Green mangoes don't get near the billing as their juicy, riper cousins. That's too bad, because their crunch and slight sweetness makes them an ideal base for a refreshing Thai salad.
As the name suggests, green mangoes are simply a few days away from peak ripeness. Peeled, they expose a firmer flesh, without the sloppy sweetness that makes ripe mangoes so amazing. On their own they're nothing to write home about, but dressed in a Thai sauce – tangy, salty, sour and slightly spicy – green mangoes create a cool dish for a hot summer night.
Think of the mango and dressing as a starting point to layer on tastes and textures. In this version, carrots and onions add crunch. Creamy avocado and cashews balance out of the lime and fish sauce, which smells pungent and but provides a wonderful depth of flavor.
From there you could add any crunchy veggie or herb - cucumber, jicama, bean sprouts, basil, mint or scallions. For a heartier meal, throw on some BBQ chicken or (if you want get fancy) crab or duck. And then, just because mangoes are so delicious, finish off the meal with sweet mango milkshake or sticky rice.
Thai Green Mango Salad
2 large green mangos, peeled and finely julienned
1 carrot, finely julienned
1/2 red onion, finely julienned
1 large avocado, cubed
1 head leafy lettuce
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce, optional
To julienne the mango, first peel the mango with a vegetable peeler (stand it on its end and slice downward, to avoid peeling your fingers as well). Then slice off thin strips of mango with a mandolin or sharp knife and cut into matchsticks.
Combine the garlic, lime and orange juices, fish sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, sugar and Sriracha chili sauce, if using. Dress the mango carrot and onion. Serve on a bed of lettuce, and top with cashews, avocado and a sprig of cilantro.
(Images: Liz Vidyarthi)