Summertime means mangoes and thankfully for a mango-lover like myself they're popping up all over the place. As you squeeze your way through a crate full of mangoes in search of that perfect give, make sure you don't pass up those rock hard green mangoes. Many cultures around the world make use of these under-ripened mangoes and there's good reason: green mangoes have great tart flavor and an addictive crunchy texture.
A Thai green mango salad is julienned green mango, peanuts, chillies, dried shrimp and shallots tossed in a coating of lime juice, sugar and fish sauce– just enough to make perfect sense of all the bold flavors in this salad. This version can be elaborated on by adding or swapping ingredients such as cilantro, dried fish, carrots, shrimp, cashews, etc. I love this salad because it has the classic Thai combination of flavors– that harmonious balance of savory, sour, sweet and hot.
This salad works fine on its own or paired with pretty much any protein like fish or chicken, and is genius on a hot summer day.
- one green mango, thinly julienned*
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 bird's eye chillies, thinly sliced on a bias
- 1 handful of roasted peanuts
- 1 small handful of dried shrimp (around 1 1/2 tbsps)
- juice of 1 lime (around 3-4 tbsps)
- 2 tbsps of fish sauce
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- small handful of roughly chopped cilantro
*Pick one that is rock hard and green. Of course, when I went to the market there were only mostly ripe mangoes available. I managed to find one that was pretty hard and the salad was still amazing, but the greener and harder the better!
Start by julienning your mango. You don't need a special mandoline to do this although it would make it easier. Here's how:
Start by peeling your mango
Then firmly hold your mango and start thinly slicing the mango parallel to the flatter sides of the pit (watch those fingers!) and repeat on the other side of the mango.
Stack a few slices and start cutting into very thin sticks.
As for the other shallower sides, you can try to repeat this process although it's a little more difficult because you're working with such little flesh. Or you can do what I do: just eat it.
In a mortar and pestle, combine the sliced chillies, sliced shallots, peanuts and dried shrimp. Lightly pound the ingredients until the whole peanuts break up. If you don't have a mortar and pestle (which I highly recommend you purchasing; they're cheap and are indispensable for a globetrotter's kitchen) you can place the ingredients into a ziplock bag and lightly crush the ingredients with a rolling pin.
Combine this mixture with the shredded mango. In a separate bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Pour it over the salad and add the cilantro and toss together.