Ripe green mango salad


By Neena Badhwar

Everyone is enjoying the heavenly Australian mangoes this summer – Kalypso, R2E2, Kensington Pride, Honey Gold, Palmer, Keitt, Kent, Parvin and Brooks. In India we used to have over 200 varieties of mangoes which included the aromatic Alphonsos, Dooseri and many more. Then there are the Thai green mangoes which one can buy at a Thai, Chinese or a Vietnamese shop in Sydney. When bought raw they are green inside but leave them for 2-3 days and they slowly turn light yellow and sweet.

I have concocted a green mango salad by copying a green mango salad that years ago I tasted in Bangkok on a roadside from a lady hawker. Most of the street food in Bangkok streets is made by women who sell Thai curries, savouries, kebabs on coal, corn roasted in front of you.

This lady had these peeled green mango which she very deftly sliced in front of you into fine strings, then added in a mortar and pestle, some peanuts, couple of cloves of garlic, some oyster sauce, few dried red chillies and after pounding it she served it to you in a little paper cone. Even after me gesturing to her frantically not to add chillies she just either did not get it or did not bother and went about her daily way the she makes it for locals.

Well it was the hottest bomb that I put in my mouth, the burning sensation had my inside cheeks on fire as I sat on the footpath with the half eaten salad. My head spinning as I sat holding both my temples thinking what had happened. Luckily I had water bottle which I downed but nothing would extinguish that fire and took a good amount of time. In the meantime the lady had trotted off far into the street looking for another victim like me.

The taste of that street salad has lingered in my memory for years when I tried making it at home this summer. Since the green mango is too sour for my taste, I let the mango ripe and then did every thing the same except that dried chillies I used were only two in number and squeezed juice of a half lime and salt and pepper to taste instead of the oyster sauce. The peanuts used are freshly roasted so that their oil oozes out a bit due to the heat. Sprinkle chopped coriander before you serve. It is one of the best summer snack that I have tasted which you can all try for yourself.

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