Taiwan has a nickname - the kingdom of fruits, this can be proven easily especially during summer time. The mangoes from Taiwan have a much denser fragrance and the sweetness level can sometimes top watermelons!
Nearly 90% of the tourists visiting Taiwan during summer months have mango on their to-eat-list. One of the famous items made with summer time mango is mango shaved ice. Locals and visitors are all willing to stand in a line waiting for a big plate full of fresh and meaty mangoes under the scorching sun, sometimes up to one hour, it's THAT GOOD!
However, our mango is not only good for sweet treats, it can also turn into fancy appetizer or party food, let me show you how!
Grilled shrimps with mango salsa -
12 medium sized shrimps (peeled and deveined)
1 ripe mango (I used Aiwen mango, it's like the king of all mangoes)
1 skinny cucumber
1 medium shallot
1 red chili
1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro (plus a few whole leaves for garnishing)
1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning
Some olive oil
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimps. Remove and discard the dark colored sand vein in the back. I kept the head for miso soup later.
Mix one teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning with a little bit of olive oil. Add in the shrimps and gently rub the them with the marinade.
Cover with foil and let it sit in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, or just wait till the salsa is ready.
As for the salsa, chop off the stem from the red chili, remove the seeds, and finely chop the remaining. Chop and discard the very top and very bottom of the cucumber. Chop the remaining of the cucumber into small cubes. Finely chop the cilantro, we need about 1 tablespoon for this recipe. Peel and finely chop of the shallot.
Cut the mango cheeks and peel off the skin. Chop the orange meat into small cubes. The mango I got here is fairly big so just the meat from the cheeks is more than enough for about one dozen shrimps. I ate the remaining right on the spot, too good to pass.
Put all the salsa ingredients in a large bowl. Squeeze about 1/2 to 1 lime juice depending on your taste. Sprinkle some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Give the mixture a stir and see if more seasonings are needed.
Take the shrimps out from the fridge. Turn the stove to medium high heat and preheat a grill pan till very hot. Once ready, sear the shrimps about one minute or less on each side. If uncertain about when the shrimps will be ready, it'll be safer to sear one side fairly quickly then flip to the other side first. Then just pay attention to the mid section where we butterflied earlier. If the section looks about 95% cooked then turn off the heat and transfer the shrimps onto a plate. The heat remained will finish cooking the shrimps.
Just serve the grilled shrimps with freshly made mango salsa. You can serve a few shrimps together on a plate, like an appetizer -
Or make it fancier, adding salsa into individual cups, put the shrimps on the edge, and garnish with some cilantro leaves -
The chili I used was very spicy, my fingers were still burning even after cleaning up the kitchen. That's why I picked the Aiwen mango, which has even more flavor and extremely sweet to balance off the heat.
You can substitute the red chili to other milder types of chilies of your liking, otherwise bell pepper works too!
If you ever visit Taiwan during summer time, don't forget to try out mangoes!