You need hard, semi-ripe mangoes for this, as they tend to have a good balance between sweetness and acidity. They don’t have to be Indian—the green Brazilian mangoes available all year round work really well. You can eat this salad by itself or with some bread, like the naan.
NOTE: As tamarind paste varies from brand to brand, add it gradually until it tastes good to you.
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side
4 tablespoons canola oil
3 banana shallots or other large shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound hard paneer, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 teaspoons tamarind paste
2 large semi-ripe mangoes
4 cups lightly packed mixed salad leaves (e.g. baby spinach and watercress)
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
1 Indian green chile, chopped
¾-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
Put 2 tablespoons of the oil into a frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the shallots. Stir-fry the shallots until softened, then add the paneer.
Fry the paneer for around 4 minutes, until golden and crisp, turning every minute or so, then add the tamarind paste and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Stir-fry for a minute or two, then take off the heat.
Peel each mango with a vegetable peeler, then slice off both “cheeks” of the mango as close to the stone as possible. Slice off the remaining sides. Cut the mango into wedges around ¼ inch at the thick end and put into a bowl, along with the mixed leaves, mint, and cilantro.
Next make the dressing. If you have a mortar and pestle, bash the green chile and ginger together until it forms a smooth paste. If not, very finely chop both ingredients. Mix together with the lime juice, honey, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and the remaining oil, then taste and adjust as you see fit.
Add the paneer mixture and dressing to the salad bowl, and mix together just before serving.