I’m Asian and I grew up with one or more dipping sauces on the dining table to accompany every meal, but never have I had a dipping sauce this good. Vietnamese mixed fish sauce used to my favorite but then my daughter, Sam, asked me to make Thai mango sauce and, well, being such a mango lover, my preference has shifted.
What makes this sauce so good? The overall flavor, for starters. Together, the sweetness of the mangoes, heat from the chilies and ginger, the incomparable herby goodness of cilantro and a bit of sharpness from raw shallots are enhanced by the addition of a little fish sauce and just enough coconut milk.
And then, there’s the texture of the sauce. Thick. Naturally thick. It’s all the mangoes that go in it, you see. So, when you dip your chicken or shrimp or whatever you’re pairing the sauce with, the sauce coats the food effortlessly and clings to it relentlessly. When the food lands in your mouth, so does a generous amount of mango chili sauce.
It’s very easy to make this dipping sauce with a blender or a mini food processor. You may do it by hand, of course, but what’s the use of kitchen appliances if not to make the cook’s life easier, right?
So, cut the mangoes open, score to cut the flesh into cubes then scoop out to leave the skin behind. Dump the mangoes into a mini food processor or blender and add cilantro, ginger, shallots and chilies.
Process the ingredients together to break them up into small pieces. You can stop processing while there are still visible pieces of mango or you can puree until the mixture is super smooth.
Then, you add fish sauce to balance the flavors. This is a savory sauce, after all, and not garnish for dessert. So, you want a little saltiness. Then, stir in coconut milk to finish.
Thai-style mango dipping sauce
- Mini food processor
- 2 mangoes - cut into small cubes
- 2 bird's eye chilies - sliced
- 1 shallot - peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 half-inch knob ginger - peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 to 4 sprigs cilantro - stems and leaves
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce - or to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut milk
- Place all the ingredients, except the fish sauce and coconut milk, in a mini food processor (or blender).
- Process to your desired consistency (some people like ultra smooth sauce; others prefer it chunkier).
- Pour the sauce into a mixing bowl, season with fish sauce and then stir in the coconut milk.
- Serve with grilled or fried chicken, meat or seafood.