Green mango salad is a side dish of choice for various grilled meats in Cambodia. A seemingly simple dish, green mango salad is full of zesty, complex, fiercely bold flavors that stimulate the palette as you feast on barbecued chicken, pork, beef, and especially fish. Fish and green mango salad go particularly well together because sour ingredients (like unripened mango) bring out the best flavors in fish meat, while subduing its unpleasant odors.
Unlike sweet, floral ripe mangoes, green mangoes have a distinct sour taste and a faintly nutty flavor. Green mangoes are not a special cultivar of the fruit — they’re simply mangoes that are unripe. Green mangoes are a beloved fruit throughout South and Southeast Asia. In this part of the world, green mangoes are pickled, eaten raw, preserved as jams and chutneys, cooked in curries, and prepared as a salad.
Below, we share a Cambodian green mango salad recipe that’s made with fresh, raw green mangoes and a spicy, piquant salad dressing. This Khmer salad is perfect for a light lunch or as a refreshing side the next time you barbecue. It takes a mere 15 minutes to throw this mango salad together, and most of the ingredients are widely available in Asian supermarkets throughout the US. You may have some trouble finding unripe mangoes, but most Vietnamese, Filipino, and Indian stores should have them. (And if you’re really out of luck, tart green apples like Granny Smith make a great substitute.)
Green Mango Salad
- Papaya slicer mandolin slicer is an alternative
- Large bowl
- 3 Unripe mangoes small-medium size
- 2 tspn Fish sauce you can use soy sauce if you prefer it over fish sauce
- ½ tspn Sugar use palm sugar or brown sugar for hints of caramel in the flavor
- ½ tspn MSG
- 1 Shallots
- 5 cloves Garlic
- 3 Chili peppers (you can use red pepper flakes as an alternative). 3 chilies will provide medium heat; feel free to add more chilies to make this side dish a scorching one.
- Fresh lime juice to taste (you may want to add fresh lime juice if the green mangoes you're using have started to ripen and thus lack acidity)
- Green onion to taste
- Dried shrimp to taste
- Shrimp paste to taste
- Thai basil to taste (as a garnish)
- Wash and peel the raw mangoes, then shred them into thin strips using either a papaya slicer or a mandolin slicer and place the slices into a large bowl.
- Cut the shallot into thin slices and add to the bowl with mangoes.
- Clean and mince the garlic cloves, then add the minced garlic to the same bowl.
- Cut the chili peppers into small pieces, then add them to the bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (including any of the optional additives) to the bowl with the salad.
- Toss the salad thoroughly with your hands.
Is a green mango just an unripe mango?
Yes, a green mango is just an unripe mango — such as the one used in our green mango salad recipe above. A green mango is a regular mango — of any cultivar — that has not yet reached its ripeness. When ripe, a mango’s flesh is soft, sweet, and a deep, rich yellow. However, an unripe mango’s flesh is firm, sour, and light-green in color— in other words, perfect for a salad, less so for a dessert.
However, green mango skin is not always an indicator of green, unripe flesh underneath. Some mango cultivars (such as the US-grown Carrie and several others) have green skin that conceals soft, ripe flesh. So, unless you know which cultivar you’re buying, it’s important to feel the mango (the harder the less ripe) or ask the vendor whether their mangoes are actually unripe.
What do you eat with green mango?
What you eat with green mango depends on how you prepare the mango. If you make a green mango salad, such as the one in our recipe, you’ll find that it pairs well with barbecued chicken, pork, fish, and omelets. On the other hand, fresh green mangoes can be eaten with salty, spicy condiments as a snack. For example, in Cambodia, people eat green mangoes without preparing them or removing the skin — they simply slice them, then dip them into a chili salt paste, fermented shrimp paste, or a prahok-based dip.
What can be made from green mangoes?
There is an incredible assortment of recipes that can be made from green mangoes, and most of them originate in either Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent. Below are three examples of green mango dishes:
- Green mango salad: Salads made from green mango are a delicious side dish for various meats, and are popular in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. We’ve shared the recipe for the Cambodian mango salad above.
- Pickled green mango: Green mangoes get pickled in numerous countries, from India to the Philippines. Pickled mangoes are often served as a condiment with grilled meat, but may also be eaten on their own as a snack.
- Green mango lentil curry: Originating in India, green mango and lentil curry (also known as “Aam Dal”) is a zesty, soothing dish that’s typically served with a side of rice.
Green Mango Salad: Parting Words
We hope you’ll enjoy this scrumptious green mango salad! If you’ve made this salad already, we’d love to know what you think and what dishes you paired it with. Please let us know in the comments below!