Like many other of my recipes, this delicious Green Mango Salad with grilled fish, garlic, holy basil and lime has an exotic story behind it. A story made of exciting travel and enriching meetings with other cultures.
It’s a story that started about three years ago, when Alec and I took a short flight from out house in Macau to the island of Phuket, Thailand, where we heard they were opening a new gorgeous resort: the Hyatt Regency Phuket. As you can read from my experience there, we had an amazing time and got to connect with awesome people.
People like Visna, a big-hearted guy who came over from the Park Hyatt in Siem Reap, where he used to work as a concierge, to help out the new Phuket property with the launch. He shared the marvels of his country with us with such enthusiasm, that we promised we would have gone there one day and see him again.
Three years later, here we are in the land of amazing green mango salads and of some of the most ancient Buddhist monuments: just like the enchanting Angkor Wat, one of the seven world wonders.
Beside being a stunning property, whose interiors merge local Cambodian Décor with the typical elegance you would expect in a five star hotel, the people at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap are just as wonderful. And, as you might expect, I got to connect especially with those who handle the food.
As I meet the Executive Chef, Pisith Theam, we bond immediately. This young chef, who looks extremely inconspicuous and down to earth, turns out to be the author of some of the best food I have ever tried during my travels. Right up there with the ones who cook for the Rosewood Cordevalle and the Anantara Mai Khao, two other big favorites of mine.
From breakfast to dinner, every single dish he delivers is exceptional. And I could sense that already from the very first night I checked in at the Park Hyatt.
I arrived late, at 11 pm, and my “plain” order of cooked vegetables surprised me like nothing before. This sweet medley of greens, carrots, and cauliflower, flavored with lemongrass, ginger, and holy basil, made me completely revisit my definition of “steamed vegetables”.
After that first encounter with Pisith’s food, he just kept on exceeding my expectations. I think I ordered his green mango salad and sea bass stir fried with yellow squash, zucchini and lemongrass every single day.
Alec went crazy about his pomelo salad with prawns, not to mention his infamous veggie and shrimp spring rolls, rolled in a buttery rice paper warp and served with a delicious tamarind and peanut dipping sauce.
And his desserts… well, those deserve to be described in a whole different chapter of wonders. Since I tried his Akor, typical Cambodian steamed rice balls I got so addicted that I had to finish every single meal with one. Or two…
Ok, maybe three ;) But I can’t wait to share the recipe with you on one of my next posts!
In the meantime, let’s start with this delicious Khmer appetizer, a refreshing Green Mango Salad that’s really representative of the Cambodian food culture.
Like Chef Pisith told me, the essence of Cambodian food lays in its “sweetness”. “We live in a tropical climate all year round, and most of the dishes that are supposed to be made with vegetables, here are made with fruit. When the fruit is green it’s used as a vegetable, when it ripens it becomes a dessert”.
I am intrigued by this concept, and the Chef is happy to share more: “Take palm fruit for example: when young, it’s used to make curries or sour soups. Winter melon, when young, is used in a savory soup or it’s fried; green papaya is used in a cold fish salad. Some of our savory dishes have actual vegetables in them, like spinach and herbs, but most of them are made with fruit!”
So let’s get to the recipe for this amazing Green Mango Salad and let’s have some fruit as vegetables!!
- For the Green Mango Salad:
- 160 gr Grilled White Fish Fillet of choice
- 1 pinch of Salt
- 1 pinch of Pepper
- 160 gr Green Mango, julienned
- 60 gr Carrot, julienned
- 20 gr Roasted Cashews
- 80 ml Khmer Dressing (see below)
- 10 gr Basil
- For the Khmer Dressing:
- 50 gr Palm Sugar
- 20 ml Gluten Free Fish sauce
- 16 ml Lime juice
- 40 ml Water
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 pinch Pepper
- Season your fish fillets with salt and pepper, grill them until cooked and slice them.
- Clean, peel and julienne carrot and mango; thinly cut the basil.
- Prepare the Khmer dressing by cooking palm sugar and water until they get to a boil. Take off the stove and mix with fish sauce, salt, pepper and lime juice.
- To assemble the salad, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss it very well seasoning it with the dressing, herbs and roasted peanuts.
- Serve in a bowl and enjoy!
If you enjoyed this delicious Cambodian green mango salad, make sure to subscribe to the site, and stay tuned for more, since I am going to share with you the exclusive Park Hyatt’s recipe for two other typical Khmer dishes: the sweet Akor and the mouthwatering Rice Noodle Curry Soup called Nom Ban Chok.
In the meantime, pin the Pinterest infographic you find at the bottom of this page on your favorite board and I will catch you on Instagram!!