Like most people of East-Asian descent I am a sucker for Thai food. Thai food in my mind is what would happen if Indian and Chinese cuisine had a love child. It is sweet and sour, hot and spicy but can also equally be calm and soothing. Thai Green Papaya salad is somewhat of a standard and one that we have enjoyed many times. However, mangoes are in season and so when I chanced upon this recipe on About.com I had to try it. Needless to say, the recipe below is somewhat different from what I found. It is pretty quick and easy to make and it has the wife’s seal of approval – “You got the balance right this time Bozo”, was the complement received by yours truly.
INGREDIENTS (Enough for two adult sized portions for a main meal)
1 green mango -peeled and shredded
2 green onions – White part sliced, green part chopped into 1/2 inch lengths
1 cup of bean sprouts – I used Mung beans
1 cup of protein – I used 8 oz of compressed, marinated tofu cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Meat eaters can use cooked and diced beef, chicken etc.
1/2 medium tomato – deseeded and sliced into long thin strips
2 Tbsp cilantro – washed and chopped
1/4 cup Thai basil (from my herb garden. Yippee! finally got to use some) – chopped
1/2 cup dry roasted no-salt added peanuts
1/4 cup dried coconut – dry roasted till golden
FOR THE DRESSING
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce (or 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce and 1 Tbsp Soy Seasoning Sauce)
Juice of 1 large lime
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Sriracha sauce (aka Rooster sauce – hot sauce) NOTE – See my rooster sauce story at the bottom.
1. Couldn’t be simpler. Mix all the ingredients of the dressing together. If it is not sweet enough add more brown sugar, if you need more tang – add lime, more heat – the hot sauce and more salt – the soy sauce. TIP: The flavors should be more intense than you like because when you mix it in with the other ingredients the intensity will wane.
2. OPTIONAL STEP – Much as I like tofu, I find it flavor-challenged. So to help it along I marinated it with a tsp of minced garlic, some rice vinegar and soy sauce for 30 minutes and then pan fried it with a drizzle of oil. This is optional, if you like your tofu plain, you can skip this step.
3. In a large bowl mix the green mango shreds, tomato, green onions, sprouts, tofu and basil.
4. Add the dressing and toss.
5. Top with the shredded coconut, peanuts and cilantro and you are done.
MY SRIRACHA SAUCE STORY
I love the Huy Fong Sriracha sauce, an entirely American invention (read the story about the sauce at NY Times. It is fascinating). This sauce aka the “Rooster Sauce” (because of the picture of a rooster on the bottle) is a staple in our pantry and is a fine dining accompaniment to just about every cuisine one can throw at it. About four years back we had moved to Sydney, Australia for a work stint where much to my dismay I could not find the Rooster Sauce in grocery stores or Chinese stores near where we lived. Much as I tried there was no Rooster Sauce to be had. There were plenty of Sriracha sauces but the Rooster was proving elusive. Not to be deterred, I called and wrote to the company in California about my predicament. They responded promptly and put me in touch with their Australian distributor in Melbourne. A quick call to him pointed me in the right direction and after a quick trip to Chinatown we had a bottle of the sauce in our kitchen. The crisis had been averted.