Friday, December 13, 2013
Everywhere I look everyone's getting into the Christmas spirit, the trees are up, tinsel is scattered throughout every building, there's spiced cookies here, eggnog and Christmas cake there, Santa sitting waiting for photos to be taken in the malls and super excited kids everywhere I turn. I've never been crazy big into the whole palaver that goes with Christmas. I love spending time with family, that's a given, but it's never been the whole traditional thing around our house and I really don't feel 99% of the kids I know need anymore toys, or stuff in general. So one could say that I'm just a teeny bit excited that this year we are going to completely miss out on the whole shebang that is Christmas, cause... we're going to Vietnam on Monday! While most people are looking forward to pigging out on trifle, pavlova and berries, me- I'm just hanging out for banh xeo and rice paper rolls!
Taking the kids to Vietnam is something we've been promising them their whole lives and for the past 3 years we've also been promising their great-grandmother, who just casually celebrated her 100th birthday over in Vietnam yesterday (along with my mum too, Happy Birthday mum!). She's been asking us to take the kids over to meet her for ages, but sadly the timing has just never worked out until now. The last time Si and I were in Vietnam, nearly 9 years ago, I was amazed by this beautiful little old lady who's stories were etched deeply into her face and I can only imagine what it's going to be like to see her once again.
So, I'm sorry in advance if you were looking for Christmas-y type recipes today (you can find loads of links within this post from last year, and a recipe for gluten-free spiced chocolate chunk cookies too... if you really are just looking for that kinda thing), cause all I have on my mind right now are the flavours of South East Asia! Our mangoes are growing nicely and fingers crossed the winds stay away over the next month so they all stay on the trees this year! While ours are still a little way away from eating size, I have been buying a few green mangoes at the shops lately, much to my kids delight! Green is how mangoes are sold in Vietnam, never ripe. The locals, and my children, eat them thinly sliced with either chilli salt or fish sauce mixed with a little sugar to dip into for a little snack. While the kids can't get enough of eating it this way, me, I prefer to make it into salad, a vegan variation of the traditional shredded salad of South East Asia. This style of salad is probably more commonly known using green papaya, but if you are lucky enough to get your hands on green mango, this is my favourite version hands down. I've confessed my love of this salad before, but there really is something mildly addictive about all that salty, sweet, sour and spicy that keeps me wanting for more. I can guarantee many, many bowlfuls of the stuff will be consumed over the two weeks we'll be in Vietnam!
Adios friends. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!
Much love xx Emm
p.s if you wanna see some pics from our trip, I'm sure I'll be posting a few (hundred or so) over on Instagram while we're away! Follow if you wanna have a nosey.
Recipe adapted from my green papaya salad in the archives.
vegan green mango salad
I've made this recipe per serve as my mortar and pestle is only big enough to hold 1 serving. You can double or triple the recipe if you have a really large mortar & pestle, or simply make each serving as required. The beauty of doing each serve means that you can tailor to individual tastes, adjusting chilli and adding less or more peanuts etc. Unrefined raw sugar can be used in place of palm sugar if desired and of course if you are not gluten-free, just use regular soy-sauce, opting for a light one like kikkoman though. I use a mandolin shredder, but you can also grate the mango, julienne by hand with a sharp knife or use a julienne peeler, like the one seen in this post. If you have ever had any reactions to the sap/skin/seeds of mangoes, please wear gloves when peeling and preparing the green mango. As Amanda kindly mentioned in the comments, many people come out in welts and rashes (including my daughter) if they come into contact with the skin/sap/seed.
1-2 birds eye chilli
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1-2 teaspoons finely grated pure palm sugar or brown rice syrup, to taste
1 cup finely shredded green mango
4 cherry tomatoes
4 sugar snap peas, trimmed and thinly sliced (or use lengths of green beans for a more traditional take)
1-2 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce, to taste
the juice of 1-2 limes (or lemons), to taste
sea salt, to taste
In a mortar & pestle grind together the chilli, garlic, peanuts and sugar. Add green mango, cherry tomatoes and green beans and bruise lightly with the pestle while using a spoon to scrape the sides of the mortar and mix everything. Add soy sauce and lime juice to taste. You are looking for a beautiful combination of salty, sweet and sour, so add more palm sugar, lime/lemon juice, or sea salt, as needed. Scoop out into a bowl and serve immediately.
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