(Image from here)
On the first morning of Tết, my cousins & I would dress up in our new clothes & greet our grandparents, uncles & aunts with extravagant wishes of health, happiness & longevity. Then, they'd hand us "li xi" of crisp new bills in red pouches. The upcoming days were visits from and/or to friends and extended family. Tet was exciting. Tet was lots of yummy food. Tet was the only holiday I'd look forward to.
Now, I mostly spend Tết with close friends instead of family because they are all far away. No flower festivals that line the main strip downtown for weeks on end. No firecrackers popping away through the night. The kumquats have been replaced with tangerines. I'm the one to make the food & give "li xi" because I am now the adult. Things have changed but one thing for sure, the love stays. Be it with friends or family, Tet is the time to spend with people you cherish and I wouldn't change it for the world!
This year, I continue the tradition.
One of the dishes that I will be serving at Tet dinner is this yummy mango salad (Other recipes will come soon) You can use the Asian green mangoes or the greener Fat Cat ones, which will be a bit sweeter.
For a one-person lunch size:
- Half a mango, cut into slightly bigger than match sticks
- A handful of "do chua" (Vietnamese daikon & carrot pickle)*
- A many cooked shrimp as you think you can handle (I used 5 Tiger shrimps, cut in half length wise)
- A few Tbsp of mixed fish sauce**
- A few mint leaves and "rau ram" (Vietnamese coriander) chopped
- A small handful of roasted peanuts, chopped
*The advantage of making a jar of daikon & carrot pickle instead of buying it in the store, is saving money, having it on hand at anytime and you can add it in home-made "banh mi" (Vietnamese sandwich) I must warn you though, daikon smells strong.
**I don't really have a recipe for mixed fish sauce, simply because it all depends on your own taste. Some like it sweeter, some like it saltier, etc. But as the base recipe states: "one part lime or lemon juice, or occasionally vinegar, one part fish sauce, one part sugar and two parts water"