Without a doubt one of the best salads I’ve eaten, this savory Thai salad combines all the elements of sweet, savory & sour we’ve come to know & love of Thai cuisine. This bold, flavorful Mango, Grapefruit & Toasted Coconut Salad epitomizes everything I love about vibrant Thai food. It was one of the recipes chosen by a member of the Indy cookbook club to make at a recent gathering.
The inspiration for this recipe came from the cookbook ‘Night + Market’ – Thai recipes from a LA based Thai native chef & owner of two Thai restaurants. His gritty, street style of recipes appealed to me. Big, bold flavors with no apologies.
And as with so many Thai recipes, this salad has handfuls of fresh herbs – mint & cilantro.
But really, the best part of the salad are the toppings – toasted coconut, peanuts & crunchy fried onions. The salad is luscious with mango, dragonfruit & grapefruit. All soft, sweet & perfectly balanced against the acidity from the limes & saltiness of the fish sauce. Texture is paramount. Having the three different toppings of peanuts, toasted coconut & the fried onions adds the crunch needed & puts this salad over the top.
As I mentioned, one of the girls from our cookbook club made this salad when we got together recently. We cooked from the ‘Night + Market’ cookbook & this was my favorite recipe so I had to share it with you all. Traditionally the recipe uses pomelos – grapefruit’s giant cousin, but I added ruby red grapefruit instead because of their color, sweetness & juiciness. Dragonfruit looks pretty & acts like a sponge, soaking up all the flavors. And mango is flavor & succulent, suited to almost any recipe. With everything combined this is one of the best savory salads you’ll try. Serve it with coconut rice & Condensed Milk Pork & Cucumber Salad, also from Night + Market cookbook. Or, just enjoy it on its own, maybe with steamed rice & an Asian beer.
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons palm or brown sugar
- 2 small green or red chilies, thinly sliced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 ruby red grapefruit, peeled & segmented
- 2 ripe dragon fruit
- 2 ripe mangoes
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves & stems
- a handful of mint leaves
- 1/3 cup fried onions
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- In a medium, dry frying pan, toast the coconut for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk juice, fish sauce, sugar, chili & garlic together in a medium sized bowl. Add the grapefruit.
- To prepare the dragon fruit, cut the fruit in half lengthways. Use a large serving spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin, just as you would with an avocado. Then slice each half & add to the grapefruit.
- Remove the cheeks from each mango. Scoop out the flesh (just as you did with the dragon fruit) & slice. Peel & slice what you can from the remainder of the mangos. Add mango to the salad.
- Add cilantro & mint leaves; gently fold all the ingredients together.
- To serve: spoon the salad a serving bowl. Serve with the coconut, fried onions & peanut garnishes.