I'm Vietnamese and I love Vietnamese food. It's my ultimate fave. I love almost all kinds of ethnic foods but even if I wasn't Vietnamese, I think it would still be my favorite. Most people who aren't Vietnamese don't have a clue about what real Vietnamese food is. People tend to think all Vietnamese food is beef noodle soup aka Pho, fried rice or spring rolls. But it's so much more than that - I can testify!
I think this dish is the epitome of why I love Vietnamese food. Our food can be so light and refreshing and often highlights seasonal ingredients. Since it's so damn hot in Southern California right now, this meal is the perfect solution to ending your day with a meal that can be made without slaving over the stove (just the grill for a few minutes).
Mango is my favorite, so it's probably obvious that I adore this green mango salad. Since the mango is green, it's not too sweet, but delightfully tangy. To freshen it all up, a bunch of fresh herbs are thrown in and the salad gets a bit of bite from some onions. The dressing adds the sweetness that is missing from the mangos and takes it to this whole other dimension. I just love this salad, simply.
Vietnamese Green Mango Salad/ Goi Xoai
Yields: 4 - 6 servings
For the salad:
3 green mangoes, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup dried shallots, fried
1/2 cup vietnamese coriander (rau ram), chopped
1/4 cup sliced onions
1/2 cup peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
20 medium shrimp, shelled and de-veined
For the sauce: (makes much more than needed for the salad)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup lime juice
In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients for the salad. To make the sauce, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry until golden. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the fish sauce, sugar. Boil until the sugar is dissolved, let cool slightly, then add the lime juice. Add more sugar if needed. Heat a grill over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with some salt, pepper and olive oil. When the grill is hot, add the shrimp and cook on both sides until done, about 3 minutes each side. When ready to eat, divide the salad among the serving dishes and top with shrimp. Drizzle each serving with 1 - 2 tsp. of the dressing.