Thai Mango and Chicken Salad
Sorry about yesterday folks and that there was no post…I took a spontaneous day off. I’m not taking an extended vacation this summer, but instead taking days here and there. I’m also off today, just a little more organized, or at least enough to get a post up today. See ya Monday!
Btw, Michelle’s Indie Fixx From Across the Pond post, which was supposed to be up yesterday, will appear NEXT Thursday the 17th. xoxo – jen
I have a small confession to make. I’ve been sitting on this for a while, wondering if I would ever be able to grow strong enough to rise up and face my problem with conviction. Finally realizing that I have lived in self-imposed silence for far too long, I have made the decision to come clean. So here goes.
I am addicted to Thai food.
More specifically, I am addicted to the Thai place down the street from us, a small shack/stand that churns out incredible Thai street food. Living so close to that place has done terrible, horrible things to my inclination to cook, so easy and tempting it is to just walk around looking busy until someone mentions that it’s almost dinnertime and, hey, there don’t seem to be any dinner preparations going on right now.
Yes! You’re right! We don’t have any dinner ready? Whatever shall we do? I know…let’s order Thai food.
Sometimes we’ll be walking home from a nice long afternoon spent at the park when I’ll check my watch, notice the time, then—oh, man, what a coincidence—realize that it is nearly dinner time and, hey, look—we’re right by the Thai place! Can you believe how that worked out? Why don’t we just pick up some food while we are here?
It is not as though I don’t realize how long this little ruse of mine has been going on, and how, let’s be honest, it really isn’t fooling anyone at all. I am also aware of the fact that the only logical solution to this problem is to finally break down and just learn to make Thai food myself, the thought of which sends me into a mild panic. Why, you ask? Because, in my mind, I can’t help but wonder if I learn how to make Thai food at home, does that mean that I will never again have a reason to visit the Thai place down the street? In case my feelings about such a situation have not been made entirely clear, allow me to do the obvious and take the time to point out that I would definitely not be okay with that.
But, still, I can’t possibly go on like this. Knowing that the road to breaking my distressing addiction would need to be traversed slowly, I decided to start small and work on creating a Thai inspired dish that could be eaten in conjunction with my favorite Thai menu items, rather than in lieu of them. I thought of it as not replacing my beloved Thai food, but just introducing it to some new friends.
Working with a mango I already had on hand, along with some leftover grilled chicken, the result of my inaugural effort was a pleasant surprise. The mild sweetness of the mango is a perfect companion to the subtle spiciness of the chili, and the mint adds a refreshing undercurrent that creeps in at the end of each bite. What was most shocking to me, however, was that from start to finish, I had this tart, flavorful salad ready to go in just about 15 minutes (which is, interestingly, the same amount of time it would take me to retrieve an order of delicious Thai food from the place down the street). While I can’t say I have been broken of my Thai food habit (duck breast and lemongrass salad, I love you), I can definitely admit that my iron-strong devotion has been weakened more than I ever thought possible. Baby steps.
Thai Mango and Chicken Salad
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped into ¼-inch dice
1½ cups of shredded chicken (I managed to get this much from 1 large grilled chicken breast)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 medium jalapeno or small serrano chili, minced, seeds removed if you wish to reduce spiciness
1 shallot, finely minced
¼ cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts or roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
6-8 large lettuce leaves (I only had romaine on hand, but butter lettuce would work well here)
Combine mango and chicken in a medium bowl, then set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, chili pepper, shallot, and nuts. Add in the mint and stir quickly to combine.
Pour the dressing over the chicken and mango and toss to combine.
Set lettuce leaves on a plate, then top each one with a large scoop of mango chicken salad. Use lettuce leaves as you would a tortilla with a taco, holding each one to contain the salad as you take a bite.