Mango Island/Hawaiian (but not really) Salsa?
I have a confession. I am one of those people that was raised with a specific ethnic cuisine and cautious of people who weren’t raised in that tradition when they claim they know these authentic flavors. Of course I don’t actually believe that someone not Asian wont be able to make good Asian food. I’m just a bit skeptical at first which is why I don’t claim the following recipe to be authentic at all.
This is like salsa and this has flavors that remind of me things I would eat in Hawaii (sweet and savory) and using ingredients from the island. Hope you like it.
Note: This is just a base recipe. Make it one time and then adjust to your liking, ie. more spice, different vegetables, etc…
2 onions – diced
1/2 Tb of olive oil (butter or veg oil is fine) for onions
3 cloves of garlic (min), probably no more than 5 – chopped
2 Tomatoes – diced
1 Decent sized mango (not too ripe, mushy, or stringy) – cubed
2 Tb Homemade Vinaigrette Seasoning – see instructions below
– 3 Tb rice or apple cider vinegar
– 2 Tb+ sugar
– Salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
Optional ingredients based on taste preferences:
– Scotch bonnet, tobacco, or other spicy additions
Step 1: Dice and caramelize onions and garlic.
This important step takes the strong bite of the onions and gives it a sweeter flavor. Do not overlook them. You still want a crunch to them. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions after oil heats up. Stir to lightly coat the onions with the oil then let sit for about five minutes to brown. Add a pinch of salt or your favorite seasoning then stir/flip to get the other side to brown. After another five minutes, take off from the heat and add to your serving bowl. Put bowl in the fridge or freezer to cool the onions.
Step 2: Dice Tomatoes
Wash and cut the tomatoes. Important note is to put the cut pieces into a strainer to remove excess water. If you forget this your salsa will be swimming in liquid and soggy. Try to shake your tomatoes in the strainer a couple of times to remove the extra water. Add to the serving bowl with the onions.
Step 3: Cube mangos
Wash and peel the mango. Cut around the seed to produce two big halves. Cut around the seed to get some extra flesh if possible. Start with one half and make even, thin, horizontal cuts. Then cut perpendicular to your first cuts to cube. Discard mushy parts. You want the mango to be as firm as possible. Add to serving bowl that has the onions and tomatoes. Chill in fridge.
Step 4: Make vinaigrette seasoning
This vinegar mixture is very important part of Asian cuisine. It’s essentially a pickling recipe but is also the essential ingredients that you put on rice to make it sushi rice.
Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. The measurements above are guidelines, because really, you want to make this to your taste preference. What you are looking for is a balance of sugar and vinegar, with a touch of salt. If you have too much of one, compensate by adding more of the other.
For example, too much vinegar? Add more sugar
Too sweet? Add a pinch of salt first and maybe some more vinegar.
Too salty? Add a little more vinegar and more sugar.
Stir together till everything dissolves and you get a golden, slightly thicker mixture. Taste. Taste. Taste.
Note: this vinaigrette seasoning can be added to chopped cucumbers and carrots to make a great side chopped salad. Can also be added to shredded cabbage for a non mayo slaw. This flavor goes really with salted, roasted meats like jerk chicken.
Add about 2 Tb or more to your now chilled serving bowl and there you go. Eat with nachos, quesidillas, wraps, etc…