What Is Thai Mango Salad?

Anna B. Smith

Thai mango salad is a dish that combines the sweet flavors of mangoes with the spicy Asian influences of Thai chili peppers and bean sprouts. These ingredients are mixed together and tossed with a salty fish sauce and lime juice dressing that contrasts well with the sweet nature of the mangoes. This salad may be served as a side dish, or combined with chopped meat for use as a main meal.

Mango is a popular tropical fruit.
Mango is a popular tropical fruit.

This dish combines sweet, spicy, and sour flavors together by using a wide variety of ingredients. These different foods also lend a multitude of exciting textures to Thai mango salad. It may be served alone as an encore to a larger meal, or mixed with meat and prepared as a main course dish.

Chicken can sometimes be added to Thai mango salad.
Chicken can sometimes be added to Thai mango salad.

The base ingredients for Thai mango salad include mangoes, bean sprouts, Thai red chiles, peanuts, fish sauce, and shaved coconut. Chefs often prefer to create their own variation of this recipe based on additional foods they will be serving with the meal. As long as the core foundation of sweet and spicy flavors is maintained with an Asian theme regarding the sauce, any additional ingredients may be added.

The coconut and peanuts are typically roasted before being added to the salad. This may be accomplished by stir frying them in peanut or olive oil for several minutes in a hot wok. These foods are ready to be used once their juices begin to leech out into the pan and they release their fragrances.

The mangoes used in this salad may be ripe or unripe. Ripe mangoes tend to provide a much sweeter juice and softer flesh. Some chefs enjoy the crisp, somewhat bitter flavor found in an unripe mango, and choose only to use this type of fruit in their Thai mango salad. The fruit should be peeled and shredded before mixing with the additional ingredients.

The roasted coconut, shredded mango, bean sprouts, and chopped chilies are placed into one large mixing bowl and tossed together. The dressing used to coat the salad is typically a mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and chili sauce. These ingredients may be blended immediately prior to adding to the primary mixing bowl, and stirred so that all foods are evenly coated.

Cooked, chilled shrimp, cubed chicken, or fried tofu may be added to the salad with the dressing mixture. These foods add protein to the dish and make it suitable for serving as a main encore. It is often layered over plain white rice and garnished with cilantro and the roasted peanuts.

Peanuts are often roasted and added to a Thai mango salad.
Peanuts are often roasted and added to a Thai mango salad.

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