Thai Green Papaya Salad
Posted by fourclankitchen on February 7, 2010
As with a lot of Thai food, this salad balances sugar, heat, sour and salt and binds it all together with some herbs (basil and cilantro) and fish sauce. Add a little crunch from peanuts and you have yourself a salad that will nearly eliminate carb cravings. I am sure that some versions of this recipe have dried shrimp in them, but I am allergic and leave it out. Also, this recipe makes no claims to authenticity: I just wing it and it is pretty close to what I can buy at a restaurant.
Start by picking a raw (green) papaya: the oriental grocery store is ideal for this. If you cant find a raw papaya, a semi-ripe one will do, although it will lack the crunch. Peel and seed the papaya and grate in the food processor. Add sliced onions, chilies (if using) cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro and basil to the papaya, then mix together fish sauce, sugar, sriracha, salt, oil and lime juice. Add to the vegetables. Adjust the spices till the salad tastes perfectly balanced. Then garnish with cilantro and the crushed peanuts. I did not have any peanuts or basil on hand, so I omitted them, but they do add to the dish, so please use them if you have them around.
½ (about 3 cups) of a small papaya, peeled, seeded and grated in the food processor
½ large onion or 1 medium
4 tomatoes coarsely cubed
½ large cucumber, coarsely cubed
4 cloves garlic
½-1 thai bird pepper or Serrano pepper (optional; I would use more if my guys could handle it)
2 tbs cane sugar or to taste
3 tbs. fish sauce (substitute with soy sauce or salt if you don’t like fish sauce- its not really a substitute, but the your final product will taste good even when omitted)
½ tbs. vegetable oil
½ tsp sriracha or more (this is a delicious chilli-garlic sauce, but you could omit this if you cannot take the heat, hah!)
Juice of 1 ½ limes or to taste
zest of 1 lime
¼ cup cilantro+ plus a smidge more for garnish
4 basil leaves thinly slivered
½ cup crushed peanuts
Salt to taste
Toss all of the vegetables together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together except the peanuts. (I did not have any basil, so I added a little basil pesto I had made a few days before- this was fine). Mix in with the vegetables. Taste the salad and adjust the seasons so that the heat, the sweet, the sour and salt are balanced to your liking. Garnish with cilantro and crushed peanuts. Serve as a side with pan-fried udon noodles.
Update: I made this again with a semi-ripe papaya and some lettuce, chives, mint from my garden. I also added some carrots, just cause I had ’em. I have to say, this was just as lovely as the raw papaya salad in taste and absolutely gorgeous to look at. See below.