While mangoes are commonly found and eaten in the Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia, it is considered an exotic fruit here in the Midwest. Many are unfamiliar with the fruit. Sometimes I get asked about how the fruit tastes or methods of preparation when I am buying mangoes at the grocery store. The mangoes that we get here are imported from South America. They are not as fragrant as the Asian varieties but I am happy to say that they are very sweet and juicy.
Today, mangoes are a major cash crop in many parts of Southeast Asia and South America. There are many varieties of mangoes sold at the markets over there. In contrast, we only get a single generic type of mango here at the grocery stores. Store bought mangoes have a predictable taste and quality but home grown ones are highly prized and shared only among friends and family. In Malaysia, it is a usual sight for small town houses to have that solitary mango tree in their yard. These trees are greatly treasured by the home owner and you can always spot a productive tree by the multitude of newspaper shrouds around the precious fruits to protect them from the pecking birds. Incidentally, the mango shoots can also be eaten as a spicy salad (pucuk ulam).
The easiest way to eat mango is just to peel it and cut the flesh into cubes or slices. A popular Thai mango dessert is to combine fresh cut mangoes with steamed glutinous rice drizzled with thick coconut cream. Pureed mangoes can also be used in cakes, cookies, tarts, and ice cream like my mango cake with cream cheese frosting, sweet rice cake with mango custard topping, sour cream cookies with mangoes and pistachios, mango egg tarts, and cantaloupe and mango sorbet. Mangoes can also be part of a dessert like rojak, or salsa, or the topic of my post today, a fusion salad.
This salad is an easy introduction for Westerners to the joys of mangoes. It uses easy to find ingredients from the local grocery store. I used turkey or any other white meat to complement the sweetness of the mangoes. Sweet peppers abundantly found at this time provide the salad with color and texture. The mint leaves gives a refreshing taste to the salad.
- 1 mango, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 8 oz (225g) cooked turkey, cubed
- 1 each red, yellow, and orange sweet pepper, sliced
- 1 tsp black sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 leaves Boston lettuce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 sprig mint leaves, thinly sliced
In an empty bottle, combine all dressing ingredients. Put the lid on and give it a good shake.
Place mango, cubed turkey, and sweet peppers in a salad bowl. Grind pepper and drizzle vinaigrette over salad ingredients. Toss to get ingredients well coated with vinaigrette.
Sprinkle sesame seeds over salad.
To serve, line a dish with lettuce leaf. Spoon salad onto lettuce and serve immediately.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!