Tart and sweet are tempered with salty and umami courtesy of a little fermented shrimp paste used sparingly. In fact, unless you have an ultra-sensitive nose, you probably won’t know it’s there.
The first sensation you get is the creaminess and sweetness of the coconut cream. As your teeth start to grind the green mango and fresh shallots, the tartness mixes with the sweetness, and the sharpness of the shallots jolts the taste buds.
Then, the the shrimps, peanuts, scallions, toasted coconut and fried shallots blend it, and it’s like the flavors and textures are happily dancing in perfect harmomy in your mouth.
My daughter, Alex, and I learned to make yum ma muang in Chiang Mai where we attended the most informative cooking class.
Thai green mango salad (yum ma muang)
For the dressing
- With a mortar and pestle (or a mini food processor), grind the chili and garlic with the shrimp paste.
- Scrape the ground ingredients into a bowl. Stir in the palm sugar, fish sauce and coconut cream until the sugar is dissolved.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the green mango, fresh shallots, scallions and cooked shrimps to distribute evenly.
- Stir the salad dressing before drizzling over the mango mixture. Toss well.
- Divide the salad among four bowls (or serve in a large salad bowl, if you prefer) and top with the fried shallots, peanuts and toasted coconut.