Last weekend I had to pop into the local Asian Grocery Store in nearby Sale for a few things. I love this little supermarket where Raj and his staff are always so very helpful, and the shelves are packed with all sorts of wonderful ingredients.
As I wandered through the store collecting the items I had on my list, I was excited to discover that they were now stocking some fresh produce commonly used in Asian cuisine, but generally difficult to come by in our area. What really caught my eye were the green mangoes, and there were three or four different varieties, so feeling a little confused, I asked if Raj would be able to explain what the differences were. Of course he was more than willing. We were soon joined by another lady who kindly filled me in on how to use the green mango and guided me on which variety was preferred. I selected a sour green mango, over the other sweeter varieties on her advice, and noticed that she was also selecting one or two of the same.
We talked about green mango salad, and while I had made a green mango salad before, even posting my recipe for it, she guided me further on flavours, ingredients and what to serve it with, encouraging me to be adventurous. She suggested adding ginger, carrot, and of course, ensuring that the key elements of sweet, sour, salty and hot were balanced. Her final comment as we parted was, “don’t forget the coriander” (cilantro). I made my purchases and excitedly headed home, only to realise, in my excitement, I had forgotten to continue on and finish the other things I needed to do while I was in town! So found a safe place to turn around and headed back.
When I did finally arrive home, I put all the groceries away, including my green mango and got on with the rest of the work.
Two nights ago I was trying to work out what to do with the pork scotch that I had cut into strips, thinking that I would do a stir fry. I changed my mind and decided to make Muu Ping, a Thai recipe also known as Pork on Sticks (I think Muu Ping sounds much better) – but what to serve with it… I started looking at ideas for veg, and happened upon a recipe for Green Mango Salad. I then remembered that I had the green mango in the fridge and the decision was made. I turned to my original recipe for Som Tam, and with the advice that I had received when purchasing the fruit, got to work making a delicious, fresh tangy salad. It went perfectly with the Muu Ping – dinner was served.
This recipe is based on the Thai Salad, Som Tam, a dish that originated in north-east Thailand, but is now popular world wide. Normally served with sticky rice, we enjoy it served with Tod Man Goong (Thai Prawn Cakes).
- 2 green mangoes
- 150 g green beans sliced and blanched
- 200 g carrot
- 125 g cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 cup Fresh coriander leaves shredded
- 1/4 cup Fresh mint leaves shredded
- 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 clove of garlic chopped
- 1 red chilli chopped
- 2.5cm/1 inch know of fresh ginger finely grated
- 1 golden shallot chopped
- 1 lime juice juice and zest
- 2 tbsp peanuts roasted and crushed
- fresh coriander leaves
Peel the green mango and cut the flesh into long thin strands, if you have a mandolin, use the fine julienne or grater attachment.
Peel the carrot and cut the flesh into long thin strands, again, if you have a mandolin, use the fine julienne or grater attachment.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, ginger, shallots, and chillies into a paste, alternatively, using a fine microplane grater, grate each component (chillies are easy to grate if they are frozen).
Add the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and zest, and mix to combine, check for balance and adjust if necessary (see note below). Set aside.
Combine the mango, carrot, beans and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl.
Add the dressing and, using your hands, toss gently.
Pile onto a large serving platter and sprinkle over the crushed peanuts and coriander leaves.
- While attending a cooking class at a restaurant in Thailand, the chef tutored us on achieving the correct balance of sweet, savoury, sour. His advice was, if one item is out of balance, don't just try to correct it, you also need to add a little more of each of the other components - it sounds wrong, but it works...
- After discovering that our local Asian Supermarket had begun supplying green mangos, I had a wonderful conversation with the owner and another customer. The customer provided me with some wonderful tips, the first of which was that, if available, use sour green mangos, and don't be afraid to add other ingredients, suggesting that carrot works well. And as we finished up, she mentioned "don't forget the coriander"!
- If i don't have coriander, I replace it with Vietnamese Mint, that is growing in a pot outside the back door.
Until next time