Why It Works
- Fresh lime juice meets green mango's intensity with its own tart bite.
- Rich and nutty alguashte (ground roasted pumpkin seed seasoning) adds earthy depth.
Mango verde, or mango tierno as it's known throughout El Salvador and Central America, is green mango that’s been cut from its branches before it ever gets the chance to ripen. In contrast to its more mature orange counterpart, this pale green mango is crunchy—somewhere between a carrot and a cucumber in firmness—and packs a sharp, sour punch.
Salvadorans and Central Americans know the tingling feeling that mango verde provokes. The sight of it starts us involuntarily salivating. On its own, green mango's flavor is perhaps too intense, so Salvadorans reach for two key ingredients to help balance it out. The first is, counterintuitively, fresh lime juice, which somehow manages to quell some of that sour intensity. On top of that goes a generous sprinkling of nutty and toasty alguashte, a ground seasoning made of roasted pumpkin seeds and salt.
The resulting dish is eaten practically everywhere: as a street food, a festival snack, an after-school snack, or at a bar alongside a cold beer.
Green mango can sometimes be hard to find, but don't let that put you off from trying alguashte: it's also popular on other fresh-cut fruits, including ripe mangoes, jicama, oranges, and other tropical fruits and seeds, as well as stirred into savory dishes.
Arrange the peeled mango halves on a plate. Squeeze lime juice all over, then generously top with alguashte. Season with salt and serve.
Green mangoes are different from merely underripe mangoes: They're picked from the tree while still crisp and fully sour. They are often sold at markets that specialize in Central American ingredients, though depending on where you live and shop, they may be hard to find. If you can't locate true green mangoes, try to find the most underripe mangoes you can. Also note: Green mangoes are typically a smaller, palm-sized variety, not the huge one-pound Tommy Atkins mangoes that predominate at most American markets. If you do use a Tommy Atkins, just one or two fruits should suffice.
Make-Ahead and Storage
This dish is best made right before serving.