Unripe mangos’ pleasantly sour bite is balanced by a blend of sweet palm sugar in this salad, which is punctuated with the bright taste of mint and pan-roasted peanuts. In Vietnam this salad is paired with grilled beef (use same marinade from the pork for bánh mì thịt,) or grilled shrimp. I love this refreshing treat all by itself.
Buy under-ripe mangos that are just beginning to turn color inside. They have the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and the aromatic qualities of the mango are beginning to develop. Since it’s difficult to sample by cutting one open at the store, choose very firm green-skinned mangos that only give a little bit when pressed. Don’t fret: whatever you bring home with will work. Either way green mangos crunch and flavor works best. If mangos are not at hand, use under-ripe papaya, chayote, or as some of my Vietnamese friends suggest, use green apples.
Like the pummelo salad, this dish can be served with shrimp chips to scoop up the pieces. If you do this, cut the mango into shorter (2-inch / 5 cm.) pieces so they fit on the crackers.
© 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved.