the taste space

Thai Kelp Noodle Salad with Mango and Lima Beans

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on June 15, 2012

I used to want a mango tree in my backyard. Scrap that.

Now I want a mamey tree.

I ate a lot while I was in Colombia. A lot of fruit, I mean frutas. Fruit au naturel and lots of fruit as juice. Not bottled juice. Jugos naturales: fruit + water in blender and strained. Pure bliss.

I had a few foodie missions while in Colombia. I definitely succeeded in exploring the different fruits. I even tried familiar fruits in case they tasted different, fresh from the South.

I think I lost track of everything I tried.

From the more obscure, I tried: curuba, feijoa, lulo, guanabana (soursop), anon (sugar apple), pitaya (dragon fruit), zapote, mamey and mamoncillo. Passion fruit: maracuja, as well as the purple gulupa and the smaller sweet granadilla. Oh, and açai, too, in a smoothie. Apparently we missed cherimoya (custard apple) and pomarrosa. We obviously need to go back (although I think I spotted both of them at my nearby grocer for $5/lb).

Then there are ones I already knew… and was won over by the sweetness of fresh fruit. Papaya has never been so lovely. Tons of bananas. Smaller bananas, too, bananitas (or banana bocadillo). Mangoes (mainly Tommy Atkins but they had smaller ones, too). Pineapple (did you know there are red pineapples? They had pits! Yes, pineapples have pits!!). Avocados. Starfruit. Young green coconut opened for us with a machete. Strawberries, blackberries (mora), watermelons, oranges and even apples.

I remember ordering a drink at a restaurant with a new-to-me fruit: sandia. The waiter described it as a fruit with a green skin, a pink inside with black seeds. I was excited to try something new! Only to find out it was in fact… watermelon. But still, it was a tasty watermelon and the watermelon jugos naturales really hit the spot.

My favourite? Well, it is a toss up between guanabana, anon, mamey and zapote. And lulo… and granadilla. OK, I can’t pick only one. Each one different than any fruit I’d had before. I’d love to plant a tree of each one in my backyard. Sadly, I don’t live in Colombia. Who thinks I can find a mamey tree in Texas for next year? I’d rent the place in a heart beat! ;)

In any case, as much as I’d like to think it was back to normal upon my return, I really had to wean myself off the fruits. While I mostly ate them plain and in juice form in Colombia, here I’ve opted for a more filling main course salad courtesy of Ottolenghi.

Thai-inspired, the star of this dish is the creamy coconut-based dressing infused with lemongrass, Keffir lime leaves, ginger and shallots, balanced with a touch of tamarind, fresh lime juice, toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. All of the flavours are enhanced through the reduction of the coconut milk. It is probably one of the more elaborate and lengthy dressings to make, but easy none-the-less, and can be made in advance. The original recipe calls for canned coconut milk, but I opted for the coconut milk beverage (great idea from my spicy coconut-braised collards) instead which still produced a lighter dressing after the reduction.

Here, the dressing is used to bathe a kelp noodle salad with chopped mango, cucumber, lima beans (I used smaller Jackson Wonder lima beans) along with mint, cilantro and cashews. Add the dressing just prior to serving. The flavourful dressing worked well with the contrasting sweet mango, creamy beans and crunchy cucumber. Enjoy!

This is my submission to this month’s No Croutons Required featuring leafless salads, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, to this week’s Potluck Party, to Ricki’s Weekend Wellness, this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Simona, to this week’s Summer Salad Sundays and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Thai Kelp Noodle Salad with Mango and Lima Beans
Adapted from Ottolenghi via The Guardian

400ml coconut milk beverage (I used So Delicious, but you could use canned, too)
1 lemongrass stalk, pounded
6 Keffir lime leaves, divided
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, or to taste
60g shallots (2 large ones), divided
40g galangal (or ginger), peeled, divided
1/2 tsp  agave, or your choice of sweetener
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice (half a lime)
16 oz kelp noodles (or your favourite noodle – glass noodles, rice noodles or soba noodles would work well)
2 cups cooked lima beans (I used Jackson Wonder Beans)
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped (400g)
1/2 cucumber, chopped (200g)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cashew nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. To make the dressing, place the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling. Add the lemongrass, 4 Keffir lime leaves, chili flakes, half of the shallots, half of the galangal (thinly sliced). Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until it has reduced by more than half.  Let cool then strain into a small bowl. Discard the bits (or eat them, they are very tasty!). Combine with the agave, tamarind, sesame oil and soy sauce. The dressing should be refrigerated until the salad is to be served.

2. Meanwhile, prepare your noodles. For kelp noodles, just rinse and drain. Combine with beans, mango, cucumber, cilantro, mint and salt. Thinly slice the 2 remaining lime leaves, grate the remaining galangal, thinly slice the shallots and add to the salad. Toss to combine.

3. Just prior to serving, add the dressing (you may not need all of it), sprinkle with lime juice and scatter cashews overtop. Season to taste.

Serves 4.

29 Responses

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  1. Erica said, on June 15, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    That looks fabulous!

  2. sprint2thetable said, on June 15, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    I loved all of the fruit and jugos naturales in Chile too. My favorite was lucuma.

    This looks fantastic – I’m always looking for new ways to use kelp noodles!

  3. Eileen said, on June 15, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    I’ve never even heard of kelp noodles–guess I need to pay a visit to my local Asian grocery, huh? Regardless, this looks like an amazing combination.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 15, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      Hey Eileen, Any noodle would work for this. Ottolenghi originally suggested soba noodles, I think. Kelp noodles are one of those hard-to-find commodities that you’ll likely find at a health food store, though.

  4. Dawn said, on June 15, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Oh wow….I so wish we lived closer so I could stop by for dinner. What an amazing food adventure you had in Columbia!

  5. Joanne said, on June 15, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Another ottolenghi masterpiece! Why am I not surprised. I would be so happy to try all those fruits! I feel so deprived here in NYC now…

  6. Genevieve said, on June 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Wow, you tried so many interesting fruits! I think I’ve only ever tried two of those…and I would never be able to remember all their names or be able to identify them again! That salad sounds so flavourful too…that dressing would be amazing with all those Thai ingredients!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      Genevieve, I will admit that we wrote down the names of the fruits.. and if we bought them at the supermarket, we took photos of the bill to help jog our memories! The fruits were so foreign to me! But a wonderful fruit adventure, for sure. :)

      • Genevieve said, on June 19, 2012 at 7:30 PM

        That’s a smart idea – especially if you want to remember the ones you liked to try to find them again. It also helps that the people selling them know what they are…the last unidentified fruit I bought from my local supermarket turned out to be something different from what I thought, and the store clerk wasn’t helpful at all in identifying it for me!

  7. Kahakai Kitchen said, on June 17, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    I have not yet quite fallen in love with the texture of kelp noodles but this colorful salad makes me want to try again. I think I could also just drink the dressing on its own too. ;-) Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays.

  8. […] I loved my foodie adventures in Colombia, eating away from home had me craving some serious salads upon my return. And a bath, a […]

  9. Debbie Plaistowe said, on June 22, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    Yummy! Love the flavors in this salad. I’ve heard of kelp noodles but never tried them. Must look out for them! Thanks for sharing this with Summer Salad Sundays, look forward to seeing you again soon.

  10. Simona said, on June 22, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    I bought a mamey when I was in Hawaii in early January, but it was not yet ripe by the time we left and I couldn’t bring it with me, so I still don’t know what it tastes like :( I have to look for kelp noodles: they sound interesting. This looks like a very nice noodle salad: thank you for contributing it to Presto Pasta Nights.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 22, 2012 at 7:56 AM

      We bought some of our fruits too ripe as well, so it was torture while we had to travel with them and work hard not to crush some of them… I think we tried eating the feijoa twice and even the second time it was still not ripe. Alas, all the more reason to travel back down to the South again, I suppose. ;)

  11. Debbie Plaistowe said, on June 22, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    I have chosen to feature your salad this week! I have tweeted it, pinned it and shared it on my Facebook page. It will be featured on Summer Salad Sundays this coming Sunday. Thanks for linking up and I hope to see you again soon!

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  14. […] of my foodie goals in Colombia was to munch my way through quinoa and maybe bring some cheap quinoa back home with […]

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  18. […] you do a double-take when you saw my Thai Noodle Salad with Mango and Lima Beans? It had some exotic ingredients: Kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots, tamarind, […]

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  23. Katherine Natalia @ Green Thickies said, on April 17, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Wow, what an adventure with fruit. I would just love to try all those different types of fruit. It is my dream to travel more and grow my own fruit somewhere with a better climate. All our fruit is imported and it’s so tasteless most of it and all looks exactly the same size and shape, very plastic. I always thought fruit shouldn’t taste like this, and who would need to eat unhealthy desserts if you had all those different types of fruit on offer. What took you to Columbia? Sounds very interesting!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      Fresh fruit is nature’s present. When I went to Iceland, I was appalled by their fruit – it was not even comparable to what we get. I prefer local, seasonal fruit when available.. I have only tried the unique Colombian fruits here as frozen purees.


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