mango salad with avocado and tofu

mango salad

Sticky, is how I’ve been feeling lately – sticky, thirsty and in constant longing for a shower. Little tank tops and shorts don’t help, neither do gauzy dresses. It’s not so much the heat as the humidity. Feels like the air is liquid.

We spent the greater portion of the Saturday swimming in such air, wondering various locations spanning Cobble Hill and Park Slope. We walked through a house party in Boerum Hill that used more sub woofer power than I ever imagined possible and my insides vibrated – it’s a unique feeling you should try it sometime. I wanted to find out what that hip-hop song was – because it would have made a great addition to my running mix, but it didn’t feel like the right move in asking.

We also learned that just because it’s a new construction, doesn’t mean it’s already construct-ED. It’s a bit of a downer walking up to a building that’s got scaffolding all around it, and is missing, say, walls and windows. While I’m good at visualizing, when it comes to real estate I need to see if for myself, no thank-you, autocad. Oh and upon turning around you realize it’s located right across the street from a correctional facility. Right. Next. Door. Or “f*ck da police” graffiti sprayed on the construction site. Lovely, just lovely. Real estate woes notwithstanding, we still got a good and enjoyable walk out of our Brooklyn real estate research, stopping by at Oko and sampling their frozen yogurt, which was good, but still not as good as making your own at home. Our consensus on Brooklyn prices – in-friggin-sane – the cost of living in a decently renovated apartment is not a bargain by any stretch of imagination. And when you already have visions of a backyard where you can grow your own vegetables and a door with a special doggy door at the bottom, urban living begins to look less and less sparkly and seductive. Or maybe I’m just getting old.

a refuge from the sticky air

Even with all this schlepping around, when it’s this humid out, I stop eating. I long for ripe fruit, sorbet, lemonade. Traditional meals don’t hold much appeal and I become much like a fruit fly, eating a peach here, nibbling on blueberries there. When I saw Louisa’s post on a mango salad with tofu, I remembered that back in college, when I didn’t want to eat anything (and I was a vegetarian back then) – I would make a version of a mango salad I had in a Thai restaurant once – with avocado, mango, a tangy/spicy dressing! I could live on that salad all summer, and often would make it for several days in a row. And while variety is the spice of life, I cannot place enough premium on tried, true and much beloved. And while the salad didn’t make up for lack of a/c in those summertime days, it certainly made the livin’ more easy.

For the salad:
2 slices of firm tofu (by slices I mean 3×3 squares)
Juice of 2 oranges
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
a few glugs of canola, or high-heat oil (grape)
1 ripe mango
1 ripe avocado
1/2 red onion finely chopped
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 hothouse cucumber
Handful of cilantro
Handful of chopped peanuts

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Sriracha
1/2 tsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1/2 tsp sea salt

In a saute pan, preferably with ridges, saute the garlic until nicely golden and has flavored the oil, remove the garlic from oil and add cayenne pepper until mixed in. Place the tofu slices on top and sear both sides, reduce heat slightly and add the orange juice.

While the tofu is cooking, cut mango, avocado, onion, tomatoes and the cucumber. Throw in the peanuts. Set aside.

In a small glass, mix together the lime juice, the Sriracha sauce and the fish sauce (nam pla). Set aside.

Remove the tofu from the pan and slice, lengthwise on a cutting board. Mix your salad and pour the dressing over it to combine. Arrange the salad on plates and place the elongated tofu slices on top. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro and serve.


  • Jim

    “So hush little radish, do-on’t you cry-yyy…” That salad looks lovely, but now that song will be stuck in my head all day!

  • billy

    i think sam cookes version is my favorite of that song- tho i am sure i have not heard them all- love sculpture (dave edmunds) also did a very nice version although he had to stretch a little for the high notes- but his tour-de-force guitar playing makes up for any vocal shortcomings- and backyards and brooklyn are probably a dream and one that could only happen with stimulants- – remember the title of the book? –A tree grows in brooklyn- not woods or a forest or miles and miles of wilderness- but one single tree

  • radish

    Jim – not the worst song though, right? Especially Billy Holiday’s version!
    billy – I’ll have to check that song out… as for the book – it’s been so long since i’ve read it…
    Chris – secret? Because I don’t have enough of a budget to get Photoshop (and I want to upgrade to an Apple next year and splurge on the Mac version), I use the free, plebeian Picasa to edit some photos that might, um, need something extra. There. MY secret’s out ;)

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