Excited by her creation, I dove in and added my own twist. I really enjoyed the tartness of green mangos and wanted to balance it with some sweetness, so I used meyer lemons. I commissioned my sister to squeeze them for me b/c we plan on making some lemonade later this week. Along with meyers, I payed homage to my Laotian roots and sprinkled in some toasted sticky rice powder which really added another layer of flavor to the dish. But the secret in this entire salad is really the fact that my friend and I use a mandolin to form matchsticks out of the mango. Slicing it this way keeps it from getting soggy and retains the natural crispness of the mango's flesh.
And of course, what Southeast Asian dish would be complete without a splash of fish sauce? Not in my house! You may notice that I do use fish sauce quite a bit in my recipes. Well, let's just put it this way. Fish sauce to me is like butter to Paula Dean..yeah, downright inseparable! I noticed on an episode of Food Network's show, Chopped, that some of the chefs cringed at the seemingly unsightly and un-American use of fish sauce in their dishes. I felt like hurling my bottle of fish sauce at them for displaying such ignorance. Seriously? But of course, being the passive aggressive viewer that I am, I opted to blog about my objection and hopefully encourage each of you to stay true to your own roots and flavors and add a splash of spice to your life. After all, what's the point of cooking when you can't cook it the way our mommas (and or pappas) taught us, right? Okay, now somebody pass me my fish sauce, I got some cooking to do.
BTW: If you're still skeptical about the use of fish sauce, one of my favorite food blogger couples: White on Rice does a fine job of extolling its merits while presenting a lovely recipe for their Umami Burgers.
Instructions: Combine the freshness and drizzle on the juiciness, toss gently and you're all set!
1 large green, unripe mango, sliced into matchsticks*
*I used a mandolin to slice mine. So much easier and much faster.
1/2 cup, meyer lemon juice (add a bit more if your pucker level desires)
2 tsp, toasted rice power (see recipe below)
3 packets of Stevia OR 1 tsp of sugar
2 tsp, fish sauce
3 sprigs of Vietnamese coriander, finely chopped*
1 spring of culantro, finely chopped*
*If you can't find these herbs nearby, you may also substitute with fresh mint