Yield
4 to 6 servings
Time
20 minutes; overnight refrigerator time for the mango and jicama to marinate and create their own dressing prep, 20 minutes active total

Crisp jicama and unripe mango with hot chile and lime are naturals together. And in a salad they refresh like nothing else.

Here they were originally Mexican drink snacks -- cut in long sticks, rolled in lime, hot chile and salt. Their leftovers went into the fridge and a couple of days later their juices had collected at the bottom of the container into what could become a great tasting dressing -- tart-salty-sweet and hot -- practically dictating an Asian salad. With my everlasting love of the rice noodle, and being fed up with winter, this dish fell into place.

The salad can wait in the fridge for several hours. Add the mint just before serving.

Ingredients

Jicama and Mango Sticks:

  • 1 medium jicama, peeled and cut into 3 to 4 inch sticks about ½-inch thick, then cut into 1-inch long pieces
  • 1 large unripe mango, peeled with a vegetable peeler and cut into same size pieces
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons medium hot to hot red chile powder
  • coarse salt to taste

Salad:

  • 1/3 to 1/2 pound thin rice noodles
  • 3 quarts boiling salted water in a 4-quart pot
  • 4 to 6 leaves Napa cabbage cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 bunch whole scallions (6 to 8), thin sliced on an angle
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts or cashews
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tight-packed cup fresh mint leaves, torn
  • about 2 cups cooked poultry, seafood, tofu or tempeh (optional)
Instructions

1. A day or two before serving toss together the jicama, mango, lime juice, chile and salt to taste. Put in a container, cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours.

2. When ready to do the salad, turn the jicama and mango and their juices into a serving bowl. Drop the rice noodles into the boiling water and cook until they are just tender (about 3 minutes, but taste as you go). Drain in a colander and cool under running water. Drain away all moisture.

3. Toss the noodles and the remaining ingredients with the mango and jicama, tasting for a balance with the sugar, salt and pepper. If more lime, and/or chile are needed, add them. Fold in the mint and serve the salad.

Copyright 2012, Lynne Rossetto Kasper