Looking for a sensational summer salad? Look no further than Spicy Mango Shrimp Salad. Loosely based on a Thai classic, Som Tom, green papaya salad with shrimp, shifting from papaya to mango adds a layer of sweetness and acidic profile. Yet it’s still light, refreshing, and PACKED with Thai flavour.
One of the most important notes on this Spicy Mango Shrimp Salad recipe is that it’s primarily a pickled salad. It’s fantastic fresh but, for me, it gets better with time. The vinaigrette works to soften the vegetables making them malleable and tangy. The bright, slightly sour mango becomes mellow and the cucumber takes on both heat and sweetness while still maintaining good crunch and excellent nutrition. So if you have leftovers, don’t toss them out!
Try it the next day… when it’s even better!
How to Manage your Mango
Mangos are tricky little suckers! Unlike most single pit fruits, mangos have a soft, fibrous seed, making it challenging to cut. If you were dicing or cubing for mango salsa, or to top a dessert, smoothie bowl, or breakfast cereal, simply slice horizontally, use your knife to cut criss-cross on the flesh face, then turn the skin inside-out and slice off juicy mango cubes.
To cut a mango into julienne for Spicy Mango Shrimp Salad, pick a nice firm, but not too green mango. Then cut first, peel second and finally slice into the desired shape. If you peel first with your peeler, you’ll be working with a slippery, soft, round fruit that slides around on your board, makes a huge mess, and wastes a lot of fruit.
Cut it: Cut your mango lengthwise, on either side of the pit. Mango pits are flat and run vertically down the fruit from top to bottom. Cut both sides against the pit (as above) to harvest the most fruit. This will leave you with two flat, half moon-sized pieces that contain the most flesh.
Peel it: Peel those semi-round slices of mango with a large spoon. The idea here is to remove the skin without damaging the fruit, I use a large, thin-edged serving spoon and work my way around the edge of the fruit, where the flesh meats the peel. I gently work against the flesh to remove the peel while preserving as much juicy mango as possible. Alternatively, you can use a peeler at this point, but I find it often removes more mango than I’d like. I want all that fruit in my salad.
Slice it: Slice horizontally with the flat side down on your board, then across the fruit, to make thin strips. (Think onion here.) Your julienne doesn’t need to be even, or perfect – you’re cutting a half-circle into long strips. Look for consistency with regards to size, with the rest of your cuts – not perfection.
What the heck is “Fish Sauce”?
Let’s talk ingredients for a moment. Fish sauce, listed as one of the ingredients below, is a fermented Thai condiment made from fish or krill. It’s fermented for up to two years to achieve the correct flavour balance. Just like adding anchovy in a caesar dressing, the fish sauce adds a layer of flavour that truly defines Thai cuisine.
Can you leave the fish sauce out of the recipe? Yes
Will it taste as good? No. (Hey, your kitchen, your food.)
Nothing worse than a hot kitchen in the heat, particularly when the AC breaks! Summer is for fast, fresh and cold, that’s why this Mango Shrimp Salad is PERFECT summer food. Shrimp take, LITERALLY, one minute to cook.
Drop shrimp straight into boiling water. Wait one minute while they turn bright pink. Then drain and shock your shrimp in ice-cold water. Let them stand in the ice water for about 3 – 5 minutes until they’re nice and cold. Sauce and keep refrigerated until serving.
We call this flash cooking. Quick-cooking and rapid cooling.
This method of cooking will keep your shrimp tender and juicy. Use it whenever you’re loading up on cold shrimp; shrimp cocktail, shrimp poorboy sandwich or any chilled shrimp dish.
Less heat. More flavour. That’s my kind of summer!
Looking for a sensational summer salad? Look no further than Spicy Mango Shrimp Salad. It’s light, refreshing, and PACKED with big Thai flavour! How to stay cool (and drool) in the summer heat.
• 1 – 2 ripe, firm mango(s), peeled, sliced julienne
• 1 small English cucumber, seeded, sliced julienne
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced
• 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, sliced julienne • 1/3 cup snow peas, sliced julienne
• 6 – 8 large shrimp, deveined, peeled & cleaned
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil
• 1 lime, juiced
• 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
• 3 teaspoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
• 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped • 1/4 cup mint • 1/4 cup basil
• 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts or cashews, roughly chopped (optional
1. Cut mango, cucumber, green onions, red pepper, and snow peas into julienne. Reserve in large bowl.
2. Mince garlic, and ginger. In a small bowl or jar combine garlic, ginger, sesame oil, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and chili flakes (if using) stir to combine and melt the sugar. Dress fruit and vegetables with a little over half the vinaigrette, toss and reserve cold.
3. While salad chills, boil a small pot of water. Drop deveined, cleaned, and peeled shrimp straight into boiling water and remove immediately from the heat. Wait one minute while shrimp colour to a bright, opaque pink. Drain shrimp. Immediately chill in ice water bath. Let shrimp stand in ice water for 3 – 5 minutes. Drain, dry, and add shrimp into a small bowl. Dress with two tablespoons vinaigrette, toss and reserve cold until serving (1 hour is good, but overnight it even better).
4. To serve: remove mango vegetable mix and shrimp from the fridge. Let stand at room temperature for about ten minutes. Drain extra vinaigrette, leaving about half in the bottom of the bowl. Toss salad with fresh herbs. I list the herbs in 1/4 cups, but the amount is personal, to your taste. Plate salad mix, heaping it high. Top with chilled marinated shrimp, finish with chopped peanuts or cashews. And… enjoy!
Note: I’ve seen many sites that recommend peeling a mango by pressing a half-moon mango slice against the edge of a glass. Please don’t attempt that. Firm mangos are just that – firm. The pressure of the firm fruit could cause the glass to break.
So, let’s just stick to proper tools and stay safe in the kitchen, shall we?! Use a large spoon, or gently peel with a good old-fashioned peeler.
Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer, recipe blogger and Food Business Consultant. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn, ten years in catering, and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.