Vietnamese Green Mango Salad Recipe: Goi Xoai
Vietnamese salads are usually made with the same dressing. A blend of lime juice, garlic, sugar, red Thai chiles and fresh mint leaves bind raw vegetables into a flavorful and healthy salad course. Today, I made green mango salad, called gơi xoài xanh. I create long, thin strips of mango that I mixed with similarly sliced carrots. It makes a very tasty salad thanks to the tangy, sour and sweet flavors.
I made it vegetarian, but you could pair the raw vegetable salad with boiled, shredded chicken (gơi gà), boiled shrimp, dried shrimp (tôm khô) or fire-roasted shredded dried squid (khô mực), which is my favorite.
Yields: 6 servings2 green mangoes
6 long, thin carrots
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
juice of 4 limes (or lemons), freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons sugar cane vinegar (or more lime juice)
2 cloves pickled garlic (or fresh garlic), crushed and finely minced
2 tablespoons Vietnamese pickled shallots (see tips), thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly cracked using a mortar and pestle
2 teaspoons ponzu soy sauce, to taste
1 red Thai bird chile (optional), seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup Vietnamese mint, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro
Prepping the mangoes and carrots:
Trim the carrots on both ends. Cut the carrots, lengthwise into thin long strips. If you use the Messermeister tool (see tips), you'll get long threads of carrot. Cut into about 5-inch strips. You could also slice the vegetables with a mandoline.
Using a sharp knife, trim the end of the mangoes. Peel the mangoes and cut into long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler until you reach the stone of the fruit. You might want to cut the strips (lengthwise) if the strips are too wide, using a sharp knife.
Place the carrots, green mangoes and pickled shallots in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Drizzle with 1 tablespoons lime juice and toss well. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Salt draws out moisture from the vegetables.
Gỏi sauce (salad dressing):
In a bowl, dissolve the remaining sugar in 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature.
Add the remaining lime juice and soy sauce. Mix in the garlic and red chili pepper (if used).
Drain and discard the macerating liquid from the pickled vegetables.
Add the gỏi dressing. Toss thoroughly. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Drain and discard about half of the liquid; otherwise the salad will be too watery.
When you're ready to serve, add the chopped cilantro and mint. Toss well. Season with more soy sauce (if needed) and sprinkle with freshly cracked white pepper.
Vietnamese mint has a very different flavor from regular mint. It also has darker vein markings on the leaves. It's commonly used in Asian salads, Vietnamese chicken salad and also in spring rolls (gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese).
To prevent the mint from bruising and darkening, tear the leaves with your fingers the very last minute, toss it into the salad and serve immediately.
You could also replace the juice of 4 limes with ½ cup of sugar cane vinegar (or any other white vinegar).
You can use fresh garlic instead of the pickled garlic but the garlic flavor is going to be a lot stronger. You can find pickled garlic in any Asian store.
You can find pickled shallots, more precisely they are the white (root) onions from Asian green onions. Just drain the brine from the shallots and thinly slice them. They're sold in small cans. The Vietnamese name is củ kiệu. They're delicious as a snack.
I've been addicted to Messermeister vegetable peeler. I think it's the best utensil for cutting vegetables into long , thin strips.
I used Top Cut carrots. They're long with a thin diameter. The flesh is bright orange and they taste very sweet.
How to choose green mangoes (Tommy Atkins green mangoes, usually from the Philippines)? They are small and oblong shaped. When picking mangoes at the store, choose one with green-colored skin and small bits of red. Gently squeeze the mango, it should feel very firm. The flesh should be light yellow-ish orange. Use it immediately and don't let it ripen too long in your kitchen; otherwise the texture of the mango will be difficult to cut into thin strips.
If you want to make it with dried shrimp (tôm khô) or dried squid (khô mực). You can find them in any Asian market. They add a unique salty taste to the salad. These ingredients are very common in Vietnamese cuisine. Simply dry-toast the dried shrimp or if you serve khô mực, warm it on a griddle pan over the stove using chopsticks or tongs until the squid is slightly charred. Let it cool for about 30 seconds, then tear it into thin strips. I love it as a snack too!
May 18, 2011.
Dried shrimp (tôm khô in Vietnamese).