Story originally published 2008.
What’s it like to eat a green mango? In our kitchen there are three ways to eat a mango. The first , is waiting for it’s flesh to become slippery soft, sweet and ripe. The second ,is it eating it while it’s still a little green, raw, firm and sweet/tart like. Then there’s the third way that makes us salivate crazily – really, really, raw. We mean raw to the point that when the green mango is plucked straight from the tree, it’s interiors are still white and slightly green. We’re talking sour, tart, crispy and pungent with the aroma of crushed mango leaves. The sour, fragrant scent of the raw, green mango is addicting. It’s not easy to find a true, raw, green mango in the stores because those that are sold as “green & raw” usually have already ripened enough to where it’s lost it raw fragrance. Unless it comes straight off your tree, your neighbors or from a vendor at the farmers market still dripping with resin, everything else is just half raw (or ripe, however your perspective).
Our favorite green mango is the Manila mango. Usually slightly smaller and more flat than the common Kent mangoes found in most grocery stores, the Manila is especially fragrant when it is green. It’s still lusciously sweet when ripe, but it’s extra crispy, sour and tart when raw. Add a bowl of spicy Devil pepper salt to the platter and it’s a match made in a sour lovers heaven. The combination of salt, sour and spicy makes our eyes close shut and mouth salivate with delight. This is not a snack for the light hearted. The explosion of sour, spice and pure raw tartness can be hard on the teeth too. But, boy is it addicting.
Some Asian grocers will carry mangoes that are meant be eaten “ripe” and “green”. But for those sold and priced at “green” will usually be ripening more as it goes unsold. So if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a batch of “green” that have just been put out. For the pepper salt, almost any thai chili will work. Crush about 1 thai chili for every 2 tablespoons of sea salt. After mashing the chili in the salt, let the mixture dry out in an uncovered bowl a few hours. For added punch, add some paprika and 4 drops of fresh lime juice. Dip sliced raw mango strips in salt and enjoy!
Vietnamese Chili Salt Dip Recipe
Total Time: 1 hour
Slice up some green mangoes and dip in this salt. Our mouths water just thinking about it.
- 2 Thai Chili or any red chili pepper
- 3 Tablespoons sea salt
- sprinkle of paprika (optional)
- Crush chili in a bowl. Add sea salt and continue crushing chilis until the juices are released into the salt. The more you crush, the more heat you add to the mixture, so beware! For a more smoky flavor sprinkle in some paprika. Let the chili juices dry out in the salt mixture for about 1 hour.
- Use as a dipping condiment for green mangoes or in any recipe to enhance it with salt and spicy flavors.
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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.