The inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my all-time favorite street foods — one that is actually good for you — mango on a stick. For the Mexican treat, the whole skewered fruit is carved impressively to resemble a flower, then doused in lime juice and sprinkled with chili powder and salt for an alluringly sweet, tangy, juicy and savory snack.
This recipe taps those flavors as a starting point and delivers a colorful and satisfying main course where chili-seasoned cubes of pork loin are alternated on skewers with chunks of fresh mango (no ornate carving needed) and red onion. The skewers, grilled until the pork is nicely cooked and the fruit and onion have softened and charred a bit, is then served over buttery, mashed avocado and sprinkled with lime and cilantro.
Not only is this dish a healthful way to enjoy grilled meat, the skewers’ festive colors also make it ideal for all the celebratory summer grilling ahead — starting with Father’s Day.
You will need eight 10-inch skewers; soak them for 30 minutes before using if they are bamboo/wooden.
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/4 pounds pork loin, cut into 1-inch chunks
Flesh of 2 ripe mangoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
Canola or grapeseed oil, for the pan
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
1. Combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Add the pork and toss to coat evenly.
2. Thread the pieces of pork, mango and onion slices onto the skewers, alternating them until each skewer has 3 or 4 pieces of each. (You may need to thread a few slices of onion to equal the width of pork and mango pieces.)
3. Brush a grill or double-burner grill pan with oil and preheat it over medium-high heat. Grill the skewers for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pork is cooked to medium (145 degrees) and grill marks have formed, turning the skewers several times. Transfer the skewers to a plate and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, halve the avocados, then peel and pit them. Place the flesh in a medium bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mash the avocado with a fork until it’s mostly smooth but some chunks remain.
5. Spread a quarter of the avocado mash onto each plate. Arrange two skewers on top of each, then drizzle each plate with some of the remaining lime juice.
6. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve right away.
— From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger