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Thailand’s Mango mania

GOOD FOOD   |     29 Jan 2018   |   0  |  
Asia’s sweet, fruity favourites are used in array of delectable Thai dishes

 

Fresh Thai mangoes are bursting with fruit flavour

Mango is, without question, one of Thailand’s finest fruits. Loved by visitors and locals alike, this sumptuously sweet fruit is used in an array of traditional Thai dishes, both savoury and sweet.

In addition to being jaw-droppingly tasty, this bright orange marvel comes with an array of health benefits, too. Whether you want to consume it in a smoothie, as a dessert or even within a spicy salad, there’s a Thai mango dish out there for you – either raw or cooked.

We take a closer look at some of the Kingdom’s best-loved mango dishes and investigate why this fantastic fruit forms such a tasty complement to a vast range of local creations.

Classic combination

This classic Thai dessert is a favourite amongst international visitors

The quintessential Thai dessert, mango sticky rice, is at the top of most visitors’ must-try list when they are on the hunt for sweet treats in the Kingdom. Fresh mango is peeled and laid atop a small bed of glutinous sticky rice, before being drizzled with sweet coconut cream syrup.

Served everywhere from high-end eateries to street food stalls and markets, this is a simple but delicious desert that satisfies every time. The fresh flavour of the fruit bursts through the sweet layer of the glutinous rice with every mouthful, leaving you craving more with every bite. Many street food vendors specialise in this dish, and there are a number of different variations when it comes to the kind of rice that’s used. Black, purple and green rice can be added, giving it an extra pop of colour to complement the golden hue of the fruit.

Savoury treat

Yam Pla Dook Foo contains fresh green mango

If you are more of a savoury person, but are still keen to sample the best of Thailand’s mango dishes, then be sure to sample yam pla dook foo. In English, this dish roughly translates to ‘fried catfish with mango salad’. The catfish is fried in miniscule pieces, which are then moulded together in the pan until each delicious nugget forms a miniature, crispy fish cake. Once the pieces are golden, they’re drained and added to the jewel in this dish’s crown – the green mango salad.

All of the traditional Thai flavours – sweet, sour, salty and spicy – come into play within this fantastic green concoction. Green mango – which has a sour taste compared to the fabulously sweet taste of a yellow mango – is finely shredded and mixed with a sublime dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce, chillies and sugar. The mango mixture is then embellished with shallots, peanuts, mint and coriander to form the perfect snack.

Fabulous flavours

Mango infused chicken is a favourite al fresco feast prepared on the barbecue

This is not a dish that you’ll find on the menu at most of Thailand’s restaurants. However, it’s packed with explosive Thai flavours and there’s no reason why you can’t ask your villa’s chef to prepare and grill it for you on the barbecue. Thai mango grilled chicken is perfect for an al fresco lunch overlooking the ocean, accompanied by generous helpings of spicy som tam salad.

For the marinade, you need mangos, fish sauce, Thai sweet chilli sauce, garlic, brown sugar, coconut milk and lime juice. All of these ingredients are whizzed up in a blender before being poured generously over chicken wings or thighs. The meat can be marinated for up to 24 hours – the longer the better, so the flavours can really sink in. To cook the chicken, a little oil is brushed across the wings and its grilled on the barbecue. Any mango sauce that you didn’t use for the marinade can be heated up and used as a delectable dipping sauce to accompany the meal.

Sweet sensation

 

This tasty dessert contains fresh mango, coconut milk and tapioca balls

For sweet lovers keen to branch out from mango sticky rice, this creamy tapioca pudding packs just as powerful a punch when it comes to flavour. Light and refreshing, the natural juices of mango, pineapple and coconut all shine through beautifully.

To make the sauce, milk, coconut milk and vanilla are combined in a saucepan and brought to a gentle simmer. The tapioca is then stirred in and left to cook on a low heat for approximately 30 minutes, until soft. Next, pineapple and apple juice are boiled in a separate pan over a medium to high heat, and vanilla seeds are added. This pan should be left on the heat until the mixture is thick and syrupy, at which point it should be left to chill. Once it’s done, the tapioca component of the pudding should be left to chill for at least three hours. To serve, chopped pieces of mango are folded into the pineapple sauce and poured on top of the tapioca mix. If you don’t fancy having a go at this recipe yourself, your villa’s on-site chef should be able to whip it up in no time.

Eating light

 

The freshly blended flesh of a ripe mango is a classic smoothie ingredient

For some people, the sensationally sweet flavour of mango is best enjoyed on its own. Even if you can’t be bothered to prepare the fruit yourself (as it can get sticky if you don’t know what you’re doing!), you’ll notice countless Thai street vendors wielding machetes and chopping chunks of the fruit into tiny takeaway bags. Many people also choose to have mangoes added to their morning smoothie. With some sliced banana, passion fruit and a dash of coconut milk, this is a healthy morning breakfast that is guaranteed to keep you going for house.

 
 
Healthy and delicious

Mangoes come with a long list of fabulous health benefits

In addition to tasting fantastic, mangoes come with a plethora of health benefits thanks to an impressive content of vitamins and minerals. As well as being rich in potassium and magnesium, they’re also a good source of selenium, calcium iron and phosphorus. They also have high amounts of pectin, a dietary fibre that helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood. The high vitamin E content within mangoes is also thought to boost sex hormones.

TIPS

There are a number of places to indulge in the many fantastic flavours and forms of mango in Thailand – we’ve rounded up a few of our favourites:

  • Stopping off at a street food stall and tucking into a small bag of freshly cut mango is one of Thailand’s simple culinary highlights. Fresh fruit on the go is nourishing, hydrating and tastes delicious.
  • If you’re staying at a private villa; simply ask the chef to whip up a few of the mango masterpieces listed above.
  • During mango season, some cafes and ice cream parlours have special sections of the menu dedicated to this fantastic fruit, form mango ice cream to creamy mango pudding and even mango sprinkles.