There is a little confusion in the name of the dish: mamuang is mango, but in the full formal Thai language mamuang himaphan is a cashew nut; the logic is as follows: himaphan refers to the Brahministic equivalent of the Garden of Eden, and the bean in which the cashew nut grows is similar to a small mango, hence the cashew is the “mango of paradise”. However this leads to one of those delightful double recipes, which is a sort of culinary pun, which the Thais seem to be particularly fond of. To add an element of piqancy to the dish you can include a small amount of shredded mango – it is however quite optional if you prefer to leave it out.
The sauce includes honey as a sweetener, again the connotation is of the land of the dawn paradise – but if you prefer you could use sugar (preferably palm sugar), though the sauce won’t have quite the same flavour. Further the sauce is flavoured with “sweet soy”, which is freely available in Thailand, and is effectively a dark soy to which a little sweetness has been added. However you can easily substitute Maggi’s Seasoning Sauce if you cannot find Thai sweet soy. Finally there is the matter of the cashews themselves. You have a variety of strategies available for cooking these: you could simply buy roasted cashew nuts (unsalted of course), or you could prepare your own. Their is no doubt in my mind that the flavour of freshly prepared cashews is far better than any precooked nuts bought in the supermarket. If you choose to cook them yourself you may simply fry them in a wok or skillet over medium heat. This however tends to lead to localised burning and neven cooking unless you keep them constantly on the move. You could deep fry them (and some people choose to add a few dried red chillies to the oil for flavour), but this in my opinion makes them a little too oily for the balance of the dish. Better then to cook them as indicated below.
1 pound. chicken, cut into thin slices, and into bite sized pieces.
1 tablespoon kratiem (garlic), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon prik ki nu daeng (red bird’s-eye chillies), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce)
1 tablespoon si-ew wan (sweet soy), or Maggi’s Seasoning Sauce
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon nam prik pao (chilli paste)
1 teaspoon prik thai (black pepper), freshly cracked
3 tablespoon nam sup (stock)
2 tablespoon rice wine
½ cup cashew nuts
2 tablespoon mango, shredded
3 tablespoon ton hom (green onions)
3 tablespoon prik yuet (sweet Thai chillies), or green bell pepper, julienned
Mango, green onions, chiles, and cilantro shredded for garnish
First roast the cashews: this is best done in a convection oven at 575ñF until golden brown. In a wok, over medium heat, sauté the garlic and prik ki nu, until the garlic is golden and the whole is aromatic, then remove and reserve the chillies and garlic. Add the chicken and all the ingredients except the cashews, stock and wine to the pan and stir fry until the chicken just begins to cook. Add the stock and continue over low heat until the chicken is cooked, then using a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the sauce and set aside. Add the rice wine, and reduce the sauce until a slight glaze appears (if necessary add 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder, dissolved in a little tepid water). Return the chicken, chillies and garlic to the sauce, and add the cashews. Make sure they are heated through. Garnish and serve with steamed white rice.
The cooking class at Suwannee is an ideal home-style learning environment that is different from most of the opportunities in the hotels and restaurants in Thailand. Not will you be only watch and participate in the cooking of a number of traditional Thai dishes; also as part of our course we visit a local market to learn about local exotic fruits and vegetables, there is always an abundance of new things to see……and taste!