The chopping part of this process went on for much longer than this video shows. You need to hack the mango a lot before you can slice it vertically to get the julienne pieces. The mango must be very hard and underripe, or it will be impossible to slice in this way.
I picked up this trick not from an auntie or friend, no: in Tranh Anh Hung’s film, the Scent of Green Papaya, the serving girl protagonist’s job is to slice up a green papaya with a machete for the family she works for. The Papayas grow in the family courtyard, and it’s a task we see her performing regularly as a young girl and an adult. When Lily from Longdan supermarket gave me this recipe, she told me she thought mango was better than papaya, being both cheaper and sweeter!
NB: Feats like these are for show-offs and cheap-skates. When in doubt, use a proper Julienne Shredder or a grater. Don’t chop off your fingers.
I’ve never seen a wooden table so yellow it matched the flesh of a mango. Even the mango’s yellowness seems to have been enhanced. As well as crucial flavour, bright green mint and coriander give the yellow salad some much needed colour contrast.
These were the last food pictures I took before retrieving my better camera. Expect new food photos to be truer to original colours! This lovely salad recipe was given to me by Lili at Longdan Supermarket on the Hackney Road in Shoreditch, who is involved in designing the new restaurant menus there. Vietnamese salads at their best are a real treat – sweet, crunchy and fresh. The trick is to make sure you’ve balanced the dipping sauce just right (I’ve had several acidic, mouth puckering accidents where I over-used lime or vinegar), and to be generous with the fresh herbs and toppings.
Recipe (serves 4 as side salad):
1 under ripe green mango, sliced into Julienne strips (See video above for how to do this with a knife). The mango must be very hard or it will not keep its texture in the salad. Luckily during winter in the UK, underripe mangos are easier to find than ripe ones!
1 small carrot, sliced into Julienne strips (or grated)
Half a small red onion cut into very thin rings and soaked in cold water for 1 minute
Half a small kohlrabi cut into thin julienne strips
10 gr chopped coriander
5 gr chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
1 tbsp crispy fried shallots
Mix together the sliced vegetables, sprinkle with the mint, coriander, chopped peanuts and crispy fried shallots.
Make a dipping sauce (the same recipe as for the pho) with garlic, lime, chilli, water, sugar and thin soy sauce. Sprinkle this over the salad and serve.