I know that not everyone is comfortable with fruit in salads. It's one thing to slip some dried fruit into the rice or couscous and perhaps not too far a stretch to pair a fig or quince with some fancy cheese, but these practices can progress to introducing apples, citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries and even watermelon to the dinner table. Salad-wise, the syrupy sweet mango is surely the final frontier.
I have crossed that frontier. I have mixed mango with avocado, cucumber, herbs, sprouts and coconut in a sub-tropical wrap published in Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day. And I'll do it again and again, for as long as I can access mangos and creamed coconut.
I picked up this little box of creamed coconut last year for a couple of dollars at an Indian grocery, with little idea of what to do with it. It's a thick, fatty paste that I gather is generally used to make curries, soups and South-east Asian desserts creamier; Steen and Noyes repurpose it for condiments and vegan cheese in their sandwich book. In this wrap they set the savoury tone by adding onion, garlic, chilli and ginger to their creamy coconut spread.
There's lot of the spread left after all the wrapping's done. It sets to a firm, crumbly consistency in the fridge but softens down to something spreadable when it makes contact with a warm tortilla or piece of toast. I'll be taking another tip from the already-evidently-brilliant Steen and Noyes, and try melting some more of it over steamed rice.
Mango basil wraps
(very slightly adapted from Celine Steen & Tamasin Noyes'
Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day)
200g creamed coconut
1 cup warm water
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 flour tortillas
1 cucumber, sliced into thin circles
1 large mango, sliced into cubes
2 avocados, sliced into cubes
24 fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
60g sprouts of your choice
To make the spread, blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth. Refrigerate the spread for at least 2 hours, until firm.
Heat up the tortillas in a frypan until they're warm and pliable. Spread 2 tablespoons of the coconut spread over the centre of each tortilla, then stack up the cucumber, mango, avocado, basil, coriander and sprouts. Wrap up the tortillas tightly and eat them immediately.