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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Vietnamese style mango slaw

This recipe doesn’t have the purity or authenticity of my previous mango salad recipe. It is however, just as delicious. It is sweet, spicy, fresh and crunchy. While the other one works best with absolutely rock-solid mangoes, this one is for slightly riper mangoes and is substantial enough for an appetiser, potluck or part of a big meal. This salad has become one of my signature dishes. It is so simple to make but just a little bit different. It may not make a lot of sense, but personally I only buy tropical fruit in the winter - stuff that is imported all year round - so that I can stick to locally grown fruit in the summer and autumn. 

Mangoes, cashews and honey all are considered to be 'tree foods', i.e. things from trees. And while that doesn't seem especially significant to most of us, it is actually significantly important. Tree foods are a vital source of nutrition for families in the drylands of Africa. Every two minutes, a child dies from hunger and malnutrition, which kills more people every year than AIDS, TB and Malaria combined. Trees provide a direct answer to hunger, and the lifeline families so desperately need.

Trees help lift people out of extreme poverty and hunger, and protect the environment

Trees provide produce like fruits, nuts and honey, shea butter and mangoes which villagers grow to eat and to sell, paying for their children’s healthcare and education. Trees can survive drought even when other crops fail.
Trees make the land more fertile by keeping the top soil in place and putting important nutrients back into the ground. Their roots stabilise the ground preventing it from being washed away during the annual rains. Trees mean:
  • food, vitamins and nutrients all year round, even when other crops fail
  • money from selling tree products to buy food, education and health
  • health as some trees can be used in natural medicines
  • enriched soil, making the land more fertile for crops to grow
  • shade from the scorching heat for people, wildlife and for the crops
  • tools and shelter made from bark and fallen wood

With TREE AID, trees are helping people create thriving, sustainable communities in remote and isolated areas of Africa. Our approach is sustainable and cost-effective. We provide:

  • trees and seedlings to grow food, improve the environment and much more
  • training to grow and care for trees, set up tree nurseries, and earn an income sustainably
  • tools such as buckets, pestles, mortars, wheelbarrows and even bicycles!
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These are the vegetables I like with it, you could also add beansprouts, courgette, red pepper, daikon, mangetout, or whatever crunchy vegetable takes your fancy. 

Serves 6 as a side salad or small appetiser

2 mangoes – not rock solid, but not completely ripe. Peel, slice and cut into thin strips
½ white or red cabbage, shredded
2 sticks celery, finely sliced (crossways – lengthways is too stringy)
½ red onion, finely sliced
1 or 2 large carrots, julienned
2 spring onions, finely sliced duck pancake style, whites and green parts
20g fresh mint, shredded
50g fresh coriander, shredded
1 fresh red chilli, cut in half and finely sliced (take the seeds out if you don’t want it too hot)
Handful roasted, salted cashews or peanuts, roughly chopped
Handful crunchy fried onions (you can make these yourself by frying sliced shallots or smallish onions in coconut oil or veg oil with at least 1/2 tsp salt added - the salt draws the moisture out of the onions and gets them all crunchy)

For the dressing

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
A blob of coconut oil (optional)
1 - 2 tbsp lime juice
½ tbsp honey, or agave nectar
2 tsp. fish sauce (vegetarian/vegan option: 1 tbsp miso paste, or 1 tbsp rice vinegar, adjust to your taste)
1 - 2 inch square of fresh ginger, finely minced

If making the salad in advance keep the dressing, and mango separate until you are ready to serve.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

Gently toss together all of the salad ingredients and mix with the dressing. Serve with the crunchy onions scattered on the top. Eat immediately.

This Christmas, you can help families in Africa grow their own tree foods by supporting the Grow Hope appeal. TREE AID are asking people to support the appeal by fundraising or making a donation. To find out more and make a donation visit the TREE AID website.

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