Thai Fruit Salad and Mango Chocolate Mousse Dip

“You like cooking,” observed the man sat next to me in the plane on the way home to Paris after my dad’s birthday and FBC11, as I’d spent the flight reading the Feel Good Food magazine in the FBC mega-goody bag. “Oui,” I said, “And I’ve just been to a food blog conference.”

Although the magazine was in English, he spoke to me in French, with a heavy Thai accent. He cooks in a Thai restaurant in Clermont Ferrand.

“Hey I just cooked a Thai meal for my father’s birthday last week – Som Tam papaya salad and a Thai green curry. But deciding on the dessert had not been easy. Being bold I asked, “Can I ask you what dessert would be very Thai?”

He told me that tapioca cooked in coconut milk and served with mango would be typical. And it’s true that a lot of desserts on Asian menus are very Asian in taste, brightly coloured noodles made with sticky rice flour or a variation on Tapioca.  The glueiness of the tapioca turns the coconut milk into a solid flan-like dish, with the tapioca pearls imprisoned in the coconut milk. Not my father’s cup of tea at all. And it doesn’t have chocolate in it.

Fruit salad is what he likes. So instead of tapioca I had thought a fruit salad with an exotic twist would be a nice light and summery finish to the Thai-themed meal. With a ridiculously simple mango chocolate mousse of sorts used as a dip for the fruit. Kind of like a cold fondue but nice and decadent thanks to the use of calorific mascarpone. Not so Thai maybe, but you can’t have a birthday with chocolate. Or at least I can’t.

Thai Fruit Salad and Mango Chocolate Mousse Dip

For the fruit salad:

Serves 6

– 1 ripe papaya
– 1 mango
– 1/2 pineapple
– 1 banana
– 3 passion fruit
– 2 limes

1. Peel the papaya, cut it in half and scoop out the black seeds. Slice across, and cut the slices into cubes. OR Cut in half, scoop out the black seeds and scallop out the flesh with a spoon.
2. If you have a mango splitter: peel the mango and use the mango splitter. Cut the sides into cubes. OR, Cut off each side of the mango, score the flesh of each one diagonally to make diamonds and turn inside out. Cut off the diamonds that pop up.
3. Cut the pineapple into cubes (leave the core and tough outer skin).
4. Slice the banana.
4. Divide the fruit into 6 bowls.
5. Cut the passion fruit in half and spoon half a passion fruit onto one bowl.
6. Slice the lime in half and juice it. Spoon a spoonful or two over each bowl.

For the mango chocolate mousse dip

Serves 6

– 160g dark chocolate
– 1 ripe mango
– 200ml coconut milk
– 4 tbsps (about 100g) mascarpone

1. Melt the chocolate over a bain marie or in the microwave (start at 1 minute and continue at intervals of 30 seconds).
2. Chop up the mango according to one of the methods above and put it in a mini chopper or food processor.
3. Add the coconut milk and mascarpone.
4. Add the melted chocolate.
5. Whiz for a minute or so.
6. Spoon into 6 bowls.
7. Put in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
8. And have fun dipping the fruit into it!

NB. if you don’t have a mini chopper or food processor you can try a hand blender or blender.

You can’t have a birthday without birthday cake either…

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