Whenever I move to a new neighbourhood, I love checking out what it offers in terms of restaurants, cafés and anything else edible. Back when I moved into Balanstraße in Munich, a few blocks away I discovered the family-run Far East Bar & Lounge
, offering delicious Vietnamese cuisine. Soon enough I turned into a frequent customer, one of my favourite dishes becoming Xoai, the mango salad with onion and fresh herbs.
In the meantime, I have moved to Brisbane. A few weeks ago that salad popped back into my mind, so I figured I’d give my own version of it a try, enhanced with a few extras and with a dressing I’ve made up, since I don’t remember all the ingredients of the original.
It’s a delicious, sweet-sour-hot-salty salad for hot summer days and tastes great with a glass of chilled white wine. It can easily be converted into a vegetarian dish by leaving out the beef. If anyone attempts this with tofu, let me know how it turned out! 🙂
Preparation is super easy and takes about 30 minutes, so let’s get started…
For efficient time management, start by filling a 1 litre pot with water and placing it on the stove to make it boil. Once the water is hot, turn off the stove and throw in your rice noodles. Check the package prior for the time they need to soak, mine require 20 minutes – ideally, set a timer so you don’t forget to get them out.
While the noodles are soaking, chop the coriander bunch coarsely, only keeping the leaves. Cut the snow pea sprouts in three, and cut the onion half into thin wedges, the thinner, the better – I didn’t really do a good job this time, you’ll see below. 🙈
Cut the mango into two halves along the narrow side of the pit. Then cut a little grid in each half, pushing the outer side in so the cubes stick out.
If you like it hot, let’s add some fresh birdseye chillies! Cut off the stem, then cut the chillies open along the long side, cleaning out the seeds. Then cut them into thin slices. You may want to consider wearing gloves of some sort, these chillies are hot as hell. My fingertips were burning the whole next day…
Get a large bowl and start placing the different ingredients inside: coriander, snow pea sprouts, onion slices, chilli slices.
Add the mango cubes to the bowl by cutting along the inside of the peel.
Start cutting the meat into thin slices, ideally of 1-2 millimetres width. I used pre-cut beef schnitzel cuts, that I froze overnight. This way, you will actually be able to cut the super-thin slices neatly.
In a frying pan, place two tablespoons of the chilli paste, along with some of the soya bean oil it comes with. Turn up the stove to maximum heat and wait for the paste and oil to heat up, then stir in the beef slices.
Keep stirring until there is no more raw meat and meat juice starts to ooze out, take the pan off the heat.
Now start preparing the dressing. In a water glass, add three tablespoons of sesame oil, one tablespoon of fish sauce, the juice of one lemon or two limes, two cloves of garlic you’ve crushed prior, 1-2 teaspoons of sambal oelek (depending how spicy you like your food). Also add 3/4 cube of palm sugar (altenatively 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar or 1 teaspoon of brown sugar). Mix everything well with a fork.
Place the meat into the bowl along with the other ingredients. If there’s any juice left in the frying pan, pour it into your dressing and stir.
By now, your noodles should be ready as well. Drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water. Stir them a little in the colander so the water flows out completely, then place the noodles into the bowl.
Pour your dressing onto the salad and stir thoroughly. Now crush some roasted (non-salted!) peanuts and sprinkle them over your salad.
Done! Aaand as the Bavarians would say: An Guadn! 🙂