I’ve been dreaming of making a green papaya salad for awhile now… I just don’t see them (the unripe not-sweet green kind) around too often.
A few weekends ago Jack and I ventured out to the MT Supermarket, a ridiculously huge asian market that we’d somehow never been to. If you live here in Austin, have you been there? The only way I can describe it is that it’s maybe the asian grocery equivalent to IKEA. Super overwhelming… fun but probably only because it was our first time… and make sure you are highly caffeinated before you go.
Among other treasures, I came home with a green papaya.
Using a julienne peeler, (I know another gadget – sorry!), I sliced thin uniform strips of papaya… tossed them with some chopped veggies and a light dressing made up of scallions, herbs, lemongrass, a big splash of coconut milk and a few squeezes of lime.
If you’re serving this as a side dish, feel free to stop there. Since this was our dinner on this particular night, I made it a more complete and filling meal by tossing some shrimp on top… some baked or grilled tofu would also be delicious.
serves 2 as a main course
note: this salad might work with cucumbers instead of green papaya. I haven’t tried it to say for sure, but it’s just an alternative idea that I had.
1 scallion, green and white parts
a splash of sesame oil (1-2 teaspoons)
a few inches of lemongrass, coarsely chopped (the food processor will do the rest)
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup basil
1 garlic clove, minced
splash of fish sauce (or soy sauce to make it vegetarian)
1/4 cup coconut milk (can be light or full fat)
splash of agave syrup (or a pinch of sugar)
sriracha, to taste
zest & juice of 1 lime (1-2 tablespoons of lime juice)
Pulse in a food processor until combined but not pureed. It’s nice to still see the course flecks of herbs versus liquifying it.
(note, if you don’t have lemongrass, just taste and add extra lime zest if you wish. If you don’t have basil you can skip it, or swapping it out for mint might be nice).
approx 3 cups julienned green papaya* (see notes)
roasted, chopped peanuts for garnish
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 scallion chopped
extra scattered herbs that you might have left over from the dressing
(optional) shrimp, tofu, or whatever protein you like
Toss the salad with the dressing, tasting as you go… addding as much or little as you like. Season accordingly. Serve with more sriracha and lime wedges.
*I used julienne peeler to make these nice even papaya strips. (I also tried using the zucchini noodle maker). The julienne peeler took me a few (like 5) frustrating minutes to get the hang of… after that it was pretty easy. It would have been more painstaking to slice them with a knife and they wouldn’t be as noodle-like. Having nice thin, even strips is kind of key here.