Mango and Squid Buddha Bowl is the perfect balance of hot, sour and sweet, topped with the crunch of peanuts and fried shallots.
Buddha Bowl or Goi Xoai
This recipe, vibrant in color from herbs and mango, protein rich from squid and grain, often rice, is actually my take on a fabulous Vietnamese dish a friend made for a television gathering.
As we approached the finale of The Great American Recipe, Goi Xoai, made from green mangos and cuttlefish, is what my friend Foo made.
Mango and Squid
The flavors are both fresh, very Yin and surprisingly Yang, from chili paste, fish sauce and lots of garlic.
While I could never hope to create my friends dish as he did, since his heart and soul is Vietnamese, I did ask him if he would permit me to attempt his flavors and put my own spin on it. Hope you approve Foo!!
About Buddha Bowls
As the story goes, without getting into religious teachings here, let’s just say The Buddha went from riches to rags, by choice.
Taking a bowl of rice around from neighbor to neighbor for their charitable offerings of this and that to put atop his bowl of rice.
The Buddha Bowl really just started like that. A balance of healthy, nourishing bits and pieces of charitable offerings from those who valued his teachings.
What Goes Into A Buddha Bowl?
The quick answer is: Anything.
As we westerners have been taught to eat from the balanced food pyramid; grains, veggies, fruits, proteins, so too is the Buddha Bowl a balance of these very same food choices.
Visuals are the second most considered aspect when choosing what to put in a Buddha bowl. And no, a Buddha bowl is not a mish-mash of foods, resembling a casserole!
The visuals must be pleasing to the eye. Individual colors and textures, flavors and appearances are what we are after.
Squid and Mango Bowls
If you have ever eaten at a family style Chinese or Indian restaurant (or home), there is often a Lazy-Susan in the center of the table.
On it a huge variety of carefully chopped items in lots of small bowls have been placed. Some of the items of pickled veggies, or sautéed roots, smoked fish or slivers of fruits.
For the ingredients going into this Buddha bowl, I place the grilled squid, freshly chopped mango, marinated in chilies and lime and a variety of other flavors.
This, is very much what a Buddha bowl is and how it got its concept for becoming a trendy dish here in America.
Previously, the first recipe I created for a Buddha bowl, was a Shrimp Buddha Bowl ,with quinoa, a relatively new trending grain here in America.
Fresh Herbs and Mango
First I went looking for veggies I wanted in my bowl. But decided to stick with the ingredients I remembered in my friend’s dish had, which were an array of fresh herbs: mint, cilantro and Thai basil, and mango.
While the dish he had prepared was made with green mangos, I only had the bright orange mangos in my freezer. I thawed them and chopped them.
Don’t cringe my friend but it was all I had!
Squid As My Protein
Squid was what I had in the freezer as well, so I went with the small, sometimes sad looking squid sold in the freezer section.
It perked up nicely once grilled. A sprinkle of peanuts on top of this Buddha bowl and there is plenty protein.
Flavor and Sauce
My kitchen is most often fitted out with Mediterranean flavors so this part was the real challenge for me.
Yep, I do have more in my freezer than I do a pantry. Several chilis, garlic cloves, olive oil, and a splash of fish sauce went into the blender for my version of a chili paste.
- Thai Basil
- Spring onion
- Rice vinegar
- Fish sauce
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Basting brush
- Mixing bowl
- Sauce pan
- Stovetop or burner
Mango and Squid Buddha Bowl
- Squid – 1 lb, tubes and tentacles
- Mango – 2 cups
- Thai basil – 1/4 cup
- Spring onions – 4 stalks, or garlic scapes
- Celery – 3 stalks
- Cilantro – 1 bundle
- Limes – 2
- Rice vinegar – 2 tablespoons
- Sugar – 2 tablespoons
- Garlic – 3 cloves
- Chilis – 2
- Fish sauce – 3 tablespoons
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Shallot – 1
- Peanuts – 1/4 cup
- Salt – to taste
- Slice the squid tubes into rings. Separate the tentacles into 2. Place the squid in a bowl. Squeeze juice from 1 lime throughout the squid and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let sit while other ingredients are prepped.
- Rough chop the cilantro, celery, basil and spring onions. Set aside.
- Slice the mango pieces into same sizes as the squid rings. Set aside.
- Finely slice the shallot and set aside.
- Place the chilis, garlic cloves, fish sauce and 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a blender. In a small saucepan, simmer the vinegar and sugar just until the sugar melts. Add to the blender and puree the sauce. Transfer the sauce back into the saucepan and keep warm.
- On a griddle, brush a little olive oil on the heated griddle and quick sear the squid until cooked, but still tender.
- In a small frying pan on medium high, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and quickly fry the shallot slivers. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, place the chopped greens, chopped mango, the cooked squid, drizzle the warm sauce on top and gently mix.
- In each bowl, place the warm squid and mango mixture, top with fried shallots and peanuts and serve.