I love this salad. I love it any time of day and any time of year. Thai food is comfort food to me. And that’s what I need right now. I’m trying to remember that crap happens to the best of us, but that’s no reason to stop enjoying the natural gifts that we are given: like our taste buds. This one stimulates every taste bud- salty, sweet, sour. Appreciate it. Appreciate what you have and what you enjoy. This recipe makes me feel comforted, calm, full of energy, and happy that I can enjoy flavors as much as I do.
Thai Mango and Cucumber Salad is a variation of the more commonly found green papaya salad but I find that those are harder to come by here in Austin. The following recipe is exactly how I made mine, but this one isn’t an exact science. A little more spice, a little more sweetness, that’s all up to you. Just make sure to take a bite that has a morsel of every ingredient.
Mango and Cucumber Salad
1 fresh Thai chili, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon shallot or red onion, minced
1 Tablespoon palm sugar (or honey)
1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
approximately 3 Tablespoons keffir lime juice (or to taste)
2 cups mango, a bit unripe, sliced thinly or julienned
2 cups cucumber, sliced thinly or julienned
1/2 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup loosely packed mint, torn
1/2 cup peanuts, smashed and toasted lightly
2 Tablespoons dried shrimp, optional
Combine the chili, garlic, shallot, sugar, fish sauce and lime in a small bowl. Smash with the back of a spoon to let flavors in. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
Slice your mango and cucumber. I like to use a slightly unripe mango (not completely), as it’s easier to cut. Use a thin-skinned cucumber so you don’t have to bother peeling it. Combine the mango and cucumber and the dressing in your serving bowl. Tear the basil and mint leaves and throw on top, mixing ever so slightly with your hands or a fork. Add the peanuts and dried shrimp (if using) on top and serve as is. This can be room temperature or chilled. Will last in the fridge for a day or two.