This is a traditional side dish from Madagascar, where my husband and I lived for 8 months. It is bright and refreshing and goes well with everything. The perfumed tartness of the green mangoes is really something special. In Madagascar, mango achard would be served alongside crispy fried fish and a nice mound of steamed white rice. I conceive of it as a variation on cole slaw -- something bright and light to balance it out other parts of the meal. I imagine that it would be a great topping for a fish taco. The only hard thing about this recipe is finding green mangos in America -- look in Indian and East Asian grocery stores. Enjoy! —JORJ
Thinly slice the shallots into the bottom of a large bowl. Juice the limes and add the juice to the bowl with some salt and the sugar.
Shred the mangoes into the bowl with either a julienne peeler or a box grater. If you want the opportunity to practice your knife skills you can work on julienning it by hand.
Toss the shredded mango with the dressing. Let it sit a little so that it will begin to macerate (the salt and the lime juice help to draw out the water from the mangoes).
Meanwhile, carefully chop up the habañero chili as small as you can. Obviously this is to taste -- if you like things to be really hot, feel free to use the whole habañero. The amount of time you let the habañero sit in the dish, the more it will infuse fire into the whole dish. But, if you put the chili in just before you serve it, it will be more like a little spicy kick in some of the bites.
Toss the achard and take a bite for quality control -- does it need more salt? more sugar? maybe you want to squeeze a bit more lime in there if it is too dry? You can serve this right away or put it in the fridge for later -- just make your decision about when to add the habañeros!