Friday, June 3, 2011

Mahi Mahi with Spicy Thai Chili Mango Sauce and a Lesson Well Learned

Making this mahi mahi with spicy Thai chili mango sauce recipe didn't have me dreaming of tropical beaches, or some exotic outdoor market in southeast Asia. No, it reminded me of getting yelled at in the back of some dingy prep kitchen, a very long time ago.

I was given a recipe to make by an old French chef for a tomato pasta sauce. The first step was sweating a finely minced mirepoix in some olive oil. Since it was a fairly large batch, I decided to use the food processor to mince the carrots, celery and onions. Le chef was not le happy.

After teaching me a few new, colorful French phrases, he explained that while a mechanically minced mirepoix may look similar to a hand minced one, they were very different. He told me when you use a food processor, the vegetables are torn into tiny pieces, as opposed to being cleanly cut.

There is way more damage done to the cellular structure, and depending on the ingredient, that can create a noticeably different taste and texture than using a sharp knife and a little elbow grease, or as I believe it's called in France, elbow butter.

Anyway, this mango sauce is an example of how much I took that lesson to heart. For all I know that culinary theory has been debunked by Alton Brown, or some other food wonk a long time ago, but I don't care. I'll always believe my spicy mango sauce tastes better because I cut it by hand. Thanks chef! Enjoy.

UPDATE: I just listened to this video recipe again, and am proposing a new drinking game where every time I say "beautiful," you have to do a shot. ;-)



Spicy Thai Chili Mango Sauce Ingredients: (note everything in this is "to taste")
3/4 cup finely minced mango
1/2 small Thai chili, minced very fine
1 teaspoon sambal chili sauce, or other similar chili paste
1 large clove garlic, crushed fine
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
juice from one lime
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

View the complete recipe

18 comments:

Claudiu said...

Hi Chef John,


That's a little to close. It made me dizzy.

It looks great, yes, but it's a little to close, I think.

philogaia said...

I count four beautifuls. Yes that could be interesting over 4 minutes and 46 seconds. I bought a mango yesterday in anticipation of this recipe and with skewers of tri tip marinated in your beef satay marinade ready to go on the grill I think i will take you at your word and do the mango rather than the peanut sauce. It would be a lot fewer calories.

Livia said...

Looks tasty!
I love mangoes. Will have to try this one soon.

philogaia said...

Okay, Chef John. QED. Picture of another use of that mango sauce coming your way. Short story...delicious with your beef satay.

Jay M. said...

deer chf john.

we got ninnnnne shots of beu;tiful but didnn't count the beuatfilly in the beiginnngn. mayeb 9 is tooo manyy...



but seriously, this needs to happen next time I make fish tacos...

Casino said...

This awesome at treat of sweet and chilli at the same time..nice dish very simple yet packs a bang..

Hilding said...

Looks really fresh and tasty! Though i looked up the Mahi Mahi on google.. Doesn't look as tasty when it's alive =) Haha! Would love to try that fish but unfortunately I live in Sweden and I think it's hard to get your hands on here.

Headie Mung Festizzeo said...

It's going to be hard watching an episode of good eats without the phrase " food wonk " rattling around in my brain. As for the spicy thai chili mango sauce, it looked beautiful...

dcivera said...

Thank you ! THANK YOU Chef John,

I've moved to small province of the Philippines for a couple of years and it's hard to find all the ingredients to your recipes (yeah! Like you're going find sottocenere in this part of the world!)

I can't complain though. This is the best culinary spot in the entire Philippines (if you're not picky about hygiene). But it's not to be able to try a Chef John recipe again. Mahi Mahi is so not available here, but I have another million other option, so not a problem. I'll probably do a grilled or fried tilapia version.

Oh by the way, I hope I don't come across as pedantic, but as the French expression isn't elbow butter, but elbow oil (huile de coude).

Chef John said...

thanks, but elbow butter was a joke! ;)

w3bd3v said...

Man I'm getting good. I saw your preview below, and got so tempted by it that I just went ahead and made my own mango salsa (I paired it with some delicious salmon). The only difference between yours and mine, is that I made a simple syrup with the rice vinegar because I thought it might be too acidic and steal away from the mango. Oh and I didn't think of the lime. :) None the less, very close!

FitforLife said...

When you said name anything I thought of sausage. So that's what I'm going to do! Spicy sausage in a lightly toasted hot dog bun, topped with spicy mango sauce! I salivate at the thought of the result...

Gary said...

I made this last night - DELICIOUS! Wow, those Thai chili peppers ARE hot!

I was pleasantly surprised to find Barramundi at the grocery store yesterday - the first time I've seen it here in the US after enjoying it many times in Australia many times when I traveled there. Since it's so thin (and it was raining again) I decided to pan sear it with a little salt and cayenne rather than grill it. DELICIOUS combo!

Thanks!

Hilding said...

Haha congratulations John you've made people use cayenne ;)

Jackson said...

Looks amazing Chef John. We have mangos in my neighborhood - I will try this recipe in the coming months.

Starscream said...

I tried it this evening on some Grilled Mahi Mahi. I added an extra Thai Chili to suit my spicy food needs as well as a little less rice vinegar to keep it from becoming runny. it ended up having a really smooth burn. Perfect dish to kick off grilling season!

Kathy Mercure said...

I love Mahi-Mahi and I love mango salsa, so I am definitely going to try this. Thanks. Loved your explanation of why you don't use the food processor!

Emma Esquire said...

Hi chef,

I tried this recipe and you make it lookso easy. Somehow, after making it, the mango taste was lost. Is that how it's supposed to be?