I love these shredded salads the simple act of cutting all the vegetables very fine transforms even rather humble ingredients such as carrots and spring onions. I use a sharp knife for the onions, but a mandolin for the more sturdy vegetables.The addition of green, unripe, mango or papaya adds an exotic touch well in keeping with Thai street food. Naturally though when I went shopping for an under ripe mango the ones on offer were all meltingly soft, had I wanted a ripe one no doubt they would all have been hard…
The combination of hot and sweet is essentially Thai. I make very spicy dressing and use only use a couple of spoonfuls to dress the salad, serving the rest separately to add as you wish. If you chose the tiny Thai birdseye chillies do be warned that while they are authentic , they are extremely hot.
I hear Sainsbury’s will soon be selling fresh UK grown lime leaves. I buy mine from a local oriental shop. Frozen lime leaves keep well and defrost quickly. When using lemon grass I urge you to be wasteful, peel of all the fibrous outside leaves keeping only the very centre, you are looking for a piece of lemon grass about 3-4inches long and thiner that a fine green bean.
Don’t throw the outer leaves away, the make wonderful infusions which, when sweetened with honey, are the perfect drink to warm you on a cold morning.
You can use almost any protein with this salad I’ve chosen chicken but prawns, fineley shredded rare beef or grilled tofu would work well.
Thai Shredded Chicken and green Mango salad
I small green mango
1 medium carrot
2 spring onions
a good handful of bean sprouts
1 small red pepper
a small bunch fresh corriander
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepepr
A little oil
125ml rice vinegar
125ml white sugar
2-4 lime leaves centre stems removed
2 stem lemon grass see above for preparation
2-4 hot red chillies
1-2 large cloves garlic
Approx 4 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
juice and zest of a lime.
Begin but cutting the bottom stems of the coriander, check they are clean and put them in the goblet of a blender along with the prepared lime leaves, roughly chopped chillies, peeled garlic and the lemon grass. Whiz until the mixture is roughly chopped.
Now put a pan on to heat and when hot cook the seasoned chicken breasts for about 10 minutes each side , turning once. You want a good colour on the meat.
Meanwhile prep the salad. Shred the onions , red pepper and carrots. peel and shred the mango.
Make the dressing: to begin you will need to mix the vinegar and sugar an place this over a low heat stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Now turn up the heat and boil rapidly until the mixture has reduced and become very thick. This will take approximately 4-5 minutes.
You can see form the picture below how thick the syrup must be. Add this to the roughly chopped spices along with 3-4 tablespoons of the fish sauce and the juice and zest of the lime. Whiz until you have a smooth dressing. Slice the chicken arranging it on top of the prepared salad and spoon overt the spicy sauce.