Monday, 14 April 2008
Spicy Mango Salad with Prawns
Some of you may have noticed that I've taken a bit of a break from participating in the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jenn, the Leftover Queen. I decided not to participate last month since I was helping the Queen with hosting the Joust. For the March joust, I just didnt have the time and of course for February, I chose the ingredients so I stayed out of the joust.
But I'm back!
Well, not really. You see, this month, The Lovely Wife came up with a killer recipe and although I did help her a tiny little bit, all credit goes to her for this Spicy Mango Salad with Prawns.
I had actually planned on making a pastry with the ingredients chosen by last months winner - Michelle (UsVfood). I mean, Mangoes, Brown Sugar and Cardamom just sort of scream out Pastry or Dessert don't they. I have to admit though that I'm not a great fan of mango - I mean I'll eat it and sometimes I even enjoy a really good mango, but it's not the kind of fruit that really excites me. The Lovely Wife on the other hand, LOVES mangoes.
So before I made the pastry/dessert I had in my head, I ran it past her. She would after all be eating the vast majority of it. She sort of wrinkled her nose at my ideas and said that she preferred mango in it's natural form - not baked, not moussed up, not mashed, not frozen. Just plain mango.
Yeah, okay. But there's this Royal Food Joust that I have to take part in you know, and I really want to make something, and there's Tupperware as an additional prize too! Her eyes kind of glassed over at the mention of Tuppperware and there was a slight trembling of the lips just before some foam started frothing at the corner of her mouth. Okay, so I jest. I sometimes forget this is the Royal Foodie Joust and not the Royal Jest...
Anyway, she suggested a Spicy Salad along the lines of a Kerabu but using ripe mangoes, with Chilli Padi (birds eye chillies) and shallots. I suggested throwing in some prawns or maybe beef strips. It looked like we had a plan!
In Malaysia, Mangoes are in season practically the whole year round. However, you dont always have to wait for the fruit to turn yellow. A green fruit that is soft when lightly pressed signifies that the fruit is already ripe. If you wait till it gets yellow, sometimes it is too soft and mushy inside! The mangoes we bought were green but lovely and sweet!
The Ripe Mango Fruit
The Fruit skinned
The seed that remains after slicing off all its flesh.
So much for the lesson on mangoes.
This is what we came up with:
Spicy Mango Salad with Prawns
10-15 medium prawns - shelled and deveined
100 g vermicelli - softened in boiling water
8-10 Chilli Padi (birds eye chilli)
2 Red Chillies
1.5 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
3 tsp Brown Sugar
5 cardamoms - pounded
First, boil the prawns till they are a nice pink colour. Set aside.
Thinly slice the shallots, red chilli and chilli padi and place into a large salad bowl.
Pare the mango and cut into strips. Add into the salad bowl together with the prawns and strained vermicelli. Mix well, taking care not to break up the mango strips.
Make the sauce by combining the Fish sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice.
Pound the cardamom and then add into the sauce.
Let it steep for a while.
Strain the sauce into the bowl and then mix well.
And thats it!
The Cardamom lends a light taste to the sauce but more importantly, the fragrance tends to dull the smell of the fish sauce.
This is a delightful dish with a lovely complement of tastes. The sweet mango is offset by the hot and spicy chillies while the shallots lend a nice crunch. The vermicelli lends substance and texture to the mixture. You could substitute the prawns with beef or chicken or even go vegetarian and perhaps throw in some bean curd! This is perfect as a side dish and even better as a main meal!
If you like this recipe, try it out - its really delicious - but beware it is rather spicy due to the chillies!. But before that, please go over and vote for me. You see, aside from the Tupperware that the Lovely Wife wants, she has hinted that if she wins, she might wear The Apron for me - and ONLY the apron. Oh, and perhaps a smile as well!
Just to show you what Malaysian Chilli Padi (Birds Eye Chilli - although Padi is the Malay equivalent of Paddy - as in rice field) looks like. They are super hot and also available in red!
And since there are noodles in this, which sort of qualifies as Pasta, I'm also submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth - without fail every Friday and now into its second year!