Ah, the arrival of summer. A season filled with warm sunshine, lazy pool days, and for me, mangoes. Tropical fruits, which I imagine growing in lush, exotic, postcard-perfect locales, capture the essence of the season so well. Give me a mango, and merely catching the whiff of the rich aroma transports me far away from the mundane everyday to vacation-relax mode.
Although I am perfectly content with a ripe mango cut in half and flesh scooped out with a spoon, juices running down my hands and chin without a care in the world, there is much more to this dynamic fruit. I discovered this the first time I had an amazing mango salad made by my grandmother who grew up in Burma. Instead of the tender, almost too sweet fruit, the salad makes use of unripe mangos. This is mango with attitude, with a slight crunch and strong tart punch. Playing against the aromatic flavors of fried garlic and umami taste of dried shrimp, the mango unifies the whole dish. Only when I have had a proper mango salad does summer really begin for me. For you to bring an exotic taste of the season in your own home, I have included the super easy recipe below. Enjoy!
Tropical mango salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
- 1 unripe mango, julienned (tip: too look for a mango with the appropriate degree of ripeness, choose one that is still hard, but with some yellow and warmer tones indicating the beginning of ripening)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried shrimp
- Pinch of sugar, to taste
Saute the minced garlic in a small amount of olive oil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. This will allow the full nutty, savory flavor of the garlic to shine through.
Mix the julienned mango, sautéed garlic, and dried shrimp in a large bowl. Add as much sugar as desired to balance the tartness of the mango. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes prior to serving.