I have been a terribly slack blogger of late. I wish I could tell you that it was for very glamorous reasons, like too many early Christmas gatherings or a whirlwind holiday. Unfortunately my reasons for lack of posts are extremely unglamorous. A simple of case of too much work and too many hours being spent in the windowless rooms of a certain (non-strip club) building in King Street (although I managed to find time for a sneaky dinner at Cumulus Inc, which I promise to fill you in on soon). Anyway, the decks have finally cleared and I am doing my best to clear the back log of ‘draft entries’ before the craziness of the work related Christmas party descends.
The past few days in Melbourne have been fantastically hot and sunny. When the weather is warmer I find myself being un-characteristically healthy – I eat much healthier craving fresh, crunchy salads and swim laps at my local pool to cool down. I do drink lots of ‘refreshing G&Ts’ just to keep things at equilibrium though.
This Green Mango Salad is one of my ideal summer dinners’ – light, fresh and zesty – with the added bonus of being really easy to make. The dressing is loosely-inspired by the traditional Thai Som Tam (green papaya salad) dressing (minus the dried shrimps). You can make the meal more substantial by serving it with steamed rice; or hold the rice if you just feel like something carb-free and virtuous.
Green Mango Salad
- 2 green mangoes (you can get green mangoes from produce markets, or Asian grocers)
- 1/4 sugar loaf cabbage
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers
- 1 red onion
- 1 cup assorted Asian herbs (e.g. coriander, mint, Thai basil, Vietnamese mint)
- 2 thick porterhouse steaks
- Tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 hot red chillies (remove seeds if you don’t like spice)
- 1 tomato
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- Place the steaks on a dinner plate, dress with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cover with glad-wrap and allow to come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, peel the green mangoes and grate coarsely. Place the grated mango flesh in a large salad bowl.
- Slice the cabbage as finely as possible, in long, thin strips. Place sliced cabbage in the salad bowl.
- Peel the red onion. Cut the onion in half length-ways and thinly slice. Place onion slices in the salad bowl.
- Cut the ends of the cucumbers and cut in half length-ways. Scoop out the seeds with a tablespoon. Slice the cucumbers thinly on an angle. Place cucumber slices in the salad bowl.
- Thoroughly wash and dry the Asian herbs (I use a salad spinner – but drying with paper towel or a clean tea towel also works). Roughly chop the herbs and place in the salad bowl. At this point, cover salad bowl with glad-wrap and place in the fridge.
- Heat a fry pan on ’high heat’ on your stove top. Once the fry-pan is very hot place the steaks on the pan and fry. (As you have pre-oiled the steaks there is no need to add extra oil). Cooking time will vary on the size of your steaks and how well cooked you like your steak. For medium-rare, I cooked each 350 gram steak for 4 minutes per side.
- Once cooked, place the steaks on a separate dinner plate (or clean chopping board) and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the steaks to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the salad dressing. In a mortar and pestle heavily pound the garlic and chilli, until a smooth paste is formed. Chop the tomato in half, cut out the stem and then quarter each tomato half. Add the chopped tomato to the mortar and pestle and pound lightly – you just want to release the tomato juice, you do not want to lose the shape and texture of the tomato entirely. Add the lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce to the mortar and pestle and stir until well combined.
- Remove the salad bowl from the fridge. Toss the salad with the dressing until well combined (I just get in there with my hands for best results). Divide the dressed salad amongst 4 bowls.
- Slice the steak into thin strips, add on top of each serve of salad.
- Serve with steamed rice and a cold beer.