Thai Shredded Mango Salad
Serves 2 to 3
A favorite introduction to Thai salads is this unexpected and exciting combination of crunchy mango, green beans, peanuts, a tangy lime dressing and a dusting of chopped peanuts. Typically this salad is made with shredded green papaya, but those mild crunchy strands can be difficult to locate even at Asian markets (but absolutely use green papaya if you can find it), and hard, unripe mangoes are usually easier to find. Make this starter into a light entree salad by including matchsticks of Pressed Baked Tofu.
For the best possible salad, make sure the mango is really hard and unripe; shredding the mango will be tricky as the mango continues to ripen and become softer. If your mango feels a little too soft or is starting to smell ripe, set it aside for 2 or 3 days and make the Mango Avocado Cashew salad instead.
Pre-shredded green papaya might be found where Thai groceries are sold, but Asian long beans are usually much easier to find. You don’t need a lot of them for this recipe, so any leftover green beans can be stashed in the refrigerator and used later in stir fry dishes such as Pad Kee Mao or tucked into a red or green curry. And with all dishes with fresh chiles, use only as many as you think with suit your tastebuds; I love this salad really spicy but you can limit the heat in this salad to just a pinch of red pepper flakes.
1 hard, unripe mango or 2 cups packed shredded green papaya
1/4 pound raw green beans or Asian long bean
10 red ripe cherry or grape tomatoes
1 to 4 fresh Thai red chiles or 1/4 and up to 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar or grated palm sugar
1 tablespoon thin Thai soy sauce
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Few twists freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup ground roasted peanuts or cashews
1 recipe Basic Baked Tofu, sliced into matchsticks or prepared baked or fried tofu (for an entree salad)
1. Prepare the following vegetables and place them in a mixing bowl: Use a Y-shaped vegetable peeled to peel the outside of the mango, then use a Y-shaped vegetable julienne peeler (see Kitchen Equipment page XX), to slice the mango into matchstick thin strips; take your time and flip the mango over to slice it down as close to the seed as possible. Slice green beans on an angle into long slivers no thicker than 1/4 inch. Slice each cherry tomato in half. If using fresh Thai chiles, slice into the thinnest paper thin rounds possible. Add the cilantro along with the vegetables in the bowl.
2. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup whisk together the lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic. Pour over vegetables, then sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Toss the salad and coat everything with the dressing. Mound onto a serving platter. If adding tofu, toss along with the vegetables. This salad is best consumed right away.