Mango is such an amazing fruit that you can use it in making dessert or even in main/side dishes. Let me tell you, when I was young, I hated ripe mango. Unripe mango is always my preference. I eat it by itself. What? Yeah, just slice it, dip with salt (or without) and put it in my mouth. Sometimes, I like to pickle unripe mango too, then eat it as a snack. 😉 Or use it to make into salad. Apart from Som Tam – Thai papaya salad, Thai mango salad is also my favourite.
So, why is it that I like unripe mango so much? Errr.. it’s kind of hard to explain. My tolerance to acidity is pretty high compared to others in my family. I love sour, sweet and sour stuff. The rest would wait for the mango to ripe but, for me, unripe mango suits my palates. However, as time goes by, I kind of open my mind a little and give ripe mango a go. Well, it tastes pretty good too. So, I slowly accepted ripe mango later in my life. Now that I am a very ‘mango’ person, I like to use both ripe and unripe in my cooking.
Thai mango salad can be a great side dish. Like its sister, Thai papaya salad, both of them share pretty much the same features – sweet, sour, and spicy. In terms of ingredients, you can pretty much make your own version of Thai mango salad. The standard version is always a mixture of thinly sliced unripe mango with roasted peanuts, dried shrimps, shallots, and chopped bird’s eyes chili. My version – I always like to top some toasted crispy anchovies! This dish is pretty much about flavours and textures. I love the crunch of the anchovies, while having the sweetness, sourness, and spiciness of other ingredients. Given just Thai mango salad, I can eat it with rice. Yes, just white plain rice. You can serve Thai mango salad with just about anything – chicken, meat, prawns… or eat on its own. 🙂