Green unripe mango and papaya are used to spectacular effect all over Southeast Asia. They are used like a vegetable, providing a crisp sour quality. If they are not available, use a combination of shredded cucumber, crisp lettuce, and some crisp, tart apple cut into thin slices. Variations of this salad are available from all manner of stalls and cafés in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Northern Malaysia, and Singapore. You can also make it with prawns, scallops, or grilled white fish, or perhaps pork, beef, or chicken instead.
– ½lb (225g) baby squid, cleaned and cut in half lengthwise.
– 2 unripe green mangoes.
– 1 green unripe papaya.
– 1in (2.5cm) piece of fresh ginger.
– 5 lime leaves (if not available, use finely.
– grated zest of 3 limes), thinly sliced.
– 4 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced.
– 2 fresh green jalapeño or serrano chilies, seeded and finely sliced.
– 2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer leaves discarded, thinly sliced.
– 20 fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped.
– handful of fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped.
– 1⁄3 cup blanched peanuts, cashews, or sesame seeds (or a combination of all three), dry-roasted until golden.
– salt and freshly ground black pepper.
– For the dressing.
– 1 tbsp tamarind paste.
– 2 tbsp Asian fish sauce.
– 1 tbsp soy sauce.
– juice of 2 limes.
– juice of 1 orange.
– 1 tsp palm sugar or granulated sugar.
Step 2: Peel the green mango and papaya. Still using a vegetable peeler, shave slices of the flesh, stack in piles of 5 shavings, and slice thinly, resulting in matchstick-size pieces. Put the mango, papaya, and squid in a large bowl. Slice the ginger into thin shavings, then cut into matchsticks. Add the ginger, lime leaf, scallions, chilies, and lemongrass to the bowl with the squid. Sprinkle in twothirds of the mint, cilantro, and roasted nuts. Toss through.
Step 3: Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the salad, tossing gently to mix. Check the seasoning—it should be sour and hot, slightly salty, and sweet. Serve sprinkled with the remaining mint, cilantro, and roasted nuts.