27 March 2012

Green Mango Salad


I had been dreaming of the taste of mango cake the past days that it had become too insistent.  I took a step forward and finally bought  some mangoes.  Only the mangoes are the wrong kind, for that I was hesitant.  The only cultivar available in Italy is the one that is perfect for salads and passable for drinks, but for cakes?  I really don't know.  Then a friend from the U.S. posted a picture of her delicious-looking mango mousse cake using Mexican mangoes that resemble the ones in the Philippines.  The ones that are used for cakes.  The right kind.  It reminded me that I had the wrong ones. 


It took me days to look for a recipe that seemed good.  As I was preparing for the cake, I peeled the mangoes.  With this thing alone, I was already discontented.  You see, you don't peel the ripe mangoes for making cakes.  You slice them and scoop out the flesh because it is too soft. 

Looking at the mango in my hand, I changed my mind.  Yes, just like that.  I decided to make myself a green mango salad (even if the mango I used is already almost ripe and yellow) instead.  I had to cook some sogliola (sole) for lunch and the salad was just the missing part of a perfect Philippine dish.  Fried fish, steamed rice and a green mango salad with shrimp pasteBagoong alamang in the Philippine language, it is made from fermented minute shrimps or krill.  Like anything fermented, it has a pungent taste and smell.  It is known by different names in every country in Asia and is used extensively in cooking or dipping sauces.  This green mango salad is a typical salad that accompanies fried or grilled fish. 



Shrimp paste has such an intense smell that I never warm it up at home.  It's the kind that sticks to the walls and doesn't leave for hours. No kidding.  Like its smell, you can imagine that the taste is also equally strong.  I love it but my husband doesn't like it.  At all.  It requires an acquired taste or an intrepid newbie to enjoy it.
For the ones who want to stay on the safe side, there is always the Asian fish sauce tor the Italian colatura di alici to substitute it with.  It's less explosive but nonetheless, different and good.

Composing this salad doesn't require measurements.  I just put them to serve as a guidance.   You can put any amount of each ingredient and it won't alter the taste.   The classic version of this includes green mangoes, tomatoes (of any kind), onions and shrimp paste. I just added the parsley and chives.




Green Mango Salad


Ingredients:
Serves 1
  • 1 green mango (the unripest you can find), diced
  • 4 - 6 cherry tomatoes (or any kind of tomato), halved or quartered or diced, depending on the size
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • parsley (optional), chopped finely
  • chives (optional), chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon or more shrimp paste (if  not using fish sauce or colatura di alici)
  • colatura di alici or fish sauce (if not using shrimp paste)
Directions:
  1. Mix the mango, tomatoes, onion, chives and parsley (if adding) in a bowl. 
  2.  Add the shrimp paste or fish sauce.  Adjust the amount.  Mix well. 





6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Playing with the colors of nature is something really inspiring. Thanks!

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  2. Weng, I'm inviting myself over one of these nights to have dinner at your house :) I'm salivating just looking at your posts! :D

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    1. Hi Grace. Give me a date and come over. :-)

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  3. I agree with your husband - shrimp paste is really pungent! I've gotten more and more used to it since I've been cooking Thai food, but when I first opened the container, it reminded me of my days working in a microbiology lab :) It's grown on me more now, but whenever I cook with it, I make sure my windows are open!

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    1. If you like Asian cooking, this is a part of it. I don't dare cook it at home even if we don't live in a building. My husband cannot stand the smell. Haha! I'm glad that you learned to like it.

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