I was doing a chef’s table a few months back and I wanted to include a tropical salad in the mix, so Caron suggested I do a take on ‘mango chow’ and hinted that I should add a “Canadian’ element by using some sliced strawberries in the mix. It was such a hit with the 30 + people in attendance that I’ve now made it several times.
This is an excellent salad when you’re looking for something light and refreshing… but with a slight kick from the bird’s eye pepper and fresh garlic.
2 mangoes (ripe but firm)
2 cups strawberry
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 birds eye pepper (deseed and chop fine)
black pepper (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (any salt you like)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 medium red onion
Note: If you don’t have bird’s eye pepper you can use a 1/4 of a scotch bonnet or habanero pepper and a few drops of pepper sauce (hot sauce) is also a excellent alternative. If you’re concerned about the heat you can omit the ‘pepper’ from the recipe.
Prep the fruit. Wash, peel and cube the mango. Trim (remove the stems) off the strawberries, wash, pat dry and slice into 1/4 inch pieces. Deseed the bird’s eye pepper and chop finely and remember to wash your hands with soap and water immediately handling the peppers. Then it’s just a matter slicing the red onion very thin and dicing the garlic.
All you have to do now now is assemble everything thing in a large bowl and top with the salt, black pepper, lemon (or lime) juice and toss in the chopped cilantro.
You can serve this immediately, but I find that if you leave it to marinate for about 30 minutes in the fridge (cover with plastic wrap) the flavors are more pronounced. Do remember to give it a final toss before serving. You can add your favorite (firm) fruit to the mix and cubed cucumber or pineapple works great in this salad as well.
My Trinbagonian friends will be looking at this recipe and say “lawd.. Chris fooling people with chow”. True That! But to a global audience this is a great introduction to our beloved chow (a very spicy fruit pickle which blends sour or tart flavors with herbs, citrus and heat from scotch bonnet peppers).