I love the youth of a green mango salad. It’s a salad fresh and shouty, foolish and sweet as a wet-eared adolescent who’s just emerged from the flush of spotty teenagehood. It’s the taste of freedom the first time you’re away from home, unbridled, yet still innocent in its unripe firmness.
Am I getting carried away here? Perhaps it’s because I’m faced with the twinge of a dicky hip, yearning for my salad days.
But this is a seriously good salad. That taste of crunchy mango evokes joy. Laced with the sour of limes, salt of fish sauce and sweetened with palm sugar, the flavours meld in delicious concord. Throw in the spike of a birds-eye chilli, and you’re asking for an exquisite kind of trouble as Leo diCaprio did in search of The Beach.
Strictly speaking, this is a Thai side salad. But this is my version (that is - not the beacon of authenticity). I know I should julienne rather than grate the mango, introduce the salt tang of shrimp paste/dried shrimp etc. etc. But this is a fifteen minute throw-together that is so moreish, ladlefuls will be eaten before you’ve even left the kitchen.
Top tip? Make more so that you can eat more.
Green Mango Salad Recipe
(serves 4 a a side salad, 2 as a main meal if you’re adding prawns/chicken)
2 x unripe mangoes (with yellow hard-ish flesh rather than orange) - peeled then grated
2 large handfuls of coriander - finely chopped
3 or 4 spring onions - finely chopped
1/2 - 1 red birds-eye chilli - seeds and all (to taste)
Dressing - mix together first
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of 1-1.5 limes
1 tablespoon palm sugar (use brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar)
Very simply - mix everything except the dressing ingredients together and watch the vibrant colours clash.
Add the dressing and mix well.
Add grilled prawns or chicken if you fancy - it really is the best garnish.