ingredients for this salad in abundant supply.
- Basil also tastes great in this salad.
- Cashews can be substituted for peanuts.