I have been wanting to try a Thai style green papaya salad for a while now but I have never been able to find truly green, unripened, papayas. I tried picking up the greenest one that I could find but it was still too ripe and soft. I had all but given up when I was walking through the market I saw some really green mangoes and I remembered that there was a very similar Thai style green mango salad. I figured that even though these mangoes were fully bright green that they would still be soft and too ripe as well, but I picked them up and gave them a squeeze, they were rock solid and clearly unripe! I picked some up immediately and quickly tried to find all of the other ingredients that I thought I would need for the green mango salad.
The key to this salad is that the papaya or in this case mango, is used for its crisp texture and tart flavour rather than the soft and sweet ripened version. I kept the salad pretty simple and to the julienned mango I added a julienned carrot because it had a similar shape and crunchy texture and it would add some colour. I also added some bean sprouts for another colour and for the crisp juiciness that they would add to the salad. Of course there had to be a hot chili in there along with lots of fresh herbs. For the dressing I used some classic Thai ingredients: fish sauce, lime juice and some palm sugar to balance it all out. When I think of Thai cuisine peanuts always seem to come up and I thought that they would add a nice complementing texture.
The Thai green mango salad turned out great! It was so fresh and it had such a wonderful combination of flavours and textures. I really liked how each bite was crunchy and juicy and tart and sweet and sour and how every once in a while you would bite into a really hot pepper which overall balanced out with everything else. Despite the fact that I normally enjoy fully ripe, soft and sweet mangoes I quite liked the way the tart and crunchy unripened mango worked in this salad. While I was eating the salad I was thinking that you could easily turn it into a light meal by adding some shrimp or crab.
Green Mango Salad
- 1 green mango (peeled and julienned)
- 1 small carrot (julienned)
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1 birds eye chili (chopped)
- 1 green onion (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon mint (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon Thai basil (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or sugar)
- 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts (chopped, or cashews, etc.)
- Mix the mango, carrot, bean sprouts, chili, green onion, cilantro, mint, basil in a large bowl.
- Mix fish sauce, lime juice and sugar in a small bowl.
- Toss the salad with the dressing and serve garnished with the peanuts.