South-east Asian cooking transforms a salad from a side dish to the main event, giving a perfect opportunity to eat more fruit, veg, healthy proteins and nuts. These textures together with the taste explosion of sweet, savoury, spicy and sour dressing mean you won’t miss unrefined, fibreless carbs.
Mangoes are also rich in a protective, soluble fibre that will slow down the digestion of the entire meal. Add chicken left over from a roast for extra thrift.
Serves 2 as a main course
fine green beans a handful
peanuts a handful, toasted and crushed
red onion ½ (or whole shallot), finely sliced
cucumber a handful, finely sliced at an angle
red chilli 1, with seeds
tomatoes a handful, quartered
mint and coriander 1 tbsp of each, chopped, stalks included,
leftover roast chicken torn strips (other good options are prawns, griddled and sliced, or chicken breast)
mango 1 large, under-ripe
For the dressing (the important bit)
garlic 1 large clove
palm sugar 1 tbsp (you can substitute honey or normal sugar)
fish sauce 2 tbsp
lime 1, juiced
extra-virgin olive oil
This salad is easiest to make with a Japanese mandoline, but there are other options if you don’t have one: you could use a combination of a knife and a potato peeler or a cheap julienne peeler.
The beans will need blanching in salted boiling water for around 3-4 minutes until they are tender but retain a little bite. Drain and “refresh” by cooling with cold water – it’s nice if they are warm but not hot in the salad.
Toast the unsalted peanuts in a dry non-stick pan until they have a golden colour. Roughly crush – best done by bashing in a mortar and pestle.
Slice the onion, cucumber and chilli and quarter the tomatoes. Finely chop the herbs and include the fragrant coriander stalks as well as the leaves. Add the chicken (or prawns) and incorporate all together in a large bowl with the sliced mango, green beans and crushed, toasted peanuts.
The dressing is best made in a mortar and pestle, although you can pulse the ingredients in a blender.
Add together the dry ingredients and bash into a smooth paste – the sugar helps with abrasion. Now add the wet ingredients and stir them together.
Dress the salad and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes for the flavours to marinate. Then pile high on a large serving plate and enjoy.