Green Mango Salad (Som Tum Mamuang)
Addiction to fresh South-East Asian flavours continues
Mangos are now inexpensive and abundantly available all year round at supermarket. They are usually shipped and displayed under-ripe and benefit from a few days in a fruit bowl where the skins blushes to yellow/orange with soft, sweet flesh. For this salad you intentionally want a firm, green unripe Mango straight from the shelf for that fresh crunch flavour and texture — this makes it a very convenient and immediate way to eat Mangos. Combine with the classic Thai flavours of sweet, salty/ savoury (Umami), spicy and sour and this creates an addictive taste explosion.
Mangos are a great fruit to incorporate into a healthy cardiovascular diet. Specifically they are a good source of soluble fibre with associated benefits on ‘cholesterol’ balance and the glycaemic profile of the contained sugars. The other ingredients in this salad aren’t bad either — at least 3 portions of fruit/ veg per serving with the added boost (and texture) of crushed nuts, you have incorporated the majority of protective foods* into one meal. Another 2 portions of fruit/veg during the day and you have easily surpassed 5-a-day.
We are going to start to re-emphasise the concept of cardiovascularly ‘protective foods’ based on recurrent clinical trial evidence of hard end-points (protection against future cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, stroke and dementia). These are the true ‘superfood’ groups and should form the basis of your dietary pattern:
- Vegetables — particularly green leafy/ nitrate containing veg (+Garlic)
- Whole Fruits — particularly Berries
- Legumes (Beans and Lentils)
- Oily fish
- Nuts/ seeds
- Wholegrain carbohydrates/ dietary fibre
- Olive Oil as major cooking/ dressing fat
You will see the obvious parallels to the Mediterranean diet. You will also see that if you include all the foods you have a balance of Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats. We hope to bring you a full analysis soon which compares the evidence to the common pseudoscientific promotion of other ‘superfoods’.
Ingredients for 2 large main meal servings
- Large Green (unripe) Mango
- Handful of fine green Beans
- 1/2 Red Onion (or whole Shallot) finely sliced
- Handful of Tomatoes quartered
- Handful of Cucumber — finely sliced at an angle
- Handful of toasted Peanuts — crushed
- Mint and Coriander (include fragrant stalks)— chopped tablespoon of each
- We have added torn strips of left over roast chicken in this one. Other good options are Prawns (shrimp) or sliced pan-grilled Chicken breast
- We have added a whole Red Chilli with seeds. This would be relatively mild for an authentic Thai Salad which would use Bird’s eye Chillies.
Dressing (the important bit)
- 1.5 tablespoons of fish sauce
- Whole Lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of Palm Sugar (you can substitute honey or normal sugar)
- Chilli (as above we added a whole Red Chilli)
- 1 large Garlic Clove
- Drizzle of Olive Oil to dress (optional — non-authentic!)
- 1 tablespoon of Dried whole Shrimp — this is the slightly unusual ingredient but essential to create that true Umami depth of flavour to complement the fresh Mango. You can leave it out but easily available at Asian supermarkets.
- This Salad is easiest with a slicing Japanese Mandolin but there are other options if you don’t have one. To create Julienne strips of Mango you can roughly chop a row of slices into the flesh with a knife until you hit the stone. Then use a standard ‘potato speed peeler’ to make the strips. The other option is to buy a cheap (£3–4) Julienne strip peeler which will make strips of veg.
2. The beans will need blanching in salted boiling water for around 3–4 minutes until they are tender but retain a little bite. Drain and ‘refresh’ by cooling with cold water — it’s nice if they are warm but not hot in the salad.
3. Toast the unrefined Peanuts in a dry non-stick pan until they have a golden colour. Roughly crush — best done by bashing in a Mortar & Pestle.
4. Slice the Onion, Cucumber, Chilli and quarter the Tomatoes. Finely chop your herbs and include the fragrant Coriander stalks as well as the leaves. Add the Chicken (or Prawns) and incorporate all together in a large bowel with the sliced Mango, green beans and crushed toasted Peanuts.
5. Now for the dressing. Again best done in a Mortar & Pestle although you can pulse blend the ingredients together in a blender/ chopper. Toast the dried shrimp in a dry pan (as you did with the nuts) for 30 seconds and then add together with the other dry ingredients. Bash into a smooth paste. Now add the wet ingredients and stir together. Taste — it should have a perfect blend of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. You want the flavours to be slightly exaggerated as they will be mellowed and diluted by the salad ingredient.
6. Dress the Salad and allow it to sit for 2–3 minutes for the flavours to marinate. Then pile high on a large serving plate and enjoy.
A great lunch that will leave you feeling satisfied, healthy and full of energy!