- 8 ounces small, narrow string beans or young cowpea pods
- 8 ounces young mouse melons
- 1/2 cup onion, sliced paper-thin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 mango, peeled and finely diced
- 2 tablespoons sweet red pepper, diced
- 3 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon hot chile powder, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
- Juice of 2 limes
- Trim and cut the beans or cowpea pods into 1-inch pieces.
- Cook in a vegetable steamer or poach in boiling water only until slightly tender (about 5 minutes), drain and set aside.
- Cut the mouse melons in half lengthwise and put them in a deep work bowl with the sliced onion, garlic, mango, sweet pepper, cilantro, hot chile and salt.
- Stir, and then add the beans.
- Whisk together the olive oil and lime juice and pour this over the other ingredients. Allow the salad to stand about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time so that the flavors mingle.
- Serve at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6.
Mouse Melon Salad
The best mouse melons for salads are the tender ones less than 1 inch in length that have not developed many seeds. You can tell whether they are tender by simply squeezing them. If they are an inch long and feel hard, they should not be used — better to save them for pickling.
The delicious sweet-and-sour flavor of this salad depends a great deal on the quality of the mango you choose, so be certain that it is sweet and fragrant, yet still firm. If the mango is not sweet enough, adjust the seasoning with a bit of sugar. The salad also should have a slight kick of heat, but go easy on the hot chile because it can overwhelm the dish very quickly.