Refreshing, tart, salty and a little sweet, this Thai mango salad is a great addition to many savory dishes.
The key to this salad is to get mangoes that are still green. Green, not fully ripened mangoes have a firm texture and a tart taste with a hint of sweetness. When mangoes ripen, their flesh quickly becomes soft and sweet. They don't make a good salad. The good news is that, normally, you can find at least a few not fully ripened mangoes at any fruit market. And if you have a mango tree in your backyard, like some lucky Floridians, finding green mangoes during the mango season will be a piece of cake.
Another thing to be aware of when making this salad is that it tastes best when served right after you make it. Unlike, for example, the tomato and cucumber salad, or the quinoa salad, it doesn't benefit from soaking in the dressing. Exposure to the acidic dressing makes the firm, crisp mango sticks go limp and soggy, and lose their crunch, so it's best to make this salad right before serving.
Light and refreshing, this mango salad is a perfect summer salad. You can enjoy it on its own, or pair it with a savory dish. Rich dishes, like this salmon curry, will especially benefit from pairing with the mango salad due to its texture, brightness, and acidity.
- 2 green mangos small and tart, about 3 to 4 ounces each
- 2 Tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp palm sugar packed; or light brown sugar
- 1 red Thai chile pepper seeded and deveined; minced or thinly sliced
- 2 shallots about 1 oz each; thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
- ½ cup cashews optional; roasted; halves or whole
- Peel the mangoes and cut into thin sticks about 3 inches long.
- In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the chiles, shallots, and mango and toss. Taste the salad, it should be noticeably sour, then salty, with some sweet notes. Adjust the seasonings if needed.
- Add the cilantro and the mint and toss again. Garnish with cashews (optional) and serve immediately.