[philiptellis] I love food, and I like writing about food. Follow me as I follow my nose, seeking out gastronomic delicacies wherever I find myself

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mango Salsa

In India, Mangoes are considered the king of fruit. We had a couple of mango trees in our backyard when I was growing up, but I liked climbing the trees far more than I liked eating the mangoes, mainly because I'm someone who likes my fruit crunchy.

Many years later, at a little bistro in Paris that S & I ended up at quite by accident, we tasted a most excellent Mango Salsa as a side for Duck Confit. We tried to reproduce that salsa and this is what we came up with...


  • 1 ripe mango (it needs to be sweet, in the US this is sometimes considered overripe)
  • 1 small shallot (optional, skip if you don't like the taste of raw shallots)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp cilantro seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Roast the cilantro seeds in a pan on medium-low heat until you can smell the aroma
  2. Transfer the cilantro seeds to a mortar to cool
  3. Dice the mango into a salad mixing bowl (instructions available here)
  4. Add chilli flakes to the mango
  5. Dice the shallot (instructions here) and add to the mango
  6. Chop up the cilantro leaves and add to the mango
  7. Now crush the roasted cilantro seeds with the mortar & pestle. You can use the back of a spoon on your cutting board as well, but that's harder. Do NOT turn it to a powder.
  8. Add the crushed cilantro seeds to the mango
  9. Add lemon juice
  10. Toss & serve

This salsa goes well with spicy tacos or a fatty dish like duck confit. Even great on its own. They have a little spice of their own, but are mostly sweet, and the freshness of the cilantro and mango provides a great accent for the rest of your meal.

Veggie Spice Rub (Tacos or a Side Dish)

This is a spice rub I use for veggies that act as the main ingredient in tacos. In particular, chickpeas, cauliflower, beets and other firm veggies that will stand up to a bake. You could probably use it for chicken as well.


  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika or chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice (depends on your taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (do NOT use extra virgin olive oil as it has a low smoke point)
  • 1 tbsp water


  1. Roast the cumin and coriander seeds on a pan on low-medium heat until you can smell the oils
  2. Transfer to a spice or coffee grinder and grind them to a powder. (You can also use an old fashioned mortar and pestle, but that's more work)
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  4. Add the lime/lemon juice and olive oil and mix to form a paste
  5. Add water to adjust consistency and mix

I use this with canned chickpeas, canned black beans, cauliflower florets, sliced beets, brussels sprouts. Mix them into the spice bowl to coat evenly. Let stand for about 15 minutes, and then roast in the oven at 400℉. Adjust the amount of spice used uniformly based on the quantity of veggies you use.

The veggies are great on tacos with the standard add ons (lettuce, cilantro, sour cream & salsa), and also as a side dish for a larger meal.