Summer is approaching and tonight I had a craving for green papaya salad. This salad is really easy to throw together. The only time consuming part is shredding the green papaya. The Thais do it really fast using a knife to make indents into the green papaya and then slicing the indents which forms thin juliennes of green papaya. You can check out this video of how the street vendors do it:

I tried using this method but it made a mess. Shreds of green papaya was flying everywhere and it just didn’t work for me. I opted to use my peeler which took a bit of bicep strength but worked fine.

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I shredded my papaya in the afternoon and soaked it in ice water until ready for tossing before dinner. Make sure you squeeze out all the water in the green papaya before tossing it otherwise the green papaya will be mushy and the sauce will be diluted.

The following recipe makes a generous portion of green papaya salad for 4 people.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 green papaya
  • 2 strings of long green bean (I didn’t have any in my fridge so i skipped it tonight)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts (I roasted my own in a 200C oven for 10-15 minutes)

For the sauce :

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bird’s eye chilis (you can use more if you like your salad more spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried shrimp (chopped)
  • 1.5 tablespoon of palm sugar (chopped). If you can’t find palm sugar, you can use brown sugar but I prefer the taste of palm sugar.
  • 2.5 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste (optional but I like the acidity which has a bit more body than lime juice)

As different brands of fish sauce and tamarind paste may taste different, please adjust the portion to suit your taste.

METHOD

  1. Peel the green papaya. Cut into half and use a spoon to spoon out the seeds. Julienne the green papaya.
  2. Soak the green papaya in ice water for 10minutes.
  3. Remove the green papaya from the ice water and use a clean tea towel to squeeze out all the water. Set aside.
  4. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and red chilis until they form a paste.
  5. Add the sugar and pound until the sugar is dissolved into the garlic and chili.
  6. Add the long beans and pound until they break.
  7. Add the dried shrimps and 1/2 of the peanuts and pound until they break.
  8. Add the tamarind paste, lime juice and fish sauce and pound until everything is well incorporated.
  9. Add the tomatoes and pound lightly to bruise the tomatoes.
  10. As my mortar is too small to fit the green papaya, I poured the sauce and the green papaya into a big bowl and used the pestle and a big wooden spoon to pound the green papaya with the sauce and the wooden spoon to mix the green papaya until well incorporated.
  11. Transfer the green papaya salad into a salad bowl or dish and garnish with the remaining peanuts.

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